THE IDEA THAT YOU could have everything in one place is a great idea. Imagine being able to see your SMSs, emails, voice mails and instant messages all in one place. Though for most people that’s still a pipe dream that’s what the concept of unified communications promises to users.
The problem facing most companies is they tend to buy technology from a variety of different places: the phone system from one vendor, email from another – and then users make their own decision on what instant messaging system to use, with some using GTalk and others using Windows Messenger.
The promise that unified communications will provide is that no matter whether you are out on the road, at home or in the office, you’ll always be reachable. Or, more accurately, you’ll be able to decide which groups of people will be allowed to contact you.
By using your notebook computer, your PDA or your cellphone, you’ll be able to alert people to your status and different people will receive different messages. So your friends may see you as available but work contacts would see you as offline. You’d also be able to see all messages – such as emails or voicemails – from a single inbox. So it’s relatively simple to see who is trying to contact you.
The idea is that not only are all your communications centralised but you also have control over who can contact you and when. That has to be a good thing.