unified communication app and software

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Since the pandemic forced almost one-third of the world workforce to work remotely, the demand for cloud-based unified communication tools has been exploding. According to a Metrigy survey, the percentage of organizations using unified communication tools increased by 79% between 2019 and 2020, with more than 60% of organizations speeding up their adoption plans.

Now, even as the enterprises are planning to embrace a permanent hybrid work model, with a mix of in-office and remote employees, cloud-based unified communication platforms are becoming a necessity to manage their global workforce. The global trend of investing in cloud-based unified communication platforms and will only increase going forward as it is often credited with increasing employee productivity and supporting more communication and collaboration than the legacy on-premises applications.

Additionally, specific technologies which are included in cloud-based unified communication tools such as video conferencing are linked to reduced travel costs, greater efficiency, more flexibility, and better engagement. Cloud-based unified communication technologies allow employees to work from the office, their homes, or the road using a variety of devices like desktops, laptops, or mobile devices. When choosing a unified communications platform, companies should ensure the product meets the organization’s unique needs and has strong security protocols in place.

List of unified communication platforms

1. Clariti - Unified communication platform for seamless communication and business collaboration

apps for startups

Clariti is a free unified communication platform that combines emails, chats, documents, calendar events and feeds on the same topic, in rich context-based Conversations. Since Clariti is hosted in the cloud, it is accessible to all team members who have an internet connection.

Organizations implementing unified communication platforms like Clariti enjoy the benefits of having all their systems work together, smoothly and securely to enable effective collaboration. Clariti lets you take full advantage of all the benefits that unified communication platform offers. Using Clariti, if you realize there is an issue that requires a quicker response, you can switch to chat or voice call with just a click of a button; you don’t have to switch devices, applications, or jump to any other rooms or channels.

Some of the top unified communication features in Clariti include:

  • Cloud-based communications for your team to collaborate from anywhere.
  • Support for multiple email accounts.
  • Voice calling to reduce the number of emails in your inbox.
  • Screen sharing to eliminate the need for face-to-face meetings.
  • Ability to take notes during meetings to remember the context.
  • Ability to add or remove participants during group conversations.
  • Direct chat with any Clariti user at any time.

2. Nextiva: Unified platform for Business Communications and Collaboration

business tools for startups

Nextiva is one of the best unified communications platforms (Ucaas) that brings all communication channels — voice, video, collaboration, SMS, chat, and surveys — together in one place. This helps businesses access the information they need to provide amazing customer experiences and drive business results. Nextiva is easy to set up, use, and manage, so no technical knowledge is required.

3. 8x8 X Series: eXperience Communications as a Service

unified communications tool

8×8 X Series is one of the top best unified communications platforms that helps businesses of all sizes establish communication via text messaging, voice calls, and video conferencing. The team messaging module lets employees create project-specific public and private chat rooms to share files, store conversation history, and conduct meetings, among other operations.

The unified communications platform enables team members to use screen sharing and remote desktop control capabilities to collaborate on projects. Additionally, the voicemail to email functionality lets staff members automatically receive emails with voicemail transcripts and attached audio clips. 8×8 X Series facilitates integration with several third-party solutions, including Zendesk, NetSuite and Dynamics.

4. Cisco Unified Communications Manager: Enterprise call control and session management

ucaas

Cisco Unified Communications Manager is a unified communications platform that integrates business communication technologies such as telephony, video conferencing, presence information, call recording, web conferencing and messaging. It enables administrators to control unified communications infrastructure supporting a large number of users making it suitable for businesses of all sizes. Cisco Unified Communications Manager allows businesses to manage their communications networks, administer user settings for a variety of collaboration tools.

5. Verizon: Unified Communications & Collaboration as a Service

best unified communications software

Verizon UCCaaS is a cloud-based unified communications platform that enables employees in an organization to interact and work in a collaborative virtual environment. It also offers hybrid solutions that work as an extension of the organization’s existing on-premises applications. Verizon UCCaaS provides users with voice and video communication features that integrate with Microsoft Outlook, SAP and Salesforce.

6. GoToConnect: All-in-one cloud phone and meeting system

free unified collaboration software

GoToConnect (formerly Jive) is among the best unified communications platforms that can be accessed using web browsers on the internet-enabled device or by installing a desktop application on Mac and Windows devices. GoToConnect offers both local and long-distance calling. Users can fully customize their calling schedules and control different aspects of calling from a single portal. Jive Video provides cloud-based video conferencing capabilities allowing users to connect with their clients and co-workers face to face.

7. RingCentral MVP: Fully integrated communication platform

instant messaging platforms

RingCentral MVP is a cloud-based unified communications platform that offers tools for messaging, video and phone. Core features of the solution include conferencing, auto recording and unlimited long-distance and local calling.

RingCentral MVP is a fully integrated mobile-based phone system that helps keep employees connected via a variety of business and personal devices including smartphones, tablets, desktops and phones to customers and colleagues from anywhere. Additionally, RingCentral integrates with basic email platforms and other applications such as Salesforce CRM, Box, Dropbox and Google Docs.

8. Mitel MiVoice: Unified communications platform for business communication

Team Communication

Mitel MiVoice unified communications platform is designed for both small business and large enterprise needs. MiVoice offers virtualization options and supports both cloud-based and on-premises deployment. MiVoice includes features such as auto-attendants, automatic call distribution, unified messaging, call reporting and employees can group up to eight devices under a single work number.

9. Masergy: Software-defined network and cloud platform

unified communications tools

Masergy is a unified communications platform and its features include conferencing, instant messaging and video calling. Masergy integrates with various customer relationship management systems and can be customized to add communication functionality, such as ad-hoc video conferencing to organizations’ custom business processes.

Its built-in communicator is an end-user client that enables employees to use a single persona with unified presence information across multiple devices.

10. Vonage: Business VoIP communications suite

unified messaging software

Vonage Business Solutions is one of the best unified communications platforms that is suitable for small and midsize companies. The solution offers a business phone system that enables businesses to connect their VoIP phone system to internet-enabled devices and communicate via text, over the phone or via video conferencing.

The Vonage Business Solutions mobile app gives users another method for accessing the service. Vonage Business Solutions also offers desktop plug-ins to customize the system. Users can also integrate their contacts from Google, Outlook and CRM systems such as Salesforce.

11. Wildix: Browser-based unified communications solution

unified communications applications

Wildix is a global unified communications platform that enhances the simplicity, security and functionality of business communications in the digital age. The company is vertically integrated to ensure seamless interoperability of hardware and software and a more intuitive user experience.

12. Bria: Cloud-based and on-premises Voice over IP (VoIP)

tools for effective communication

Bria is a unified communications platform that allows companies to provide their employees with the means to take business-line calls on the go and work remotely from both desktop and mobile.

Additionally, features such as presence, messaging and video conferencing are available to facilitate day-to-day collaboration. Bria is ideal for businesses who have already invested in a premise-based call server and are looking for mobility, or the ability to migrate to a cloud-hosted solution.

13. Fuze: Unified cloud communication platform for enterprises

best unified communications software

Fuze is a unified communications platform that allows its users to receive audio conferencing, video conferencing, screen sharing and web conferencing functionality on tablets, smartphones, desktops and laptops. Additionally, users who want to equip meeting rooms with HD video conferencing systems can opt for Fuze for Rooms.

Fuze’s applications are designed to dynamically adjust the bandwidth of voice, video and content transmission across a range of devices and network conditions. Fuze also offers features such as collaborative annotation of content, special modes for conferencing while driving, content sharing from mobile devices and integration with cloud-based file hosting services such as Dropbox and Box.

14. Yobi: AI Communications and Customer Experience company

free unified collaboration software

Yobi is a unified communication platform to connect businesses with their clients via a dedicated business line, SMS, and all social media in one place. Companies can organize communication with the customer instead of a platform to keep the organization simple. Additionally, it is possible to record calls to gain insights into business relationships and track call quality at the same time.

15. Jumpshare: Unified visual communication platform

free unified collaboration software

Jumpshare is a unified communications platform that is designed to help organizations manage video recording, screen capturing, and editing operations via a unified portal. Jumpshare’s screen recording feature allows users to record webinars, live streams, games, zoom meetings, and desktop apps.

Teams can capture specific parts of the screen, add audio narrations using a microphone, integrate webcam videos, and draw on videos to improve engagement. Jumpshare is available for Mac, Windows and iOS devices and enables businesses to create video recordings, GIFs and screenshots and share them with external or internal stakeholders.

Expert guide to choosing the best unified communication Platforms

A unified communication platform acts as a one-stop-shop, bringing your business communication channels together in one place. Using unified communications platform at the workplace makes it easier for your employees to do their job. They’ll save time on tasks throughout the day.

It allows users to make and receive calls from anywhere, quickly share files with teammates to work collaboratively. Instead of using an endless email thread, you can start video or audio meetings whenever it is needed. Unified communication platforms allow team members to get more done in a day and alleviate most of the communication challenges that you might be otherwise facing. When employees collaborate using a unified communication platform, all the issues can be resolved much more efficiently.

These unified communications platforms allow users to collaborate with team members through chat and phone calls. Without a unified communication platform, users would be toggling between multiple apps. According to recent research, employees jump between different applications over 1,000 times a day. Though it might seem very inconsequential at the beginning, it will lead to missed project deadlines and other financial implications.

When it comes to choosing the best unified communication platform, there is no one-size-fits-all solution. A lot of factors like flexibility, scalability, portability etc play a huge role in selection. We have put together a few questions (read as guidelines) that you should ask yourself and your service provider before making the final selection of a unified communications platform.

Factors that influence choosing a unified communications platform

1. Anytime, Anywhere Access

Can your application be accessed from anywhere? Your unified communications platform has to be cloud-based so that all your distributed workforce needs is an internet connection to do their work. In these days of remote and hybrid work, this is a mandatory requirement.

2. Security

How secure is your unified communications platform? Most of the cloud-based unified communication platforms offer more security. Cloud providers go to extraordinary lengths to make their systems secure. Most of the unified communication platforms are hosted on either Microsoft Azure or Amazon Web Services, two of the biggest and most widely adopted cloud providers.

These companies constantly update their services and are intensely focused on security. Small and medium companies will never be able to protect their data to the level of Microsoft or Amazon can.

3. Scalability

Is your unified communications platform scalable? When you go for a cloud-based unified communications platform, you should be able to meet ever-changing requirements without having to invest in expensive equipment that needs to be configured and maintained. You can expand your workforce and keep them connected. A good Cloud-based unified communication platform can help organizations of any size to scale up or down due to their inherent flexibility.

4. Interoperability

Is your unified communications platform interoperable? Most of the unified communication platforms are great standalone applications that do not depend on other applications to work. But in some rare cases, they may have to be linked with other applications like CRM or other specific applications based on business needs. Interoperability increases the usability and adaptability of the product.

5. Device and OS independent

Is your unified communications platform device and OS independent? Your unified communication platform should have a browser-based interface – i.e., you only need a browser to access the application. Your unified communication platform should run on any device – PC, Mac, laptop, tablet, or smartphone. Your unified communication application should also be not limited by operating system or hardware manufacturer.

6. Reliability

Is your unified communications platform reliable? Reliability is the most important quality of any good, unified communication platform. Since most of the unified communication platforms are cloud-based, your business will not be disrupted due to server crashes or natural disasters.

7. No IT Requirements

Do you need a separate IT team to manage your application? When you go for a cloud-based unified communication platform, it is IT-friendly and minimizes your IT budget. Since there is no installation, configuration, and updating needed, it lowers the burden on your IT department. Cloud-based unified communications platforms are IT-friendly and minimize overblown IT budgets.

8. Infrastructure costs

What will be the infrastructure cost to run the unified communications platform? A big disadvantage of on-premises software is the cost of the hardware needed for operation. When you go for cloud-based unified communication software, it eliminates all the hassle and cost associated with hardware infrastructure.

9. Range of features

Does your unified communications platform have all the communication features? Most of the unified communication platforms come with different features like audio calling, recording, instant messaging, screen sharing etc. that are designed to improve the business workflow. You should evaluate and decide on the features based on the specific needs of your business.

10. Brainstorm your needs

Do you know all your teams’ needs? Sit with your team and create a unified communication wish list based on everyone’s daily app usage and tasks. When everybody’s needs are captured, it is easy to prepare the list. The tool that you are planning to implement should also meet the business goals for the year.

For example, if your goal is to improve internal communication, then your tool should have the option for group messaging and voice calling facilities.

11. Make sure selected product meets all your needs

Does the unified communications platform address all your needs? Once you are clear about your requirements, then it is time to create a checklist and see if the product meets all your needs. All users should be able to use the product for their specific needs before deciding to buy it.

12. Decide on a budget

Is the application cost within your budget? For any company, the budget will be the main constraint. Fortunately, unified communication platforms come with lots of options at a variety of price points with small businesses in mind. While some tools might have lower pricing, you should consider how the tool will perform in the long run.

The tool that you are trying to narrow down should not be dependent on supplementary tools to work or should not need any user training. So rather than focusing only on price, companies should look at other features like scalability and uptime too. The tool that you are choosing should have a guaranteed uptime of 99.999% or more.

13. Test different platforms

Have you tried all the available options? Since most unified communication platforms are cloud-based, they come with a free trial version or limited period trial offer. This would be a very good option to check the product’s usability and efficacy. This will give you an indication of what to expect from the product if you choose to implement it. You can avoid any surprises and also obtain your team’s approval in advance setting proper expectations.

14. Implement and gather feedback

Are you taking feedback from the employees? Once you narrow down on a product, take advantage of the tool’s online knowledge base like self-guided modules, helpful videos etc to train everyone on the new software.

Meet the users regularly to understand any pain points and see how you can resolve them. Obtain feedback through surveys and reach out to the software provider for any assistance.

15. Evaluate the tool regularly

Are you evaluating the tool on a continuous basis? After initial user feedback, make sure to schedule regular check-ins to see how the users are adapting to the system. If there are any issues, bring them to the notice of the software provider so they are aware of the issues that are affecting the users.

You can also check whether any customizations are possible to make your job easier. Also, don’t be afraid to ask if something new is possible. Some service providers are willing to listen to their customers and adapt their software to meet customer needs.

Conclusion

With more people working remotely than ever, it’s no surprise that companies are searching for a unified communication platform to handle internal and external communications. It’s always a good idea to take these products for a test drive with your team. So, take advantage of free trials or demos from the tools on this list before you buy.

But if you’re thinking of consolidating your business communication in an easier-to-use, single platform, Clariti can help. It is an all-in-one platform for emails, team chat, voice calling and screen sharing. It’s trusted by companies of all sizes who want reliable software to handle their business’ most important activity: Communications.

In today’s world, identifying and adopting the right unified communication platform is key to ensure your company stays current and competitive. Following some or all of the guidelines listed above will help you to allay your employees’ fears and help overcome their resistance to change. So, embrace the relevant strategies and start reaping the benefits of unified communication technology.

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Frequently Asked Questions:

A unified communications platform integrates various communication tools, such as voice, video, messaging, and collaboration, into a single interface. It enables users to access and manage diverse communication channels seamlessly, fostering efficient and centralized communication

Unified communication examples include platforms like Clariti, Microsoft Teams, Cisco Webex, and Slack, which integrate messaging, video conferencing, and collaboration tools.

Unified Communications integrates messaging, voice, and video into a cohesive communication platform, facilitating seamless collaboration and connectivity across various channels.

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