Many industries benefit from unified communications's Bennie Langenhoven recently highlighted how industries of all types are using unified communications in a variety of ways. The writer noted higher education institutions are leveraging UC to conduct more cost-effective meetings, empower research departments to be more competitive and equip faculty with IP telephones to save on operating costs.

    "Universities have sprawling campuses with hundreds of lecture halls, a central administration competency, student and faculty accommodation, and facilities supporting many thousands of students and staff," Langenhoven wrote. "The support of all these - and an even larger body of off-campus students and faculty members - with communications and collaboration technology is a classic use case for UC."


    Financial services firms are also benefiting from unified communications. The writer explained that these organizations are leveraging UC to save on operating costs, boost productivity and efficiency and establish a call center and support remote agents.


    Healthcare organizations require more mobility than other industries. Langenhoven explained that nurses need technology to interact with other workers and, with unified communications, these employees can use a mobile device to be on call at all times. Nurses can also access patient records and diagnosis information.


    "Emergencies can be more satisfactorily resolved, as specialists' reachability increases through presence," Langenhoven wrote. "And with UC, telemedicine and remote diagnosis becomes a cost-effective possibility, another plus in a country with great social redress to be made."


    The writer concluded that other industries can benefit from the possibilities associated with unified communications, including government agencies and retail stores.


    UC ROI highest among IT solutions


    While the benefits of unified communications are clear, organizations considering deploying UC will be happy to know that the technology's return on investment is relatively short. IT staffing firm TEKsystems and the Loyalty Research Group recently surveyed more than 6,100 IT professionals and found that 53 percent of participants believe UC's ROI takes less than one year.


    The survey also said found that 59 percent of IT employees said unified communications' ROI value is less than $2 million. Another 28 percent of participants believe all of the technologies together offer ROI between $2 million and $10 million, while 8 percent said this figure is more likely to be between $10 million and $50 million. Seven percent expect these initiatives to generate more than $50 million.