Communication in the work place has undergone tremendous changes because of the many innovations in telecommunication industry. The old and the new systems have many similarities, so it is important we provide some distinction between several common telecommunication systems that are used in modern day workplace.
Unified communication is a system which brings together real time communication services such as presence information, telephony, video conferencing, call control etc together with non-real time communication services such as unified messaging, which includes such services as e-mail, SMS and fax, and integrates them together to give rise to a one wider network of communication services ( Kularatna 2004). Unified messaging on the other hand is an element within the larger unified communication system. It refers to a single integrated mail box where voice mail and email comes together ( Stavroulakis 2001). The users of this system are able to retrieve email, voicemail and fax messages from a single inbox which can be accessed from any location by use of a phone, computer or mobile device ( Kularatna 2004). Important to note is that despite the closer similarity between the two terms, they are distinct. The first distinction is that while unified communication is a wider network of integrated communication services which can integrate more modes (real and non-real time), unified messaging is a subset of unified communication which is involved with non-real time messaging only. Unified communication allows one to interchange between one mode of communication to another without having to leave one interface for example one could using instant messaging and then receive a video conferencing call on the same interface ( Kularatna 2004).
In communication one can either chose to use the traditional phone system (PSTN) which uses circuit switching, or use the modern voice over internet protocol (VoIP) which uses packet switching to connect the network ( Kularatna 2004). The first distinction between the two is in terms of cost. Circuit switching is expensive as the lines are dedicated to an individual since it’s not possible to use the line when other people are using it. Stavroulakis (2001) says this is what makes international calls to be expensive as dedication implies an individual is renting the line at that particular time. Packet switching which uses VoIP is cheap as many people can use the network at the same time hence no dedication of time is required, hence the cost is shared. Despite circuit switching being old fashioned and expensive it is more reliable than packet switching ( Stavroulakis 2001). This is because when one obtains a dedicated session on circuit switching, one is assured of getting all the information across as it is not affected by network problems. Packet switching on the other hand is prone to network congestion because the network is always open for other services, which can lead to delays of packet loss ( Stavroulakis 2001).
WiMax and WiFi are two broad band technologies which look similar yet they are distinct since they differ in technical execution and coverage ( Kularatna 2004). WiFi is a widely deployed broadband technology while WiMax is still in the innovation stage ( Kularatna 2004).
However, the main distinction between the two is in coverage area; while WiFi is used to provide connection to a limited area such as a home or office, WiMax if implemented will provide broadband connectivity to wide a wide coverage area. WiMax operates from a central location to supply connection to locations within its network coverage area. (Yao et al. 2003) compares WiMax it to a mobile phone service and WiFi to a cordless phone service.
PBX which facilitates communication between different offices as it acts a localized phone system which requires three or four digits only to make a call ( Kularatna 2004). Centrex is also a phone system with the difference being that Centrex is provided and installed by the providing telephone company, while, PBX hardware is installed by the organization (Yao et al. 2003). With PBX the switchboard equipment is within the organization while Centrex switch equipment is located at the telephone providers company (Yao et al. 2003). Centrex is a better choice, since an organization does not have to purchase the hardware equipment hence making it cheap. Centrex also has another advantage over PBX because you can make extension calls to a far distance.
911 and E911 are emergency phone service numbers which a user can use toll free. However, there is a distinction because 911 is a basic while E911 is upgraded service of 911. E911 is advanced and it enables the dispatcher at the emergency department to identify the caller location and call back number (Yao et al 2003). E911 is a good technology for it the call is disconnected before information is relayed the dispatcher can call back or send rescue to the identified location (Yao et al. 2003).
Advancement in telecommunications technology has enabled increased communication in the work place. Services like Unified communication has made it easier for a manager to be attending a business conference at attend at an office meeting at the same time through video conferencing.
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Stavroulakis, P. (2001). Third generation mobile telecommunication systems: UMTS and IMT-
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Yao, D. D., &, Doshi, B. T. (2003).Telecommunication Systems. Waltham, MA:Technical