The definition of unified messaging is elusive and varying. We will define it as the means to access and retrieve all types of messages via one or more interfaces (such as computer, phone, etc.) regardless of how they arrived, whether by phone, fax, or email. Understandably, each vendor defines unified messaging in terms that correspond to their message-handling product, including the features they provide while dismissing as tangential, those they lack.
Unified messaging refers to products intended to help people better manage all their messages, be it voice, text, or fax. Unified messaging will not reduce the number of messages, but will centralize them allowing for the same quantity of communications to be received, reviewed, and responded to in less time. Likewise, unified messaging will not reduce information overload, but will better organize the information as well as facilitate access. Here are vendors who offer unified messaging capability:
Amtelco’s Infinity system combines integrated voice processing, automated outbound dialing, unified text and voice messaging, multiple dispatch options, full-featured directories, on-call scheduling, complete Web and wireless connectivity, and detailed management and billing reporting in a single platform. Infinity includes message dispatch functions and can automatically send messages to virtually any device. This includes pagers, fax, email, mobile phone text messages, and phone calls. In addition, Infinity can send both text and voice messages to clients using Infinity’s unified messaging gateway.
Amtelco’s eVoiceLink application makes it easy to retrieve both voice messages and text messages using any personal computer connected to the Internet. eVoiceLink can transmit messages to any email address using the industry-standard SMTP protocol. Recipients can receive, reply to, or forward their text and voice messages as they would any email message.
Text and voice messages are sent automatically from Infinity through eVoiceLink to the recipient’s email address. Text is included as the body of the email message. The voice message is attached to the message as a .WAV file.
CenturiSoft specializes in unified communications solutions offering an integrated email, fax, and voice system that can reduce communication expenses. The Centuri Messenger provides the features of stand-alone systems at a fraction of the cost. By combining non-realtime (voicemail and messaging) with realtime (follow-me, call screening, bridging, conferencing, and ACD) together in one package, Centuri Messenger is able to achieve flexibility in one system instead of using multiple systems to work together. With Centuri Messenger, users continue using their preferred email program and can receive emails, faxes, and voicemail messages from one place.
Centuri Messenger features include:
- Receive fax and voicemails on line with no phone charges.
- Virtual receptionist lets users screen calls by schedule.
- Optional disaster recovery is built-into every system.
- “Tap” record conversations on demand.
- Conferencing capabilities.
- Schedule conferences and telephone meetings.
- Transfer callers to ACD systems seamlessly.
- Provide switch capabilities without the expense of a switch.
- Access account information via the Web.
- Optional voice over IP (VoIP) access.
Contact CenturiSoft at 800-866-1929 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Telescan recently received a patent on their Prism DSP digital switching platform. The patent acknowledges 22 claims to invention specifically regarding the method for processing calls from any source based on call setup and database lookup on the call. Telescan’s Spectrum Data Manager, a PC-based system, allows telemessaging companies to send messages in nearly any format the client requests, including voice, pagers, alpha pagers, email, PDAs, and cell phones. Telescan’s Spectrum System Manager allows a client’s preferred message format(s) to be programmed into the system. When a call is received, the Telescan system will automatically default to the client’s preferred message format. Backup formats can also be programmed.
[From Connection Magazine – November 2004]