The telephone is an amazing piece of technology.
However, like all the great inventions of the modern age, it doesn't take long for others to take the initiative to add, augment, improve, extend, the current technology. For example, look at the cars we drive. They are a classic example of product evolution, where a perfectly serviceable basic device was expanded upon to give us something much more. Telephones, and indeed telephony as a whole, have followed much the same evolution, with functionality and capabilities increasing exponentially.
Over the recent years, the advances in technology mean that we can separate out the corporate employee from the building. We no longer have to be in one physical place to work or to receive a phone call. What hosted telephony has given us is the ability to further separate our communications technology from dependency on a building. We have taken the traditional phone system, with its ISDN lines, and removed it from the office environment.
Today, we don't really have telephone systems. We have the communications suites, which take the focus away from a physical phone on a desk or an extension number on a list. The shift is very much towards the person, the individual, the employee, and the selection of communication mediums associated with that person.
For example, I have a traditional desk phone on my desk; I have a soft phone on my laptop; I have more than one or two IM (Instant Messaging) applications to choose from; I have a work mobile phone; I have my personal mobile phone; I have a home phone; I even have a number of applications on both my mobile phones that I've probably forgotten about that will give me even more.
The magic comes from managing all these endpoints, particularly in a busy working life, and ensuring that colleagues and acquaintances can contact me without going through my entire list of devices and gadgets one at a time.
So, how can it be brought together?
Unified communications is the next step in communications technology. It can take all your endpoints, all the different devices that people can contact you on both corporate and personal, and place them under one common denominator, your very own direct dial number. More importantly, all these devices are under your control as a user, to make available, or not, as you see fit.
You can draw parallels with how we communicate with friends and family in faraway places using something like Skype, for instance.
When we make the call, we follow a certain process. The steps look something like this:
- Presence: Is the person we want to reach online and available?
- Instant message: Can the person we want to speak with take our call?
- Call: We initiate a call, maybe audio only, or maybe a video call.
There's one thing we haven't needed to establish, what device they are using to take our call?
Because it doesn't matter.
They could be sat at their desk at work, on holiday sat by the pool, or sat in the hairdressers; they have decided which device they are going to use to receive our call. All we are interested in is communicating with the user.
Take that logic and apply it in the enterprise, and that is the user centric approach to telephony.
So the next time you make a business call, will you use a telephone? Maybe, maybe not.
Will the person you are calling answer using a telephone? Who knows?
If the actual point of communication is the shortest path between two people, then it truly does not matter if its a desk phone, an app on your iPad, or a mobile phone you found in a drawer in the kitchen; you're just a single call away from anyone you want to speak to, any-time, anywhere, and lets face it, in crystal clear clarity to boot.
As a wise man once said, "It's good to talk".
If you would like to know more about the benefits of unified communications, get in touch with our experts, HERE.