UCaaS 101: 8 Key Unified Communications Terms You Need to Know

UCaaS 101: 8 Key Unified Communications Terms You Need to Know

Unified Communications as a Service (UCaaS) is a broad service offering that encompasses many different elements. If you’re fairly new to unified communications, it can be a minefield of new or confusing jargon. This is why we’ve curated our UCaaS 101 to explain the meaning of 8 unified communication buzzwords that you need to know.

In 2015, the UCaaS market was valued to be worth US$8.23 bn. This figure is anticipated to reach the value of US$79.3 bn by the end of 2024.

Transparency Market Research

This is a seismic growth in less than 10 years which shows unified communications is set to further become a massive part of all business communications. If this is the first time you’re hearing of some of the terms in our glossary, it certainly won’t be the last.

So first things first…

What Exactly is Unified Communications as a Service?

Firstly we need to decipher what unified communications is. Unified communications combines multiple forms of communication which are delivered via a single platform. For example, voice, video, email, chat, content sharing and social media. This means communications are streamlined and the need for multiple applications or hardware is reduced.

Unified Communications as a Service refers to the cloud delivery of these communications. There is no need for on-premise systems, the communications are hosted in the cloud. This means that the service is flexible and scalable, and is often provided as a subscription model that can be tailored to your changing business requirements. Not already in the cloud? Read 3 key benefits of cloud computing.

Glossary: 8 Key Unified Communications Terms You Need to Know

  1. AV Equipment

    Audio visual equipment displays both audio and visual broadcast. This can include video conferencing equipment that empowers face-to-face remote communication whether participants are in the office or working from home.

  2. BYOD

    Bring your own device. This is becoming increasingly common where individuals can bring their own personal devices from a home environment into a work environment, can seamlessly access shared documents, and can easily connect to the office network.

  3. Computer Telephony Integration (CTI)

    Computer telephony integration allows computers to interact with telephone systems. With CTI, users are able to immediately access details about the caller when the phone rings, route inbound calls to the right colleague, and automatically log or record calls in CRM systems.

  4. PBX

    A hosted private branch exchange (PBX) is a private telephone network to allow more phones than actual phone lines.

    Imagine having your own BT Exchange in your office which connects all your co-workers and the outside world, that’s what a PBX does for your office. This can make it more cost-effective to make calls internally within a business, as well as allocating more control to the management of call transfers, voicemails and call queuing processes.

  5. VoIP

    Voice over Internet Protocol, or often referred to as VoIP, is most commonly used for making telephone calls through the internet rather than a traditional phone line.

    This often means telephone handsets are no longer needed because a headset and dial out from a computer can replace these. Today VoIP is used in multiple communication platforms such as WhatsApp, Skype and Google Hangouts.

  6. WebRTC

    Web-based real-time communication allows video or audio communication through a web page. WebRTC can be used for group video and voice calls. Platforms such as Google Hangouts and Facebook Messenger use WebRTC.

  7. CPaaS

    CPaaS stands for Communication Platform as a Service. CPaaS can be used by developers in cloud-based applications and features communication applications like video, messaging and voice.

    You can now have a ‘call us’ button on your website which will automatically call the Agent Queue or Hunt Group and the site visitor can speak to a real person right from your website.

  8. Softphone

    As the name suggests, a Softphone is a piece of software that allows you to dial and make calls without a traditional hardware device. A Softphone is usually associated with Voice over Internet Protocol or VoIP calls.

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Need Unified Communications?

Although our glossary doesn’t include every term used within the unified communications industry, it will certainly give you a gateway into the wonderful world of UC.

We have extensive experience in providing the right unified communications solutions suitable to each business’s unique requirements. To discuss which solutions are right for you, get in touch with our team. For advice on finding the right partner, take a look at our blog How to Choose a Unified Communications Provider.

Read how we provided Lily’s Kitchen with a cloud-based unified communications solution allowing for agile and scalable communications.


Vikas Shah
Vikas Shah

Vikas Shah joined Portman Tech as Chief Technology Officer in 2018. IT has always been his passion and he has built his career around technology. Vikas closely follows developments in technology, providing clients with solutions that fit their requirements.

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