Can Unified Communications Future-Proof Your Business?

Updated: May 13th, 2024

Is Unified Communications the Future?

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As technology continues to evolve, businesses everywhere are keen to onboard new systems and new ways of working to ensure they can keep up with the fast-paced, high-pressure world that has been born of the digital and internet revolution. For many, this is less of a welcome choice and more of a necessary survival tactic to remain on par with the competition and serve customers as quickly and effectively as possible, while maintaining efficient business operations.

Unified communications (UC) technology is one solution businesses are using to maximise their business productivity in the face of ever-changing market conditions and demands – but do unified communications truly “future-proof” businesses against potential further evolutions in technology? In this article, we will discuss unified communications, its advantages, and how these advantages may prevent the need for businesses to make even more investments and upgrades further down the line.   

What is Unified Communications?

Unified communications is an umbrella term that encompasses platforms which house all essential forms of digital business communications, including voice, text, email, instant messaging, video conferencing, and file sharing. Rather than subscribing to various platforms and methods of communication, businesses can onboard a single unified communications solution to cover everything they need. This saves employees valuable time by not having to switch between platforms constantly. Unified communications solutions are also more cost-efficient, through removing the need to subscribe and pay for multiple communication and productivity solutions.

Read More: What is Unified Communications?

How Unified Communications Prepare Businesses for the Future

Defence Against the PSTN Switch-off

In 2025, Openreach is planning to switch off the traditional copper wires that have facilitated phone communications for decades (known as the PSTN switch-off). Users who are still relying on this technology will need to move over to more modern, digital forms of communication to avoid disruption.Failure to make the switch to a digital, VoIP-based communications solution could result in costly downtime, whilst waiting for new digital solutions to be installed in a time where many businesses simultaneously will also be completing installations.  

Businesses that have chosen to utilise a unified communications platform for their communications don’t need to fear, though. As unified communications platforms are cloud-based and powered through an internet connection, rather than the traditional copper wires which will be rendered obsolete in 2025, businesses will be able to still have access to high quality communications and stay fully connected with their team and their customers when the switch off finally happens.

VoIP (Voice over Internet Protocol) – the technology that fuels voice tools within unified communications solutions– uses an internet connection to break down and convert voice signals from phone calls into digital signals, so they can be better shared among a digital system, relieving the need for classic, analogue systems.

All Essential Methods of Communication

All Essential Methods of Communication

When many of the traditional phone systems we’ve all used were initially installed, that was precisely their only function – to accept and manage phone calls. However, in the modern digital age where we have many different methods of communication thanks to technological advancements – specifically communication utilising an internet connection – these lines and systems simply aren’t fit for purpose and can’t uphold the amount of data modern businesses need to move, in various forms, every day. Video conferencing, for instance, requires the movement of greater quantities of data than a mere phone call for a seamless experience. If traditional lines are providing data to many other users at the same time, it may significantly limit the ability of employees to share video conferences.

As Unified Communications systems are often cloud-based and powered through the internet, they’re not reliant on analogue phone lines and are able to withstand the heavy data loads modern businesses need to keep operations and communications in all their forms moving. In turn, this internet-based approach allows for the easy addition of future technologies and methods of communication when they become available, likely without the need for engineers to make excessive in-person visits or hardware alterations.

Updates Can be Handled by an External Provider

When all businesses were relying solely on physical, analogue lines to facilitate their communication systems, any updates would often need to be handled by an engineer, which would be very time-consuming and expensive. This is still happening today in some cases with businesses that are yet to get on board with digital methods of communication. 

However, thanks to more modern digital alternatives, like unified communications solutions, businesses can quickly and easily upgrade the applications they need to remain productive and adapt the solution to the changing needs of their business. In the case of unified communications, because the technology is cloud-based and installed on digital devices through software, businesses have the option to update the applications whenever a new, more efficient version is released by the publisher. This means businesses everywhere can benefit from having the latest and most impressive form of their communications applications the moment they become available, removing the need for on-site visits from engineers.

In addition, when taken as Unified Communications as a Service (UCaaS) – in which a unified communications solution is managed for a business by an external provider – the external provider is charged with the responsibility of upgrading the applications to their latest versions as soon as possible, removing the task from the to-do lists of busy, in-house IT staff who can then use their time on more valuable tasks. By constantly keeping all unified communications applications updated, businesses can guarantee they’re using the most effective, reliable version of the application, as well as defend themselves from security threats that may have arisen as a result of using older application versions that are prone to cyber-attacks.

Increased Flexibility Supports Remote Working and Business Growth

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As businesses continue to thrive and grow, increases in employee numbers and expansion into new locations are to be expected. This can cause issues concerning communication and collaboration tools, as employees, departments and managers struggle to onboard the new workers if their current systems require significant input or hardware changes to compensate for the raised workload. In turn, this can cost companies financially as well as from a productivity standpoint, if new hardware needs to be installed by an external company before the employee can begin.

With unified communications, onboarding new users couldn’t be simpler. Rather than needing to install new phones or other hardware, all a company needs to do is install the relevant unified communications platform to the new workers’ digital devices – such as mobile phones, laptops or tablets – and provide login details so they can access the system and begin work promptly. Alternatively, in the case of mass hirings with many new faces, businesses may need to speak with their unified communications provider to increase the number of users that can access the system at once and rearrange their deal. Again, this can be completed from the provider’s side in a matter of minutes.

Security is Easier to Manage

Technology may have evolved over the years to the advantage of businesses everywhere, but so have the ways cybercriminals use it to breach company systems and steal sensitive data. Cybersecurity remains a serious talking point, with businesses being more vulnerable than ever, if they do not have stringent security measures in place to prevent such attacks. The use of multiple communication tools presents various security concerns, in the sense that the more subscriptions a business needs to manage, the greater the chances of one of those accounts being breached. This could have wider implications for the business, its partners and its customers, whose data may become vulnerable in such a situation.

Unified communications present fewer risks than having multiple active subscriptions. As all communication methods are provided under a single platform, by a single company, there are fewer targets for cybercriminals to attempt to breach. Also, thanks to modern security measures for digital entities like two-factor authentication, which demands secondary approval before access is granted to an account, businesses have access to effective means of defence.

In the case of UCaaS, responsibility for the security also lies with the platform provider, rather than the user. As such, these providers take the security of their platforms very seriously and employ security professionals utilising the most up-to-date defences to protect the data of their customers – and their customer’s customers. These include such methods as end-to-end encryption, which scrambles data that is in transit, from its point of origin to its final destination. This data is only readable for users with the correct encryption key, which is usually reserved for either or both the sender and the recipient, rendering it useless, even if it was stolen by a hacker.

Choose Unified Communications through Elite Group

Unified Communications stands as a fantastic choice for businesses seeking to explore technology that will offer their staff and future prospects far greater advantages than legacy technology has been able to provide, as well as improve customer experiences. At Elite Group, our Unified Communications experts are ready to help your business make the most of the technology, if you’re ready to make the next move. Speak to an Elite expert today.