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What is Unified Communications?

Users communicate in a number of ways, most of which are disparate and not related to one another. For example, a business communications system user may use a telephone for audio calls, a chat session on a computer for instant messaging and the same user may also use a video conferencing system from their desk or conference room periodically.

Unified communications tools such as software applications or hardware appliances attempt to integrate these different platforms into one communications system. This one communications system or platform then registers users and creates a status based on the specific tools they can use. The status of a user's abilities to communicate is recorded and broadcast to other users when a user is online. In this way, a user's "Presence" on a communications platform is published throughout a user group.

Why is "UC" important?

Many manufacturers of both hardware devices such as video conferencing systems and software applications such as Apple FaceTime or Microsoft Skype continually assess the readiness of a user's device to communicate. This readiness to communicate can result in the creation of online communities and in-turn shared workflow, calendaring and knowledge bases.

Unified Communications, also called "UC" is beginning to find relevance in many work flows and so integration with user based tools such as calendars and scheduling systems is becoming increasingly valuable to both organizations and individuals.

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