Unified Communications

We understand that while the flexibility and features of Unified Communication Solutions have triggered substantial and ever-increasing worldwide acceptance, PBX reliability cannot be compromised. That’s why our systems are designed to ensure maximum uptime, which is provided by built-in failover and load balancing mechanisms, ruggedized components, monitoring capabilities with automated alerts, and a variety of utilities for increased reliability.
An Open Standards UCP or Unified Communications Platform solution with Asterisk as the VoIP telephony core and the main distributed architecture comprising SIP Proxy’s based on Khamailio.
When designing an UCP it is important that close attention is paid to the architectural requirements and our designs with this in mind are based on 4 key elements:

  • Reliability - complete and automatic failover.
  • Scalability - System expansion is flexible and seamless.
  • Ease of use - UC features such as conferencing, contact centre and soft phones enables users to maximise their productivity. Find me and presence applications means employees no longer miss calls when not at their desks. Mobile workers can easily locate their extensions themselves to any other handset on a temporary basis, allowing free movement between offices while keeping their extensions.
  • Simple management -Deploying IP telephony frees you from the proprietary hold of the legacy PBX manufacturer. Adds, move and changes does not always require assistance as this could be done internally therefore reducing wait time but more importantly saving significant sums of money.

What is Unified Communications?

Unified Communications can mean many things to many people. Some people believe unified communications is the ability to be contacted anytime everywhere anyhow. This definition though implies that the person being contacted is contactable whenever, wherever and however another party wishes to contact them. This should not be the case, as the whole point of unified communications is to enable communication and collaboration by mutually consenting parties via the most appropriate method at the time of communication. This introduces the concept of presence and presence is at the core of unified communications and thus why any definition of unified communications should be built around presence. A presence status of a person indicates their availability to be contacted at a particular time and if so, their preferred method of receiving communications. The goal of unified communications is to improve business processes and hence provide a return on the unified communications investment. Any definition of unified communications should thus include reference to this in some form. A definition of unified communications is: Unified communications is a set of tools that improve communications and collaboration as well as broader business processes by enabling a person or application to communicate with another person using a single address across multiple modalities. Unified communications enables these communications to take place via the most appropriate of these modalities based on the presence status of the contacted person.

UCP Benefits

Unified communications assists businesses to improve their competitiveness and hence bottom line in multiple ways. These include:

  • Improved relationships with customers, supply chain and other business partners
Regardless of where employees might be at the time, unified communications increases the probability that they can be contacted on the first attempt. If this is not possible, unified messaging (which is a component of unified communications) increases the probability that employees will receive messages timeously. In addition, the use of real time collaboration tools like instant messaging creates a stronger community between organisations and their business partners than is possible using asynchronous tools such as email.
  • Improved internal collaboration amongst staff at headquarters and remote offices as well as home workers and mobile workers.
Office based workers sometimes find it difficult to reach remote and mobile workers. Unified communications reduces the perceived distance between workers in an organisation.
  • Improved employee productivity
Unified communications reduces the time spent by workers trying to contact other workers in the course of their duties. This improves productivity (particularly that of mobile workers) by freeing up time for staff to undertake additional responsibilities and improving the output of a given staff complement if the free time generated is used productively. Given that salary costs are often a large proportion of the operating costs of businesses, productivity improvements can have a material impact on the bottom line of an organisation.
  • Improved business processes and reducing human latency
The integration of communications with business processes and enterprise applications enables triggers from the applications to initiate communications automatically. Examples of these include:
  • Automatic notification of the relevant staff if equipment fails
  • Automatic notification of suppliers in the event of inventory shortages
  • Self-service patient booking systems in the healthcare field with automatic voice or SMS reminders to patients to reduce no shows.
  • Reduced costs.
Organisations with multiple branches and multi-building campuses can share infrastructure and PSTN links across their branches. In addition, in a time of rising fuel costs, web and video conferencing reduces the need for car and plane travel. Apart from decreasing travel costs, this reduces an enterprises carbon footprint now that organisations are becoming more conscious of the impact that human activities have on the environment.

How is UC used in Business?

Unified communications improves communication and collaboration by providing tools such as Single address access to:

  • Instant messaging/presence;
  • IP PBX;
  • HD voice and video calling/conferencing;
  • Web conferencing;
  • Documents, presentation, photo, video and music/podcast
  • Storage and sharing;
  • email, calendaring, address books, tasks and notes;
  • RSS feeds/news;
  • CRM integration and social networking.

Users access these features via a Web browser or clients on Desktops/ laptops or smartphones/tablets. Voice services can also be accessed on IP phones or legacy phones via voice gateways. Examples of how unified communications solutions can be used in general businesses include:

  • Employees and business partners can see other employees presence statuses and hence can contact them via the most appropriate modality, saving time and unnecessary costs
  • Employees and business partners can escalate email or instant messaging conversations to HD voice or video calls as required. HD voice is ideal for long conference calls because it provides a less tiring user experience
  • Employees on the road or outside the office have access to the same communications and collaboration functionality as employees inside the office
  • Users information remains safely secured centrally, on-premise or in the Cloud, protecting users from information loss in the event that their device is lost or stolen.
  • Employees can access and share information in their file storage, even if they are away from the office
  • Employees access the same information, regardless of device used
  • Employees can be provided with a 2nd telephone number which can be accessible on employees mobile phones. These numbers can be made public in order to facilitate communication and collaboration between users, thus enabling users to keep their personal cell or home phone numbers private. This has the added advantage that when an employee leaves a company, the employees telephone number does not follow them
  • Employees can use their smartphones as their home, desk and mobile phones if they so wish
  • Employees can answer incoming calls over the nearest device, be they at home, at the office, on the road or on the other side of the world
  • Employees can make calls via the company IP PBX over their fixed line or mobile phone data or GSM/CDMA connections, thus reducing the hassles for businesses having to manage employees` claims for business calls made from their private phone accounts
  • Expensive roaming charges can be reduced
  • Different branches can share communications infrastructure hence inter-branch calls are extension calls
  • Employees can be contacted on their telephone number extensions whether they are at the office or on the road, thus reducing internal telephone call costs
  • Paper usage is reduced
  • The unified communications solution can be integrated with monitoring systems enabling automatic triggering of notifications to appropriate staff by the most appropriate modality if preset thresholds are exceeded
  • Human latency (the delay in a process which is incurred while waiting for a person to respond to a communication) can be reduced in areas such as supply chain and treasury management.