What is Unified Communications and how is it different that VoIP?

What is the difference between UC and VoIP?

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UC stands for Unified Communications. UC solutions unify various methods of business communications (such as fax, conference calling, video, and email) into a single system. While VoIP is a critical component of most UC solutions, it is only a part of the whole. VoIP stands for Voice over Internet Protocol, and it is a method of delivering voice calls over virtual call pathways on the Internet rather than traditional, copper-wire connections.

UC solutions use VoIP to provide voice calls for a number of reasons. VoIP is typically much cheaper than traditional phone service, sometimes by 50% or more. Because VoIP “lines” do not require direct connections, users can share a single bundle between all of their locations. This greatly benefits large, distributed enterprises.

The virtual nature of VoIP makes it comparatively easy to connect VoIP systems with other methods of communications. VoIP interacts with other forms of communications in a UC solution in many different ways, and every system is different. For example, some solutions use a single interface, allowing users to access everything in one place. Users can find a contact from a company directory, and then call, fax, or message them with the click of a button. Another example is the ability to access voicemail from email. Some UC solutions will send voicemail messages to user email accounts, allowing them to access their messages anywhere and at any time.

In short, VoIP allows UC systems to cut the communications costs of businesses and improve their functionality. It enables easier connection of disparate communications methods into a single system. It serves a central role in most modern UC solutions, but it is not the whole solution.


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