by January 1, 2009 0 comments

The bad times are back again. The dreaded ‘R’ word is reverberating around in
economies across the globe. How long will the current recession last and how
much would it hurt is anybody’s guess. However, it brings with it the need to
redefine the way corporates function. So, what you’ll see in the next few months
is companies innovating ways and means to cut costs and prune their production
efficiencies. This would translate into more and more companies willing to adopt
technologies and solutions that are cost-effective in the long run. Some of
these could have been gathering dust in conference rooms for years due to lousy
implementations or simply because people have been to busy to try and work
differently! We’ve described UC many a time in past and also discussed how you
can implement it in your organization. You might want to read all about it again

As the name suggests, the technology provides seamless communication amongst
users regardless of the device they are using at a point of time. For instance,
if you’re not in office and carrying a cell phone, and want to reach out to a
colleague; you need not first figure out or make a guess as to what device he
has at that moment. Just go ahead and call him or send an SMS, email-whatever
you want and the task of routing the call or the message would be carried out by
the UC equipment, with a Presence server that finds out the communication device
the other person has access to at a given instance. So if the called party is
working on a notebook and does not have access to a UC device and therefore,
cannot listen to your call, he’ll still be alerted about your call. A similar
process is carried out to deliver SMSes anytime, anywhere.

One can set up conference calls: audio or video, at any point of time
regardless of the equipment installed at the other end. Also, you could share
and modify presentations through the use of interactive whiteboards.

With a slowing economy, unified communications could become a major source of
savings for enterprises trying to cut costs. The most tangible benefit of a UC
solution that comes to mind immediately is in saving travel costs for meetings.
Here’s a breakdown of scenarios where UC can help trim costs:

1) Reduced air travel: Organizations could look at using audio or
video conferencing more than ever before to save travel costs. For those finicky
about conference quality, there’s Telepresence to provide a life-like meeting
2) Lower cell phone bills: Fixed-mobile convergence (FMC) networks are
maturing rapidly to provide seamless handshake between cellular and fixed
telephony networks. An executive using a dual-mode phone (hybrid between mobile
and VoIP phone) could enter the company’s IP PBX network through WiFi or WiMAX
as soon as he enters its premises or vice-versa and thus reduce mobile bills.

3) UC for niche businesses: Call centers have been some of the earliest
adopters of unified communications due to the volumes of communications they
carry out daily. Similarly, other businesses or departments that are heavy
callers could embrace unified communications to save time and cut costs.
4) Cheaper ISD/STD calls: A no-brainer when it comes to long term
benefits. Most companies have placed a gag on using landlines for such calls and
instead encourage employees to use IP telephony.
5) Open Source UC solutions: For enterprises already using UC equipment,
switching over to open source solutions such as Asterix IP PBX instead of old
PBX makes sense.
6) Consolidated networks: A switch to UC means consolidation of different
communication networks, which in the long run means lesser hassles in management
and lesser overheads, even though it could be a CIOs nightmare to set one up!

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