Saturday, 26 June 2010

Unified Communications?!

So, what exactly is Unified Communications (UC) and why are we interested in it at the University? Well, in seriously stripped down terms, it's a new phone system that runs over your network rather than a standard phone line. If you want the long explanation then Wikipedia is a good starting point:

http://uob.im/becxu4

This sounds like a great idea, you can have your number redirected to any device, PC softphone, Mobile, Desktop handset even a hotel phone if you're away for the night. The idea is that you have one number, assigned to you, no matter where you are in the world. It's a big concept to get your head around, you no longer need to be tied to a desk, you don't need to pay hotel charges to call out as the hotel phone essential becomes your phone. All charges are made back to your company and the whole system is seamless.

So, the big question is, how do you tell people about this?! For people who spend all day at their desks they won't notice the difference other than a shiny new handset. But, for people who are more mobile there are real advantages, the issue being though that there are more things to remember! If you're away from your desk or in a meeting what should your phone do? It can point to your mobile, it could go to your voicemail or it could go to someone else. But you need to tell it to do that and that needs to happen via a long push button system on the phone or via a web browser. So now we have a web browser controlling your phone and how do you explain that to someone not familiar with the concept?

As you can see, there are a lot of questions to be answered and explained in the easiest way possible... time to put our thinking caps on and pull in all of our resources, this could be a biggy!