By Bob Milliken

Bob Milliken
Bob Milliken

Improvements in technology and changes in the way people work and communication in today’s business has become richer but also more complex. With change comes challenge and complexity, of course, and Unified Communications is a great new way of taming this complexity.
I don’t need to tell you of the multitude of options we now have to communicate with one another. This is a double edged sword as not only do we have to learn and master a variety of devices from which to communicate—but also contend with an equal or higher number of forms with which to communicate. For example, not only do we make a phone call to talk, but we also chat, text, tweet, post, like, poke, huddle, share screens, do white board sessions, and more. We can do all of these whether on the desktop computer, laptop, netbook, tablet, desk phone, mobile phone, TV – and soon maybe even from the kitchen refrigerator! Not surprisingly, people have started looking for ways to integrate and simplify all of this complexity—and so we have the concept of “Unified Communications.”
Here are some examples of how Unified Communications can be used:

  1. Have a “single number to call” or a simpler way of reaching people.Instead of remembering and sharing a phone number, an IM handle, an email address, a twitter account, and more, you can have just one number or address by which people can reach you. So you can easily have calls placed to your desk phone routed to your mobile phone when you are out, and have voice mail emailed to you as a recording in case you can’t answer.
  1. Reaching people when you need them.If you are working remotely, or managing remote workers, Unified Communications systems can easily let you know where everybody is (office. field, travelling, etc.).
  1. Synchronous or asynchronous way of working.If you work with people in different time zones you can opt to conference when your schedules overlap, or swap messages that can be answered at their convenience if they don’t.
  1. Richer collaboration.If you work on projects, Unified Communications can allow you or your team to get in touch and collaborate in a richer and more interactive way. While working on a project you can chat, switch to voice calls for better clarity, or conference via video to provide more context, as well as share screens for easier collaboration—all from a single screen or session.

Smart business owners always are on the lookout for new ways to improve efficiency and lower costs. Unified Communications may sound expensive and complex, but in reality it can actually lessen costs and make things simpler for you and your business.  If you would like to learn more about Unified Communications and what it can do to improve your business, give us a call!
 Bob Milliken is the president of Cascadia Systems Group. Connect with Bob at, or give us a call – 604.270.1730. Your comments are appreciated –