The term “Unified Communications” has recently become a common phrase and buzz-word in the world of communications, but most people still haven’t managed to fully understand the term, whether and why they should be interested and who is really offering a solution that works.

In short, Unified Communications is the integration of multiple real-time communication channels into one manageable tool or solution, allowing an organization to utilize their traditional methods of communication whilst developing their business with emerging technologies.

There are a number of key technologies involved with Unified Communications.

  • Voice Over IP (VoIP) (via the Internet)
  • Presence i.e. online, busy, away – you may be familiar with this from Facebook chat, Skype, Apple iChat, Cisco Movie etc.
  • E-mail
  • Audio Conferencing
  • Web Conferencing
  • Video Conferencing
  • TelePresence
  • Voice/Video Mail
  • Instant Messaging
  • Data sharing
  • Fax, paging, whiteboards, e-commerce and various forms of mobility

IP-PBX, IP-Phone, VoIP, and GSM Gateway. A VOIP Phone System / IP PBX system consists of one or more SIP phones / VOIP phones, an IP PBX server and optionally includes a VOIP Gateway. The IP PBX server is similar to a proxy server: SIP clients, being either soft phones or hardware based phones, register with the IP PBX server, and when they wish to make a call they ask the IP PBX to establish the connection. The IP PBX has a directory of all phones/users and their corresponding SIP address and thus is able to connect an internal call or route an external call via either a VOIP gateway or a VOIP service provider.

A VoIP GSM Gateway enables direct routing between IP, digital, analog and GSM networks. With these devices (fixed cellular terminals) companies can significantly reduce the money they spend on telephony, especially the money they spend on calls from IP to GSM. The core idea behind cost saving with VoIP GSM Gateways is Least Cost Routing (LCR).

Through least cost routing the gateways select the most cost-effective telephone connection. They check the number which is dialed as well as rate information which is stored in an internal routing table. Because several SIM cards and GSM modules are integrated within the VOIP GSM Gateway it is able to make relatively cheaper GSM to GSM calls instead of expensive IP to GSM calls.