Unified Messaging (UM) vs. Unified Communications (UC)

Unified Messaging has been around for about 20 years. A general definition would be something like “Unified Messaging allows you to access all kinds of messages i.e., voice, email, fax, etc. across all types of devices i.e., desk telephone, computer, cellphone, etc.”

For our purposes UM usually means you can manage (receive, listen, and reply) to your voice mails on your computer, tablet, or smartphone via some kind of email delivery or integration. The specific capabilities vary depending on the implementation or platform but the primary goal is convenient and timely message delivery regardless of where you are.

Unified Communications expands dramatically on this concept!

Think of it as the intersection of Caller ID and your current availability, or “presence”. We all know what Caller ID is and how useful it can be for deciding how and when to answer a call. But what happens when we are not where the call and it’s corresponding Caller ID information are? Voice mail is what usually happens. Then a game of phone tag that usually results in a lack of contact in about 70% of all attempts.

UC gives us the ability to manage all of our calls on all our devices, wherever we are.  Using “profiles” we are able to make simple rules that route calls intelligently based on the caller and our current “presence” i.e., where we are and what we are doing. Important callers can be delivered to us regardless, others may be provided a choice based on how urgent it is, while unrecognized callers will be given voice mail so that we can reply if and when we choose.

Many systems allow you to manually set your presence like the in/out board at the front desk but getting people to use those can be like herding cats.  Presence should be automatic like an executive secretary who knows where you are at or what you are doing. This is what I call “Rich Presence”.

This results in a higher call completion rate and a quicker response when the call is not completed. This saves time for everyone  involved, saving money and improving productivity.

NEC’s Unified Communications for Business (UCB) with Rich Presence knows if you have a meeting on your Outlook calendar, it even knows if you are at your desk or not by watching your telephone, mouse, and keyboard for activity!


Want to learn more about Unified Messaging and Unified Communications and see how you can use them for your business?



How to lease a business telephone system.

Business Telephone Leasing 101

There are typically two types of leases: FBO (fixed buyout) and FMV (fair market value):

FBO leases are usually dollar buyout or 10% and are considered a purchase instead of a rental. The purchase may qualify for a section 179 deduction and be directly expensed, if not you usually have to expense it on a depreciation schedule. This type of lease can FMV leases are usually considered a rental lease and may provide tax advantages as all the payments and taxes can be directly expensed. This type of lease cannot have a known buyout amount. The buyout is calculated as the “fair market value” of the equipment at the end of the lease term. It is usually 15-20% of the original purchase price. Keep in mind that the leasing company probably doesn’t want you to return your old equipment so the buyout amount may be negotiable.

At the end of the lease you can return the equipment, extend the lease, upgrade the equipment and rewrite the lease, or buy out the lease. Returning the equipment is usually not your best choice either, it is usually worth more than the buyout and an upgrade can improve your system while still preserving much of the original investment.

Our leasing companies are very flexible and will also lease other things like furniture, computers, etc. with or without a communications system purchase. They can also provide custom leases with varying terms and payments so please let us know of your special requirements.

We are not accountants or tax professionals and provide this as a general terms explanation. Only your accountant can tell you what kind of lease is best for you, please consult with them.