Unified communications (UC) enables organizations to do more with less by boosting efficiencies. Implementations typically boost productivity, improve service, reduce errors and save money. Before you set out on a UC rollout, however, it’s useful to know the lingo. What follows is a glossary of essential terms:
This is a network traffic management technique that allocates a fixed amount of available transport capacity to a specific application or class of applications to ensure an app won’t have to contend with other apps for that capacity.
Shorthand for “central exchange,” centrex is a service from a telephone carrier that remotely provides call management capabilities similar to an on-premise PBX.
Broadly speaking, a cloud is a set of virtualized resources that provide computing power, storage, software applications and/or information as a metered service.
This term refers to a web-browsing session simultaneously visible to and/ or controlled by multiple users.
Customer relationship management (CRM)
This is a software tool that maintains a database of an organization’s in-coming contacts, as well as other information and workflow functions necessary to efficiently provide timely, personalized service.
This term refers to a networking technology that uses a 6-bit field in the header of IP packets to classify applications and assign them appropriate quality of service (QoS).
A term referring to people who grew up with digital technology, digital natives typically refers to people born in the 1980s or later and whose households had computers with Internet access.
When referring to network bandwidth, a gigabit (1 billion bits) is a unit of measure for the amount of
data that can pass across any point on the network in one second.
This is a website where multiple authorized participants can openly suggest, critique and work on innovative concepts well before having ironed out all the details or problems.
I/O refers to the exchange of information between a system’s internal environment and the external environment to which it is connected.
Instant messaging (IM)
IM is real-time text messaging between computing devices, plus any ancillary capabilities such as presence notification, status messaging and file transfer.
Interactive voice response (IVR)
IVR refers to any technology that lets people interact with computer systems via touchpad entry or verbal commands.
Internet Protocol (IP)
IP is the means by which data packets are relayed from a source host to a destination host across one or more networks.
This term refers to the variability in the amount of time it takes for packets to move from one endpoint on a network to another.
Liquid Crystal Display (LCD)
LCD is a technology that takes advantage of the light modulating properties of liquid crystals to display high-quality images with relatively low energy consumption.
Light Emitting Diode (LED)
LED is a technology that uses an array of semiconductors as its light source.
Multiprotocol Label Switching (MPLS)
MPLS is a mechanism that expedites the transport of packets between distant nodes on high-performance networks.
This refers to the means by which applications detect and share the availability of a user on the network for real-time communication.
Private branch exchange (PBX)
PBX is a device that manages connections among an organization’s internal telephones, as well as the connection between the internal network and the public-switched telephone network (PSTN).
Quality of service (QoS)
QoS refers to the mechanisms that prioritize applications, users and data on a network to achieve a specified performance level and avoid bandwidth contention.
Resource Reservation Protocol (RSVP)
RSVP is a networking technology that helps deliver the appropriate QoS for an application or service by allocating resources to specific packet flows.
Session Initiation Protocol (SIP)
SIP is a signaling protocol for managing communication sessions between two or more points on an IP network.
Short Message Service (SMS)
SMS is a text communication service used by mobile devices.
This is a technique for understanding the relationships between people and resources in an organization through visual representation of activity within a social network.
This term can refer to any set of web-based technologies or systems that connect individuals to one another based on common interests or other characteristics.
This is a high-end video conferencing technology designed to closely replicate the sense of being in the same room with remote participants.
Unified communications (UC)
Broadly speaking, UC is the integration of multiple communications media, including real-time services such as instant messaging and voice over IP and non-real-time services such as e-mail and SMS.
Uninterruptible power supply (UPS)
This is a device that delivers emergency power to a protected resource in the event that the main power source fails.
Virtual LAN (VLAN)
A VLAN is a logical grouping of network resources that mimics a dedicated physical connection between them.
Voice over IP (VoIP)
VoIP is the transport of audio signals, as well as the management of associated session control functions, over an IP network.
From a Hawaiian word meaning “quick,” a wiki is a web page through which multiple authorized users can add, delete or modify content.
For more about unified communications and collaboration, see our Reference Guide.