We have come a long way since the invention of the telephone in 1876; and today we are able to reach almost anyone on the planet in an instant, whether it be via telephone, e-mail, instant messenger or any of the other communication devices we have at our disposal. Although a great deal of communication is done socially between friends and family using platforms such as Facebook and Google+, there has also been a vast rise in the amount of communication that is done in the business arena, using the many devices that are accessible. This type of communication can be categorised into four main aspects which we will discuss.
This was the way that the world communicated on a social and business level originally. At this stage, all of the communication devices are separate and have their own dedicated system and infrastructure. You would pick up a phone to speak to someone, send an e-mail to write to them and visit them face to face to visually communicate. All of these ways to communicate operated off their own system, whether that was a phone line or an internet connection, and were not able to be grouped or mixed.
The next level in the evolution of communication came with the roll-out of multimedia communication applications such as Skype, which allowed individuals to contact each other via instant messaging, voice or video. This type of technology allowed for a more streamlined approach to communication and meant that some companies could do away with their internal phone systems in favour of a simple solution. With the invention of smartphones came the ability to be able to speak to people whenever and wherever they were in the world; so meetings could take place out of office hours and information could be shared at any time. This was a big step in streamlining business communications; however the real leap came when businesses and individuals were able to contact each other using one single interface.
The ability to be able to use different devices on one interface was a turning point in business communication. Some of the communication choices that can now be used include instant messaging, interactive white boards, video conferencing, speech recognition and voice chat. It also allows one individual to send a message in one medium and another individual to receive it in a different medium. For example you may send a voice mail to a colleague who can then open it as an e-mail. This type of communication can enhance both business and customer experience and allow for a more modern approach to business.
Unified Communications and Collaboration
After unified communications comes the Rolls Royce of communication technology; unified communications and collaboration. In its broadest sense, this type of communication allows users and businesses to integrate a mix of different multimedia communications and apps onto one infrastructure, therefore merging communications and collaboration. It takes the process one step further than just unifying communications by allowing users to be alerted when an application is used or an action is taken and informed of an individual’s availability. For example you may receive an alert that says “Paul has added a document to the information database” or “Jane is in a meeting”. This type of technology is constantly advancing and we have no way of knowing where it will be in 5 or 10 years’ time; so it is important to stay up to date with new information and ensure that your organisation is communicating as effectively as technology will allow.
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