by Nick Ward
How attached are you to your mobile phone? The Bolton News recently reported that mourners were being urged to take care at Overdale Crematorium owing to an outbreak of exploding coffins. According to Donna Ball, assistant director community services at Bolton Council...
“It is a time-honoured thing that people put memorials in coffins and that is absolutely fine. Sometimes people might slip in a mobile phone in someone’s jacket…which can explode quite badly.”
Whilst I don’t feel quite that attached to my mobile, since I joined Intercity in 2016 and became a regular user of unified communications (UC) I have first-hand experience of how it has empowered me in my role within the company’s mobile workforce. In particular, it has given me more control over how I do my work, independent of my location and with the confidence that all my transactions are managed securely.
Let’s consider some of the defining features of unified communications, including their advantages and benefits over traditional stand-alone communications services.
Presence & Availability
As a homeworker, I can’t see whether a colleague is in the office and if they are, whether they are available. unified communications presence indicators solve this by showing whether someone is free, busy on a call, in a meeting (as recorded in their email calendar) or out of the office.
With a glance at their presence indicator I can tell straight away whether it is worth trying to contact a colleague or put it off until later. This means that I no longer waste any time trying to contact people when they are unavailable.
Inbound Call Routing & Caller ID
Missing a call because I am not by the right phone when it rings is a very 20th-Century thing to do. unified communications fixes this by providing me with a Personal Ring Group. I set it up so that inbound calls are delivered to multiple devices at the same time or in an order that I choose.
Having my Caller ID constrained by the device that I am using is also old hat. Instead, unified communications gives me control over whether the person I call can see my number and if so, what that number is. As a homeworker, I may want my Caller ID to be that of Intercity or perhaps my mobile, depending on the reason for my call – it’s up to me.
Conferencing – Audio, Web & Video
Are you still paying for audio conferencing services? Do you ever join a web conference which is delayed whilst the organiser fiddles around with the technology? Providing conferencing for no extra charge and simplifying the user experience are, for me, the most important features of unified communications.
For example, if I am struggling to get my point across during a phone call, it is so easy to send to others on the call a link for them to click to see what’s on my desktop. This never fails to help complete a call quickly and efficiently.
I’d estimate that the sum of the gains from the features I’ve described gives me back about 10-15% of my time, so although I wouldn’t want someone to slip a UC-enabled device in my jacket pocket when I am beyond using it, I would be loath to revert to non-UC working practices.
To find out more about how Intercity’s Touch Technology Unified Communications service can benefit your organisation, get in touch today or call us on 0330 332 7933.
Alternatively, view more candid insights from our IT luminaries with experience driving digital transformation in their sectors by downloading The Technology Trinity report.
What does the year ahead have in store for unified communications? It’s a tough one to answer, especially in a changing market that’s been turned on its head by a global pandemic.