Collaborative Communications – overview

Unified communications is a popular platform in today’s business communications. It is the integration of real-time communication services like standard and IP telephony, instant messaging, video conferencing, data sharing, presence information, speech recognition and call control with non-real-time communication services like voicemail, fax, SMS, and email. It is a composed of several products that provide a consistent user interface involving multiple devices and media types. Unified communications or UC greatly helps companies improve employee communication and productivity, and also optimizes the different business processes.


Along with UC, collaboration technology has also been developed. UC has been combined with different collaboration technologies to form unified communications and collaboration or UCC. UCC services include collaboration over the Web, and the UC real and non-real time services.


In the last few years, social software or networking has become very popular. According to a poll done in early 2012, 58% of the correspondents are use one or more social network such as Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, and Google+. Social software provides users with more ways to communicate with other users. It provides services like activity feeds, forums and communities that are now called social media. Social media has proven to be a strong tooln especially in a heavily internet connected society.

Social media is a great medium for providing textual and visual information, making connections, and expanding the area of resources and expertise pooling. However, it is limited. It was inevitable that UCC and social software are combined to form an even more enhanced communication system. This is now called collaborative communications.


Unified Communications + Social Software = Collaborative Communications

Collaborative communications is the combination and integration of UC, collaboration technologies and social software. It combines the real-time communication and collaboration capabilities of UC with the networking capabilities of social software.

As discussed above, UC tools include telephony, instant messaging, video and presence that are delivered through a unified end user system. Collaboration technologies include conferencing or meetings. Social software includes microblogging, activity feeds and communities and forums.

Social software allows for users to engage in discussions about any topic, and to create communities and forums related to the topic or interest. Enterprise social software allows the business users to find the people the business needs through these communities. With UC, the business can then view the presence and availability of these people, and then communicate with them directly from the social software through voice, web or video conferencing.


A good example is through the Twitter software. The business may create a Twitter account that other users can follow and interact with. The business’ Twitter stream allows the user to see other users that responded to the business’s tweets. Interaction is possible through the Twitter software however it is limited. When UC is added into the system, the simple Twitter interaction can then be expanded to voice, instant messaging, and even web and video conferencing.


Collaborative communications however is not an easy, turnkey process. The business must work with vendors that provide the necessary products like open application programming interfaces and plug-ins that allows the integration to happen.


Author Bio

Michelle Patterson has been learning and writing about the new IP based communication technologies. She loves sharing her information so that businesses and business owners could take advantage of these technologies.