Unified Communications

Unified Comms & Team Collaboration Glossary

Explore a comprehensive glossary of terms related to Team Collaboration and Unified Communications to enhance your understanding of the evolving digital workplace.
Dominic Kent
Dominic Kent is a content marketer specializing in unified communications and contact centers.
Unified Communications Glossary

Unified Comms and Team Collaboration stem from different beginnings and now contains many different examples of platform-specific jargon.

To make your lives easier, we've put together this handy glossary and even split it into sections for you to skip to. Some terms are key in more than one category but we'll spare you the duplication.

You’ll see some are highlighted – these will hyperlink away to some suggested resources for you to delve deeper into the topic.

Table of Contents

  1. Team Collaboration Glossary
  2. Unified Communications Glossary
  3. Microsoft Teams Glossary
  4. Webex Glossary
  5. Slack Glossary

Team Collaboration Glossary

API (Application Programming Interface): An API is a set of technical procedures and functions that allow an application to access the data or features of a certain system or service. For instance, Mio allows APIs from Google Chat and Microsoft Teams or Slack to talk to each other. This means that people can see and send messages across multiple platforms. APIs are at the core of a lot of cloud-based communication strategies.

Asynchronous Communication: Asynchronous communication describes the discussions and exchanges in a collaborative environment that don’t happen in real-time. For instance, when you leave a message for someone via email, you don’t expect an instant response. This is now more common thanks to platforms like Slack and Microsoft Teams - which have replaced traditional instant messaging.

DMS: DMS stands for Document Management System. This is the software that allows for safe and convenient document sharing and storage. Documents in a DMS would typically be placed in an online file system with access controlled according to specific permission settings.

Emojis: Emojis are useful ways of adding extra depth and context to your chats. Many collaboration tools, like Slack and Microsoft Teams, offer the option to add emojis and even emoji reactions to messages. Emojis range from smiley faces, weather, bells, sports, or anything you might have uploaded 🥳😲🔥🔔  

Federation: When teams require conversations outside of their organization, federation is required to connect external domains. This functionality originally existed for Skype for Business users to connect with Skype for Business users in vendor/partner relationships. As more companies adopt team collaboration tools, federation not just between organizations, but across platform is desired more and more.

GPL: GPL is a term used to refer to General Public License. General Public Licenses allow the end users in an environment to run, study, modify, and share pieces of software. Typically, each vendor publishes a GPL. For example, Mio is live on the Cisco GPL.

Interoperability: Interoperability refers to the process of helping multiple systems or software solutions work seamlessly together.

Typically, in team collaboration, we refer to video interoperability or messaging interoperability.

Video interoperability refers to combining two video platforms, like Microsoft Teams and Cisco Webex, and making a conversation from one platform to another. This is usually achieved via a third party.

Messaging interoperability is the process of making two messaging platforms—like Google Chat and Microsoft Teams—work together without each participant having to leave their platform. Functionality and messages are created on one platform and replicated on the other.

KM: KM is short for knowledge management. It refers to the processes, tools, and methods used by a company to capture, store, and make information more accessible to business users. Knowledge can exist in a variety of digital formats, including videos and messages.  

Message field: The message field in a collaboration app is where you can type and send messages in direct messages and channels.

Message retention and deletion: Different collaboration tools will hold onto your messages for specific lengths of time. You can have all of your messages deleted in some cases, or you may need to ensure that your collaboration app is storing messages for compliance reasons.  

Screen sharing: Screen sharing allows people in a video call or audio call to share their screens with other participants. On certain clients, you can annotate the screen or drawn on it to pull attention to certain areas.  

Search: Search is a function in your collaboration app that allows you to track down specific files or messages using keywords.  

S4B: S4B or SFB is another way to refer to Skype for Business. Skype for Business was the primary collaboration tool provided by Microsoft. This has largely been superseded by Microsoft Teams. In fact, Microsoft has started to enforce automatic upgrades from Skype for Business to Microsoft Teams.

Single sign-on: Single sign-on is a process that allows someone to enter their name and password from one system, like Okta or Google, to access an account in a collaboration tool without needing credentials.  

Two-factor authentication: Two-factor authentication or 2FA is a security preference that businesses can use to protect their collaboration apps. This setting requires users to use their original authentication method - and an alternative - to sign in to an account.

WebRTC: Short for Web Real-Time Communication, WebRTC is a common open-source project that appears in team collaboration apps. Through WebRTC, companies can access real-time peer-to-peer conversations through video, voice, and chat.

Unified Comms Glossary

Anywhere Worker: An anywhere worker is another name for a remote or mobile employee. It’s someone who doesn’t necessarily need to be in an office to be productive. These people can carry out career-related tasks on any device from any environment. Anywhere workers can contribute to single virtual teams or work as freelance contractors.

As-a-Service: As-a-service solutions allow companies to access the tools they need through the cloud, as a service. This means that businesses can buy the number of features or licenses they need without oversubscribing to things that aren’t right for their employees. For example, UCaaS (Unified Comms as-a-Service) is a method of consuming UC without buying components that will not serve the majority of a business.

Availability: Availability refers to the probability of a hardware failure that can occur in team collaboration conferencing tools, UC services, and contact center solutions. The higher the availability of your service, the better protected you are from outages.  

BYOD (Bring Your Own Device): As employees continue to look for more freedom in the way that they work, many companies allow employees to use personal devices, like PCs, smartphones, and tablets, within a business network. BYOD requires a specific policy to ensure that team members are using the network safely. That often means developing a formal BYOD strategy. Your BYOD strategy might involve only allowing employees to download certain apps or use different numbers for personal and work-based calls.  

Click to Call: Click to call is a common component of many UC clients today. If you need to upgrade your conversation with a team member from instant chat to video or voice, you’d just click a button. This also refers to dialling out from a contact card in a CRM.

Computer Telephony Integration:  Computer Telephony Integration, or CTI, is a solution that enables the communication between phones and computers. CTI is common in contact centers. These systems allow for the use of tools like click-to-call services and screen pops. Screen pops provide instant information to agents during a contact center conversations.

Conference Calling: Conference calling allows multiple people to participate in a conversation at the same time. Conference calls started as audio-only solutions for communication. Today, UC apps allow for conference calls that include everything from video to instant messaging, and even screen and document sharing.

Endpoint: In the collaboration landscape, an endpoint refers to a telephone, softphone, video camera, analog phone adapter, or conference phone. It’s virtually any hardware device that you can receive a call on.

HD Voice: The term HD refers to high definition. An HD voice call offers a higher quality level of audio than an SD (standard definition) call. Most HD Voice calls are classified by their use of high-bandwidth codecs like g.722. This allows for the delivery of life-like or in-person clarity.

IM&P: Stands for Instant Messaging and Presence. This term refers to the capability to chat in real-time over a UC client and see the availability or status (presence) of the other person in a single or group chat.

Integration: Integration refers to the ability to combine one tool with another. For instance, Slack can integrate with Salesforce, allowing people to access information from within their Salesforce app, inside of the Slack interface.  

Jabber: Jabber is the original instant messenger and calling client released by Cisco. Jabber enables visibility of contact availability for messaging, as well as voice and video conferencing. It has largely been superseded by Cisco’s flagship collaboration product, Cisco Webex.  

On-Premises: While many UC solutions are delivered via the cloud, there are still on-premises solutions too. On-premises UC solutions involve the hosting of all hardware within the premises that requires the communications equipment.

Session Border Controller: A Session Border Controller, or SBC, is a device typically deployed to register, secure, or manage VoIP communication sessions. With an SBC, you have more control over the multimedia conversations you have through VoIP tools.

Session Initiation Protocol (SIP): SIP, or Session Initiation Protocol, is a signaling strategy used to control video and voice calls over the internet protocol or IP. This provides companies with a cost-effective solution for unified communications.  

UCC/UC&C: UCC or UC&C is another way of saying Unified Communication and Collaboration. This refers to an integrated collection of business devices, tools, and apps for external and internal communication and collaboration. Unified Communication and Collaboration services combine calling with chat, presence, email, file sharing, screen sharing, web conferencing and more. Many UCC systems also come with integrations to other tools like CRM systems.

Unified Messaging: Unified messaging combines various forms of messaging together into the same interface, similar to UC. This means that you can access things like voicemail, video messaging, SMS, faxes, and email in the same space, from various devices.  

VoIP: Otherwise known as Voice over Internet Protocol, VoIP is a digital phone service that uses IP connections to manage calls and conversations. Through VoIP, it’s possible to send large packets of communication information over the internet, rather than sticking with the PSTN environment.  

Microsoft Teams Glossary

Calling Plan: A calling plan in Microsoft Teams is an add-on telephone service that can turn Microsoft Teams into a phone system solution in Office 365. With a calling plan, businesses can use Teams as their complete solution for collaboration and communication. Calling plans also provide users with primary business phone numbers

Channels: Channels in Microsoft Teams are topics of conversation that permit people in a team to communicate easily via instant messaging. Channels allow users to reply to posts from specific people and send text, images, and GIFs.

Connectors: Connectors in Microsoft Teams allow people in their collaboration app to access information from third-party services within their app. This information can come from environments like MailChimp, Facebook, Bing News, Twitter, and more. 

Direct Routing: Microsoft Teams direct routing is a method that Microsoft Teams users can access to bring PBX functionality into their Microsoft Teams experience. With Direct Routing, businesses can use their preferred PBX provider to access call technology. 

Live Captioning: Live captioning is a feature available from Microsoft Teams that allows people in a meeting to see what their colleagues are saying. Live captioning takes advantage of natural language processing and understanding technology. 

Microsoft 365: Microsoft 365 is a suite of productivity tools that Microsoft Teams belongs to. The Microsoft 365 environment includes access to things like Microsoft Outlook for email, Microsoft Office, and even tools like Powershell. 

Tabs: Tabs in Microsoft Teams are web pages embedded into the Microsoft Teams environment. They make it easier for employees within a team to find the information and applications they need without having to jump out of their Teams environment into a new piece of software. 

Teams: Microsoft Teams allow groups, and communities in a business to join a conversation through a custom URL or invitation sent by a Team owner or administration.  

We've compiled a list of our most used Microsoft Teams features here.

Webex Glossary

Cognitive Collaboration: Cognitive collaboration is a term introduced by Cisco that aligns intelligence, machine learning, and data with the collaborative landscape. Using innovations like smart assistants, facial recognition in meetings, and voice control, Cisco believes that it can make meetings more intelligent. 

Cisco Spark: Cisco Spark was the name of Cisco’s previous collaboration tool. In 2018, Cisco announced that Cisco Spark was going to be combined into the Cisco Webex Platform. Cisco also rebranded the rest of its Cisco Spark products to the Webex name. 

Webex Assistant: Webex Assistant is an intelligent assistant that learns about things like contact lists and calendars for each individual user to make collaboration more contextual. The Webex Assistant can automatically detect which users an employee might want to communicate with using what it has learned about the team member over time. 

Cisco Agent Desktop: Cisco Agent Desktop or CAD is a computer telephony integration solution for contact centers. It helps to increase agent productivity and enhance customer experience too. 

Facial Recognition: Facial recognition is one of the features included in Cisco’s cognitive collaboration strategy. It allows people to automatically join a meeting just by walking into a meeting room.

People Insights: In a Webex Meeting or conversation, people can access information about the other individuals that they’re communicating with through People Insights. People Insights are profiles created by Cisco that highlight important information about the attendees in a meeting. 

Webex App Hub: The Webex App Hub is an environment where you can find applications and tools that are specifically designed to integrate with your Cisco Webex experience.

Webex Devices: Cisco has a specific selection of hardware and endpoint devices that have been created for use with Cisco Webex and Meetings.  Devices include tools like the Cisco Webex Board. 

Webex Hybrid Services: Webex Hybrid Services allow businesses to bridge the gap between on-premises and cloud-based services to smooth the transition that companies make to the cloud and improve return on investment. You can integrate your cloud-based Webex client with an on-premises calling system or a variety of conferencing services.

Webex Room Kit: The Webex Room Kit is a series of tools designed to help businesses create collaborative rooms for meetings. The room kit includes things like the Webex Board - an interactive whiteboard, and conferencing tools. 

Slack Glossary

Member: Member is the term used to refer to a standard default role given to new users invited to a Slack workspace. Members can also be given other roles, like administrators. 

Mention: When you send a message including an @Mention, the person’s name that you place after the @ symbol on Slack will be notified. This is a quick way to get a specific person’s attention in a channel. 

MPIM: Stands for multi-party instant message. An MPIM is an instant message session between multiple people.

Pin: If a message on your Slack thread is important, you can choose to pin it to the top of a page or channel. You can also pin important items to the top of a direct message so you and other people can access that information easily. 

Thread: A thread in Slack is a conversation consisting of an initial message and its replies. Threads are used to move a conversation from the main body of the channel to its own space.

Theme: On Slack, you can change the appearance of your collaboration app by selecting a theme. Your theme choice will affect how your messages appear on your PC or app, but not how Slack looks for other team members, unless you’re an admin. 

User groups: User groups on Slack are a way to capture the attention of a lot of people in one go. When you mention the display name of a group, such as @techteam, you can notify everyone in the group in one go. 

Workspace: A Workspace is the term used to refer to the Slack environment you create for the people that you work with. You can invite people to join your Slack Workspace using a unique Workspace URL. 

Workspace admin: A workspace admin is a role type in Slack. Admins can manage things like channels, members, and other administrative functions, to keep your Slack workspace running smoothly. 

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