Unified Communications

Unified Communications (UC) has been a buzz word floating around the telecommunications industry for some time now. However, very few people understand what UC is or what it can do for your business. As a web conferencing company, we are ultimately interested in tracking this trend because web conferencing is a form of communication. Cisco's purchase of Jabber is a strong case for the emerging presence of UC.

So, what is Unified Communications? According to the International Engineering Consortium, unified communications is an industry term used to describe all forms of call and multimedia/cross-media message-management functions controlled by an individual user for both business and social purposes.

Great so what does that mean? To put it simply, unified communications integrates all the systems that a user might already be using and helps those systems work together in real time. For example, unified communications technology could allow a user to seamlessly collaborate with another person on a project, even if the two users are in separate locations. The user could quickly locate the necessary person by accessing an interactive directory, engage in a text messaging session, and then escalate the session to a voice call, or even a video call – all within minutes.

Another important part of UC is its ability to eliminate device and media dependencies as well as reduce latency. Latency is the delay between receiving information and acting upon that information. The idea is that by having a unified communications infrastructure linked (typically using web services) you can automate the process of setting up conference calls, web conferences or any other method of communication so that you can get hold of the necessary people more easily and quickly, and thereby make decisions faster.

What does this mean to a web conferencing company like ReadyTalk or to your company? In the next blog, I am going to talk about how at ReadyTalk we are doing our best to reduce latency and device and media dependency.

 

The 3rd “P” in Podcasting: Possibilities

In previous blogs, I've been discussing the "Ps" in podcasting. The first "P" was the "Popularity" of podcasting, The second "P" was the "Pros" for companies to podcast. The third "P" of the peas in a pod metaphor I'm hacking to death here is the "Possibilities" for business podcasts. It isn't exactly enough for a meal yet, but hey, I'm getting there.

You can blog about anything or nothing, and many people do. The same is true for podcasting. But if you want people to actually listen to your podcasts, you need to make sure they provide useful information or are entertaining to your audience – preferably both. That's not always possible, of course. Podcasting your earnings reports isn't going get too many yuks from the financial community (at least we hope not), but they'll find them useful.

One way to come up with podcasting ideas is to analyze all the types of communications you use inside your company and with your customers. Some of these may be suitable for podcasting, or even be more effectively delivered as podcasts. This exercise may also generate some completely new ideas for communication that are uniquely suited for podcasting. Here are some possibilities to get you thinking:

Corporate:

  • Financial updates such as quarterly earnings reports
  • Business news such as company announcements, industry news and trends
  • Internal company announcements, newsletters
  • Management fireside chats


Sales and Marketing:

 

  • Product news, such as new features and release schedules
  • Product promotions and discounts
  • Account management status and updates for customers and clients
  • Interviews with industry experts
  • Whitepapers
  • Research paper summaries


Human Resoures:

 

 

  • HR training courses
  • HR initiative announcements
  • Policies and procedures
  • Management tips and best practices
  • Employee commentaries


Customer Support:

 

 

  • Product usage tips and best practices
  • Problem reports, status and workarounds
  • Product training


Another way to come up with business podcasting ideas is to go to iTunes and listen to some business podcasts. And talk to other companies to find out what they're podcasting. You'll have a bowlful of possibilities before you know it.

 

 

Are you doing business podcasting? I'd love to hear what you're podcasting and how it's going.

[tags]B2B, Customer Service, Human Resource, Marketing, Podcasting, Podcasts, Public Relations, Sales, Social Media[/tags]