Cisco Unified Communications

Cisco Unified Communications is a family of Cisco products and applications designed to meet an organization's entire range of communications needs, including call management, rich-media conferencing, voicemail and messaging, customer contact, IP phones and endpoints, video telephony, videoconferencing, and unified communications clients.

Q. What is Cisco Unified Communications, and how does it differ from voice over IP (VoIP), IP telephony, and IP Communications?

A. VoIP refers to a way to carry phone calls over an IP data network, whether the public Internet or an organization's own internal network. One of the primary attractions of VoIP is its ability to help companies reduce expenses because telephone calls travel over the data network rather than the phone company's network.

IP telephony encompasses the full suite of telephony services enabled by VoIP, including the interconnection of phones for actual communications; related services such as billing and dialing plans; and basic features such as conferencing, transfer, forward, hold, and many more. These services might previously have been provided by a private branch exchange (PBX)

IP communications evolves the concept to include business applications that enhance communications to enable applications such as unified messaging, integrated contact centers, and rich-media conferencing that combines voice, data, and video.

Unified communications takes IP communications a step further with technologies such as Session Initiation Protocol (SIP) and presence and mobility solutions. These technologies unify and simply all forms of communication-independent of location, time, or device. Unified communications users can be reached at any time based on their preferences and can communicate through any media using any device they prefer. The multiple phones and devices, along with the multiple networks (fixed, Internet, cable, satellite, or mobile) are brought together by unified communications. With unified communications, users can be geographically independent and communications can be transparently integrated with business processes, streamlining business and improving productivity and profitability.

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