From VoIP to BYOD to IM&P, the jargon used in the world of Unified Communications and Collaboration can seem like an alphabet soup of acronyms. Whether you’re looking for a new phone system or researching tools to support a growing remote workforce, our Unified Communications glossary of common UC&C acronyms below can help you better navigate the sea of UC products and vendors.


Analog Telephone Adapter: device that allows standard phones to connect to an IP-based (VoIP) phone system.


Busy Lamp Field: Indicator light on a business phone that allows you to monitor the status of other lines in your phone system.


Bring Your Own Bandwidth: Situation when the circuit for VoIP connectivity is provided through a different carrier than the hosted voice carrier. In this setup, the VoIP provider cannot guarantee Quality of Service.


Bring Your Own Device: Situation when employees are allowed to use their personally-owned mobile device (e.g. smartphone, tablet, laptop) to connect to and access their company’s business data and systems.


Enhanced Nine One One: The system used in North America to link wireless emergency caller locations to emergency services. Note: While mobile phones can use cell tower information and GPS data to help triangulate your location, VoIP calls can bring challenges to e911 location tracking since they originate over the network from a non-physical IP address; read our e911 for Business VoIP Phones post to learn how to ensure access to emergency services from your business VoIP phone system.

GigE-Capable Phone

Gigabit Ethernet Phone: Business IP phone that can utilize a Gigabit Ethernet connection (speeds up to 1000 Mbps), which allows faster data and voice packet traffic to both your desktop and your phone for improved efficiency. Not sure if your business needs GigE capable phones? Read our post on GigE capable business phones to learn more.

HD Voice

High Definition Voice: Phones that utilize high-bandwidth codecs (such as g.722) to deliver audio quality with greater “life-like” clarity than standard phones.

Hosted PBX

Hosted Private Branch Exchange: A telephone system that is built, maintained, and managed by a service provider.


Instant Messaging & Presence: Business communications tool that provides live chat messaging capability and availability status indicators (e.g. showing whether someone is “available”, “away” or in “do not disturb” mode).


Internet Protocol: Method by which data is sent between devices over a network.

IP Phone

Internet Protocol Phone: A telephone (also known as a VoIP phone) that digitally transmits a call over the network.


Public Switched Telephone Network / “Plain Old Telephone Service”: The international public telephone infrastructure based on landlines that carry analog voice data.


Quality of Service: The measurement of voice quality experienced by end users on a telephony network. Also describes the mechanisms used by service providers to guarantee voice quality.


Shared Call Appearance: Allows multiple devices to be assigned to the same account and phone number. Can be used to allow a user to make and receive calls using the same phone number on different phones (e.g. a phone at your office, a phone at your house and your smartphone).


Unified Communications: Integrated system of business tools, devices and apps for internal and external communication (e.g. voice, chat, presence, email, audio conferencing).


Unified Communications (and) Collaboration: Integrated system of business tools, devices and apps for internal and external communication and collaboration (e.g. voice, chat, presence, email, file sharing, screen sharing, video conferencing, web conferencing, scheduling integration, CRM integration).


Unified Communications as a Service: Cloud-based delivery of an integrated platform of hosted, managed business communications and collaboration tools.


Voice Over Internet Protocol: Phone service that uses an IP connection to make digital calls and utilizes offsite servers in the cloud to store data.