With the proliferation of mobile workers and smart devices, unified communications is allowing businesses to improve customer satisfaction, increase productivity and lower operational expenses.
Enterprises now have a unified communications service provider that brings together the benefits of the cloud, carrier grade quality, and the flexibility in a monthly pricing model with AT&T’s Unified Communications (News - Alert) Services.
Shawn Conroy, who kicked off the AT&T Unified Communications expert panel during a live Web event Thursday, led participants through a virtual tour of the services that encompass the carrier’s new cloud-based product.
Much of the discussion centered on the needs of today’s mobile workers, giving them the ability to transfer sessions and communications between PC and mobile devices.
As Conroy pointed out, however, today, the term “UC” means different things to different people – but the common denominator is that businesses today are tasked with bringing together multiple communication tools to create an efficient, more productive workforce.
“Collaboration has become mission-critical for enterprises seeking to create efficient agile environments,” said Conroy, who is vice president of Voice, Collaboration and Unified Communications Services, AT&T (News - Alert) Business Solutions.
Designed for businesses with 100 or more employees, AT&T UC Services give customers the ability to unify their communications delivered over the AT&T network. As with AT&T’s other cloud solutions, which are embedded directly into the AT&T managed network, AT&T UC Services is accessible from almost any device, allowing employees to collaborate and communicate in real-time regardless of location.
No matter what stage of transformation toward UC a company is in, Conroy said AT&T’s collaboration service allows companies of all sizes to more efficiently use and integrate PCs, laptops, tablets, smartphones and other devices.
UC gives a single control point to access multiple tools currently used independently today, Conroy explained, by bringing multiple tools together, AT&T can also bring them together with your business processes (CEPB) , which improves a company’s ability to respond to customers, as well as other benefits, such as reducing travel costs with video conference and improving contact center experience
With AT&T Unified Communications Services, companies will have full access to all of their communications tools at the tips of their fingers, according to Conroy.
“Not only can this service leverage an organization’s existing investments to improve business collaboration, it also provides an easy transition from where a customer is today to where they want to be tomorrow without incurring significant capital expenses,” Conroy said. “AT&T is breaking new ground by providing customers with simple, affordable access to carrier-grade UC functionality.”
For many businesses, implementation of UC and the cloud becomes a question of bringing together traditionally disparate communications technologies and calling it “unified,” without a real understanding of how the right applications can be integrated into the business process to drive measurable process improvements.
“There is a way CEPB will not only help you be better, but will also help you be smarter no matter what you business,” he said.
AT&T Connect, a conferencing tool, allows businesses to synchronize all of their various communication platforms, according to Neil Lieberman, executive director, Product Marketing Management, AT&T. He said AT&T worked with its customers over the last two years to determine what they were looking for in a UC solution, which came down to four primary needs:
- Able to supply a single point of entry;
- Mobility – AT&T has designed its UC products not from a PC-centric point of view, but from a mobility perspective. (i.e. what are these devices capable of and how can we exploit them?)
- Voice services – AT&T brings to market a carrier grade cloud investment; and, finally;
- The ability to support a hybrid, on-premises services.
AT&T UC Services will be made up of UC Central and UC Voice. UC Central will give a business a single user communications interface for both mobile and desktop computers, while UC Voice will offer IP telephony from an AT&T cloud that can be used alone or with UC Central. UC Voice will run over the Cisco (News - Alert) Hosted Collaboration Solution system.
Want to learn more about the latest in communications and technology? Then be sure to attend ITEXPO East 2012, taking place Jan. 31-Feb. 3 2012, in Miami, FL. ITEXPO (News - Alert) offers an educational program to help corporate decision makers select the right IP-based voice, video, fax and unified communications solutions to improve their operations. It's also where service providers learn how to profitably roll out the services their subscribers are clamoring for – and where resellers can learn about new growth opportunities. For more information on registering for ITEXPO registration, click here.
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Erin Harrison is Executive Editor, Strategic Initiatives, for TMC, where she oversees the company's strategic editorial initiatives, including the launch of several new print and online initiatives. She plays an active role in the print publications and TMCnet, covering IP communications, information technology and other related topics. To read more of Erin's articles, please visit her columnist page.
Edited by Jennifer Russell