As discussed by Jim Metzler and Steve Taylor in Network World, businesses should consider VoIP and UC as a part of their cloud strategy.

But for the more inexperienced techie, what do all of these things mean? UC means Unified Communications. UC allows for the integration of instant messaging, presence information, (IP) telephony, video conferencing, data sharing, call control and speech recognition as well as unified messaging, such as voicemail, email, SMS and fax. VoIP refers to Voice over Internet Protocol, meaning that phone sessions can be initiated, sustained and ended over the internet rather than the public switched network. Not only does this increase functionality, but it also lowers costs substantially when it comes long-distance and international phone calls.

So then what is a cloud strategy? This refers to an enterprise’s data being stored virtually by the third-party on multiple servers. Hosts run large data centers, dealing with the issues of space and security. The system operates in the background, while still allowing businesses and individuals easy access to all the material they need. Utilizing a hosting service saves a businesses the overhead costs of running their own servers and the anxiety of maintaining security and space on dedicated servers.

By integrating the cloud solution with VoIP and UC, the options are endless when it comes to functionality and cost savings. Hosts could potentially offer these services as a package deal, increasing usage among consumers, while saving consumers money. Or services could be broken down and customized to better suit users.

No matter how the services are used, the increasing use of VoIP, UC and cloud hosting is inevitable as far as streamlining business communication and data storage.