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Why Unified Communications could be the most important decision your business ever makes

 As businesses and their employees get more and more connected around the world, the need to stay in touch and online grows too.

The rise of sophisticated Unified Communications (UC) tools has been one of the biggest trends in the enterprise technology space in the past few years, with companies big and small competing to provide the best services.

AT&T has long been at the forefront of this trend, supplying the networks and tools needed for businesses around the world with everything they need to stay connected - and productive.

"Performance should not be measured in terms of how many hours you are working, but what you can achieve," Richard Shaw, the company’s vice president of voice & collaboration told ITProPortal at the recent UC Expo in London.

"It's (a mix of) two things - do your business policies match your technology, and does your technology help enable the policies you have in place?" 

The company is backing the idea that ‘video is the new voice’, as more and more businesses move on from traditional UC offerings such as Skype and MDM schemes to something more sophisticated, such as videoconferencing.

As Shaw notes, "Some companies say, yes I have Skype, and our boardroom has videoconferencing...but then the question is, do you want these things to work together?" 

"Video will keep you honest,” he adds, “I've found that I can have a really productive face-to-face video call with my being interactive - video enables people to be present." 

"Everybody has some level of UC implemented now...AT&T's approach is to meet companies where they are."

Giving employees the right tools will allow them to be happier and more productive, leading not just to a better working environment, but also happier customers, Shaw says. AT&T is also pushing the use of improved training for customers, as the readiness of employees is crucial when it comes to ensuring new technology is not just used correctly, but efficiently.

Looking to the future, AT&T is understandably enthusiastic about the potential growth of UC technology, which it says allows the company to collaborate with devices as well as people.

"I think we're still as people, evolving in how we take our hybrid world and get it repaired to embrace collaboration, particularly video," Shaw says. 

"Business cases invent themselves every day...people are very creative in how they can take these technologies and change how they operate and solve a problem."

Mike Moore is Deputy Editor at TechRadar Pro, and has worked as a B2B and B2C tech journalist for nearly a decade, including at one of the UK's leading national newspapers and ITProPortal.