Unified Communications (UC) integrates communications, applications and devices through a common interface- such as Microsoft SMB Server – used as Server-as-a-service (SAAS) model – to make it easier to find people, launch calls and conferences and retrieve messages – voice or text.
A business enterprise depends on effective communications – internal and external ( with customers, partners etc). Having spent lot of time in the Office automation industry – I have come across solutions like Multi-functional devices (MFD)- network printer, photocopier, fax, telephone – Well, that is basic! There are several other options to communicate – email, instant messaging ( chat), conferencing ( audio, video), voice-mail, ‘feature rich’ key telephone systems, and network faxing etc. All this can empower the business operations effectively but they are not designed to work together like it does in Unified Communications. “The market expansion for UC expected is 25% growth rate year on year worldwide and the revenue could reach $1.32 billion by the year 2011 (IDC estimates)”.
As it has not ‘picked up’ so well in India, it can be sold as a service model ( ‘Pay as per use’ service).The charges for the service could be daily based ( based on clicks & paid online) or monthly based.The growth drivers for Unified Communications (UC) could be ‘mobile phone’, it being a very popular way to communicate in India.
UC is cost-effective option – designed for small businesses and I have been part of team working on this business model in one of my earlier assignments using Microsoft SMB server and communication software tools as Internet (virtual) server engine to recognise different modes of communication. But,the major disadvantage is ‘lack of efficiency’ in communications, when it is bundled as a service model.