The Essentials Series: Enhancing Retail Operations with Unified Communications

by Ken Camp


The Essentials Series: Enhancing Retail Operations with Unified Communications focuses on the importance of VoIP and other unified communications solutions in the retail segment from the perspective of both the large distributed retail organization as well as the smaller business. It explores problems with past communications technologies in the retail industry, and discusses how advances in unified communications integration provide a more competitive environment. The series closes with a look at future technologies coming to retail as part of telecommunications convergence.


Article 1: Framing the Retail Communications Problem

The first article in this series looks at past communications challenges encountered by the retail industry ranging from expensive TDM trunks to key system integration with PBXs. This discussion provides a framework for appreciating the importance of VoIP and unified communications in the dynamic retail business sector and identifies why past technology solutions can prove ineffective today.

Article 2: The Retail Challenge—Large and Small Approaches

The second article delves into specific communication similarities and differences across the retail segment. With an exploration of the needs of both a large retail chain with many stores and a small retailer with a handful of stores, this article touches on unique communications challenges within retail. The focus shifts from the first article to concentrate on how current unified communications technologies provide better choices. This article includes two real-world scenarios as examples.

Article 3: The Future of Unified Communications in Retail

The final article of the series moves beyond the technology of the past to focus on what’s really happing at present and what’s likely in the unified communications environment of the future. The content reviews the impact of adopting current and emerging technologies in areas including integration of mobility solutions and new trends in technology. The introduction of Communications Enhanced Business Process (CEBP) lays the foundation for a discussion of the impact this rapidly growing evolution will have on retail as business applications and network services become more tightly coupled.