Unified Messaging: Anytime, Anywhere, On Any Device
What is Unified Messaging?
Unified Messaging is the natural evolution of electronic mail - it is messaging for the 21st century. But it is also more than that. It is part of a general convergence in the world of communications, that is drawing together the telephone network, the data network, and the wireless network into a single, seamlessly connected environment that people use to communicate. Its an extension of the traditional store and forward messaging network to integrate with new methods of communication, like Voice over IP, Instant Messaging and Collaborative technologies. It is a natural consequence of the convergence all communications towards the Internet - both real-time and store and forward.
Unified Messaging can be defined as:
Unified Messaging: Communicating in the 21st Century
Lotus Unified Messaging Strategy
According to International Data Corporation (IDC), the deployment of unified messaging will grow from 35,000 mailboxes in 1998 to 25.4 million by 2003, turning it from a $7.6 million market to a $1.9 billion one in the same time frame. Over the same period annual shipments of smart handheld devices will grow from 6.6 million to 35 million, outselling portable PCs, and the number of cellular phone subscribers will grow to half a billion.
In recognition of this expanding opportunity and its associated business challenges, Lotus will leverage its expertise in messaging and collaboration to make Lotus Domino the heart of a family of enhanced solutions combining voice telephony, wireless data, fax, and messaging with business applications and enterprise application integration to deliver a complete enterprise portal, available to users via a PC, the Web, a telephone or a wireless device.
By combining multimedia messaging and real-time communication in a single infrastructure, and supporting multiple mechanisms for retrieving and managing all types of messages, Lotus and its partners are already delivering anywhere, anytime communications, from any device. Users can view their inbox on a smartphone or PDA, listen to their e-mail from any telephone, manage voice messages on their PCs, have faxes delivered to their single electronic mailbox, and be alerted to urgent voice or e-mail messages via their pagers or mobile phones. The world leading message management tools of Notes and Domino, such as filtering, automatic processing, delegation and archiving, provide the critical tools that users need to manage these messages. Customers with a Lotus Notes and Domino infrastructure are already being offered the opportunity to advance from plain old e-mail to 21st Century Messaging.
The demand for such unified messaging solutions will be increasingly fueled by the need to make organizations more responsive, make users more productive, and decrease total cost of ownership, while maximizing return on investment by consolidating the management of the voice, wireless, fax and e-mail infrastructures.
Beyond this, Lotus will expand these capabilities to leverage the unified access they provide from the PC, Web, telephone and wireless device, to other collaborative applications and knowledge management solutions, delivering innovative new applications to its users and reduced cost of ownership to its customers. As Domino continues to expand on its role as the portal through which end users access all forms of corporate information, whether in Domino itself, a database like DB2, an ERP system like SAP, or sitting on a legacy mainframe, these unified messaging tools will provide users with complete access to all corporate information, anytime, anywhere on any device.
To deliver these solutions and benefits, Lotus is committed to partnering with market leaders in the telephony and wireless application areas to create total solutions for the market out of best of breed components.
Unified Messaging is not a single product. Rather it is a set of capabilities which deliver broad range of user and organization benefits. All of these capabilities will not typically be provided by a single vendor, simply because of their breadth. For example, a wireless access solution requires a handheld device, a wireless data service provider, a gateway to the enterprise (via the telephone network on the Internet), a generic gateway application to map data into the appropriate format for the wireless infrastructure, and the application to be entered - as well as management tools, and server and communications hardware. Similarly simply providing telephone access to e-mail requires a telephone service, a trunk telephone connection to the enterprise, a PBX, a PC server and telephone board, a telephony user interface server, a message store containing the e-mail messages, a fax server, and perhaps also a wireless solution for notification.
Similarly, all of the potential of such unified messaging solutions will not be needed by all customers, as the nature of their business, and their corporate culture, organizational processes, application structure, and external environment, will all impact the relative priority they give to deploying the different aspects of unified messaging. Therefore desire for a component based approach, with different customers choosing to deploy different elements of unified messaging at different times in different orders, and requiring different levels of sophistication in the individual parts of the solution, places interesting challenges on unified messaging vendors.
Fortunately, the very nature of unified messaging is that it is built up highly interoperable standards. The Internet protocols provide the foundation of unified messaging, and a basic platform for interoperability. The telephone network is proven to be interoperable. The wireless world is focused on converging on WAP as a single interoperable standards. Electronic mail has been made globally interoperable through SMTP/MIME. And the use of a robust messaging infrastructure as the basic building block for unified messaging solutions permits different components from different vendors to interoperate with each other very simply, coming together to provide a single solution to the user.
Even beyond that, Lotus Domino offers not only a messaging server, but a collaborative server and an enterprise integration point through which all back-end data can be presented to its employees, making it possible to extend these component solutions over time to offer a true enterprise portal server, the foundation for a corporate intranet which can give access to any user, anytime, anywhere on any device.
But customers don't want to be given a set of building blocks by different vendors and be left to figure out how to put them together to solve their business problems. They want solutions that work.
So Lotus is committed to partnering closely with the organizations that hold the key components to that total solution: with the telephone vendors who can integrate it into the telephone network and corporate PBXs; with the wireless networks that enable access; with the device vendors creating the next generation of smart handheld device; with the hardware vendors who build the systems on which these solutions run; with the board vendors who make the computer telephony integration hardware; with the systems integrators who put together total solutions for large customers; with the distributors who put packaged solutions together for the market; with the value added resellers who deliver solutions for the vast small to medium business segment; and with the service providers who deliver solutions to small businesses and consumers that do not want to administer their own.
Lotus will work with these companies in two critical ways:
Unified Messaging: What Can It Do For Me?
Unified Messaging is not a single product, or even a group of products. Rather it is a set of capabilities which can be delivered in addition to basic e-mail.
Unified Messaging can be summed up as offering access to any message, at anytime, anywhere via any device.
Access to any message, anytime, anywhere from any device
Unified Messaging Technical Overview
Unified Messaging is simply the next logical step. It is the next step in messaging, now that enterprises have replaced their legacy or file-share e-mail systems with a robust messaging infrastructure, like Domino, which can be used as a platform for many messaging and collaborative applications. And the next step for the intranet, which has made all corporate applications and data available to all users through a common interface (the web browser), is now ready to extend that access to wireless devices and the telephone - creating an enterprise portal that is available anywhere, anytime on any device.
Unified Messaging is one application of the following fundamental concepts:
The Benefits of Unified Messaging
The following are some of the key benefits of applying Unified Messaging to an organization, and how they are achieved:
Unified Messaging solutions for Lotus Notes & Domino
Lotus offers the following products to extend the capabilities of Notes & Domino for unified messaging:
Unified Messaging Capabilities Checklist
The following are some of the key capabilities offered by Unified Messaging solutions, to help when comparing different products and figuring out the set of products required to implement the desired solution:
Unified Messaging Glossary
AMIS-A: A standard protocol allowing one voicemail server to forward voicemail messages to another over an analogue telephone line (AMIS Analog).
AMIS-D: A standard protocol allowing one voicemail server to forward voicemail messages to another over an X.400 network (AMIS Digital).
API: Application Programming Interface.
Application Programming Interface: The interface an application program uses to talk to some sort of service infrastructure, such as messaging (typically defined by a single vendor to provide access to their own infrastructure, but occasionally standardized).
Attachment: A PC file which is attached to an e-mail message by a sender, and may be detached and used by the recipient (as long as they have the application the sender used to create it).
Auto Attendant: The application within a voicemail or unified messaging system which takes interacts with external callers to take messages.
Bandwidth: A measure of the amount of data a communications link can exchange. For example, the evolution of modem technology from 2400 bad to 9600 baud to 14.4Kbps to 28.8Kbps to 56Kbps, represents a steady increase in supported bandwidth (i.e. faster connections).
Bluetooth: A wireless technology designed to connect two local devices (like a PDA and cellular phone, or PDA and PC, or PC and cellular phone) instead of connecting a cable between the two devices.
Call Control: The process of controlling a user's telephone by interacting with the telephony infrastructure - either through a local connection to the telephony, or a server connection to the PBX. For example, call control might allow a user to select a telephone number or distribution list on their PC screen and have a telephone call or conference call set up with that user/those users.
Circuit Switched: A form of networking where a permanent connection is created between the originator and recipient at the start of a call, and preserved until the call ends. In modern networks, circuit switching simply controls the way a session is presented to the application at each end - almost all network data actually flows internally via packet switching today.
Client: A program running in a device used by a user (e.g. a laptop PC or Smart Phone) which implements some application by accessing a server over some network and using data retrieved from it to provide some application for use by the user (e.g. an e-mail client or a unified messaging client).
Computer Telephone Integration: A mechanism to allow an application to control the operation of the telephone network (e.g. for call setup from a directory, or automatic routing to an available agent, or "screen popping" to tell the recipient of a call information about the caller). Typically this is performed either via over a serial cable connecting the server to the PBX, or via a board in the server that connects to a digital port on the PBX.
CTI: Computer Telephone Integration.
Data Store: A server application which store information and delivers them on request to clients (after appropriate authorization checks and data translation has been performed.
Domino: The Lotus messaging server which can perform either or both of the functions of a message store and MTA. When implementing a message store it can also optionally allow users with Web Browsers to access their messages from their browser without requiring an e-mail client.
Dual Tone Multi-Frequency (DTMF): The technical name for the tones which are heard when a telephone number is dialled, typically used to allow users to interact with voicemail or the TUI in a Unified Messaging system.
DTMF: Dual Tone Multi-Frequency.
E-Mail: Shorthand for Electronic Mail.
E-Mail Client: The piece of software that interacts with a user on their PC in order to access their messages in a message store. Most clients are able to manage a local store of messages after retrieving them, as well as providing access to messages on the message store.
Electronic Mail: An application of messaging which moves text messages (plan or with some associated formatting) and file attachments between two users, or an application and a user.
Emoticons: Graphical symbols embedded in textual e-mail messages to give an indication of the emotional meaning behind the text, as an substitute of vocal inflections or facial expressions. For example, :-) to indicate a grin or humor.
Enterprise Portal: A portal to the intranet, rather than the Internet. By using intranet based applications running on a server such as Lotus Domino, users can not only reach web sites within their enterprise, but also information from a variety of databases, ERP packages or legacy systems.
Enterprise Resource Planning: ERP packages integrated a range of business functions into a single closely integrated solution set which could run all aspects of an enterprises business. These solutions are evolving towards enterprise integration - linking together all of the applications in an enterprise, while complementary messaging and collaboration servers such as Lotus Domino deliver a unified view of corporate information to the employees. Hence it is not surprising that there are tools available to closely integrate many ERP solutions with collaboration and messaging servers.
ERP: Enterprise Resource Planning.
Extranet: An extended intranet linked across multiple partner enterprises, giving closed, controlled access to information between enterprises.
Hands Free Operation: The ability to drive a voicemail application via spoken commands instead of by pressing keys, originally developed to allow safer use of voicemail when driving.
Handheld Device Markup Language: A variant of HTML defined to support lower function devices connected over lower bandwidth wireless connections. To be replaced over time by WML.
HDML: Handheld Device Markup Language.
HTML: Hypertext Markup Language.
IETF: Internet Engineering Task Force, the technical body which defines the protocols used in the Internet.
IM: Instant Messaging.
Instant Messaging: A mechanism for sending short text messages immediately between two Instant Messaging clients. The use of real time communications between the two clients means that the message is displayed as soon as the sender has finished typing it.
Integrated Messaging: A solution which combines separate e-mail and voicemail message stores to deliver many of the capabilities of Unified Messaging to the end user. However the system administrators still need to manage two separate messaging infrastructures, and the degree of integration provided to the user varies with different implementations.
Interactive Voice Response: IVR is a traditional CTI application which allows users on the telephone to enter DTMF tones to retrieve information, which might then be read to them, faxed to them, etc. Most unified messaging solutions for the telephone network have associated toolkits to allow you to extend the facilities offered to callers to include most traditional IVR functions.
Internet: A worldwide set of interconnected networks that all use the IETF's Internet Protocols to ensure interoperability even though they are run by different organizations using hardware and software from different vendors.
Internet Telephony: Any system which allows traditional telephony to interwork with the Internet, including PSTN/VoIP gateways, CTI, etc.
Intranet: An internal corporate network running the same TCP/IP protocols upon which the public Internet is built, allowing a high degree of interoperability between different devices and applications deployed, and a high level of interworking with other enterprises using the same protocols, and with the public Internet.
IP: Internet Protocol, part of TCP/IP - the lower level carrier protocols on which the public Internet and corporate intranets are built.
IVR: Interactive Voice Response.
Mail Reader: A telephony application which provides just access to e-mail from the telephone rather than full unified messaging, but which is typically quicker and easier to deploy.
Message Store: The end point servers within a messaging solution which hold the messages and makes them available for access from messaging clients and applications through a variety of protocols (implemented as a specific kind of data store).
Messaging: A mechanism for moving data objects (e.g. text messages, voicemail messages, files, or other streams of data) between two entities (e.g. e-mail clients, voicemail servers or other applications) in a "store and forward" manner - that is using a series of servers which will each hold onto a message until the next server or entity is available, thus removing the need for a real time connection between the originator and recipient, but also introducing an unknown delay into the transmission process. See also Messaging Infrastructure.
Messaging Infrastructure: An implementation of a number of messaging servers and clients which together provide a messaging service within an enterprise or service provider network. The infrastructure typically provides an e-mail service for the users, and may also support other forms of messaging (e.g. voicemail), and interfaces to other applications (e.g. so an order processing system can send notifications of shipment).
Message Transfer Agent: A messaging server which relays messages to another messaging server (MTA or message store).
Microbrowser: A small application which can execute in a smart phone or PDA which connects over a wireless or telephone line to a server application which retrieves and formats data on its behalf and them transmits the compressed result for display. This allows such devices to run sophisticated application without needing many resources in the device. Microbrowsers typically accept data in the HDML or WML formats.
Mobile Worker: An employee who spends a significant amount of their time away from the office.
MTA: Message Transfer Agent.
Multimedia Messaging: The ability to send and receive other than simple text and attachments from an e-mail client, for example allowing voice messages, images or video clips to be embedded within a message, as they often are on a Web page, instead of being sent in a separate attachment.
Notes: The Lotus collaborative and messaging client running on a user's PC (or Mac).
Packet Switched: A form of networking where there is no permanent connection but the data to be transmitted over the network is split up into "packets" and each is transmitted independently across the network via any available route, to be reassembled at the other end.
Paging: A service which allows short text messages to be sent to a small, personal device for the purpose of alerting the user to some piece of information or notifying them of some event. Two way paging services also allow the user to respond with an acknowledgement or a short text message. This is one form of wireless messaging.
PBX: Private Branch Exchange.
PDA: Personal Digital Assistant.
Personal Assistant: A specific application of voice recognition to allow a user to perform typical personal productivity applications over the telephone, such as checking their messages, dialling a user by name, making appointments, etc.
Personal Digital Assistant: a "sub PC" device which cannot run complete PC application suites and is focused on providing personal productivity applications for users. Some such devices are stand alone (typically with a cable to connect to a PC/modem), some provide a wireless interface (internally or through a plug in card) and some are actually built into cellular phones. The size of the screen and memory, and so the sophistication of the applications they can run, vary widely. Today even the most simple device can typically run a "microbrowser", while at the other extreme are devices almost as powerful (and as large) as a full PC.
Portal: A single access point to information, typically customized to the user, which was invented to tame the diversity of the public internet by giving users a route to the information they were looking for. The first generation portals where accessed via web browsers, however the portal is a generic concept which will also be accessed in future from wireless devices and the telephone.
Private Branch Exchange: A telephone switch which connects a set of telephones within an organization to the PSTN.
Protocol: The definition of the data sent across a network to allow some application program uses to talk to server (e.g. providing the messaging infrastructure). Protocols are typically standardized by an impartial industry forum, a process critical to product interoperability.
PSTN: Public Switched Telephone Network.
Public Switched Telephone Network: The traditional telephone network used to connect every telephone, fax machine, modem and PBX in the world to each other for "circuit switched" calls.
RAID: Redundant Array of Inexpensive Disks - a technique for ensuring that servers do not fail and data is not lost when disk errors occur by grouping together as set of disks and recording redundant data across the set. This will typically allow an application to continue running if a disk should fail (though it is essential that the disks are monitored and the fault disk replaced before a second fails).
Real time: Communication between two entities in which data is exchanged quickly with acknowledgements (as opposed to Store and Forward). Also called synchronous communications.
Short Message Service: A facility of cellular phones using the GSM standard worldwide to send short text messages between each other, or to/from some computer application (also available on some PCS services in the United States). One form of Wireless Messaging.
Smart Phone: A telephone which also contains a computer to provide data services (typically including the functionality of a PDA). Smart phones may be based on a cellular phone and user wireless communications, or a conventional telephone and use the PSTN.
SMS: Short Message Service.
Store and Forward: Communication between two entities which does not require that both application be running and available at the same time as some third entity will hold on to the data until the recipient becomes available. Any acknowledgements are similar stored until the originator is ready to receive them back. Also called asynchronous communications.
TCP/IP: The lower level Internet Protocols on which the public Internet and corporate intranets are built.
Telephony User Interface: A server application which connects through a telephony board to a PBX or the PSTN to receive telephone calls, interact with the user, and implement voicemail on top of the messaging infrastructure. Three basic applications are provided by a TUI: The Auto Attendant, which takes voicemail messages from external callers, the Voicemail Application, which allows users to interact with their electronic mailbox via the telephone, and Call Control, which allows PC users to control their physical telephone via a PC interface (e.g. requesting that a voice message in the e-mail client is played to them via the telephone).
Teleworker: An employee whose normal place of work is no an office building but some remote location - such as a home worker. These employees are typically connected to their employers place of work only over the telephone network.
Text To Speech: The conversion of a piece of text, such as an e-mail, into an audible form which can be played down the telephone to the caller. Advanced TTS applications should automatically recognize the language used (when it is not explicitly indicated) and identify the use of acronyms (such as IBM) versus words (such as Lotus). A TTS process for use with e-mail should also strip the e-mail headers which the user does not wish to hear, understand the structure of messages (e.g. a reply with the original message attached, or embedded as a quote, or a meeting notice within an e-mail) and support common e-mail "emoticons" (such as ":-)") and abbreviations (such as IMHO for "in my humble opinion").
TTS: Text To Speech.
TTS Engine: An generic application which renders test into audible form. It is typically surrounded with an application which is specific to the activity being performed (e.g. e-mail processing) and understands the specialist semantics of that environment, transforming the text as appropriate before submitting it to the TTS engine.
Touch-tone: A commercial name use by AT&T for the use of DTMF tones.
TUI: Telephony User Interface.
TCP/IP. Transmission Control Protocol/Internet Protocol. The low level protocol defined by the IETF to be used to create the Internet.
UM: Unified Messaging.
Unified Communications: An extension to Unified Messaging to embrace forms of real time communications (that are not therefore strictly messaging), such as call management, Instant Messaging and Voice over IP conversations.
Unified Messaging: A solution bringing together electronic mail, fax and voice messaging into a single message store, using a single directory, and accessed by a common set of clients - delivering the user with access to any message, anytime, anywhere on any device.
Universal Messaging: The ability to participate in the total worldwide messaging infrastructure independent of the type of access device and network the originator or recipient might choose to use.
Voice over IP: The transmission of voice calls, as would normally happen over the telephone, over TCP/IP based networks, such as the Internet.
VoIP: Voice over IP.
Voicemail: A fallback mechanism implemented by a server to which real time telephone calls are routed when the recipient is not available in order to give the originator the option of turning their real time call into a store and forward call.
Voicemail Application: The functionality provided by a TUI which allows a user to interact with their electronic mailbox via the telephone, listening to their voicemail, having their e-mail read to them, forwarding e-mails and faxes to a fax machine, etc.
Voice Recognition: The technique of capturing the human voice and analyzing it to extract commands or instructions, or to generate text.
VPIM: Voice Profile for Internet Messaging.
Voice Profile for Internet Messaging (VPIM): A standard protocol allowing one voicemail server to forward voicemail messages to another over the Internet or a corporate intranet. The current standard is version 2 (v2).
Wireless: A generic term referring to various communications technologies which typically use radio transmissions to communicate instead of requiring a physical connection (wire). In the wide area most (though not all) such technologies are based on the cellular phone, and this is the primary meaning of the term within this document, however other wireless technologies exist for local connectivity - e.g. to replace a conventional Local Area Network (a wireless LAN), or to replace an even simpler local, point to point wired connection (e.g. Bluetooth).
Wireless Access: The ability to access some application, such as messaging, over a wireless connection from some device, e.g. a Smart Phone or PDA.
Wireless Data: A generic name for all applications which transfer electronic data (rather than voice conversations) over the wireless network. Increasingly these solutions are converging on TCP/IP as a transport mechanism to allow interoperability with the Internet and intranets.
Wireless Messaging: Any service which allows messages to be sent over a wireless connection to a cellular phone, pager, Smart Phone or PDA carried by a user. In many cases the user can also reply with an acknowledgement or response.
Wireless Synchronization: The ability to use a wireless network to exchange data between a PDA or Smart Phone and a server application such that the data stored in each place is kept synchronized. That is, changes made in one place get automatically replicated to the other when synchronization occurs. This requires a pair of synchronization applications, one at each end of the wireless connection.
Wireless Markup Language: A replacement for HDML which is defined by the WAP Forum.
Wireline: Used to differentiate a conventional telephone connection, as opposed to a wireless one.
WML: Wireless Markup Language.
WAP: Wireless Access Protocol - defined by the WAP Forum.
WAP Forum: A vendor independent forum which defines a number of protocols which are used to allow smart handheld devices with a wireless connection to communicate with applications on the Internet or a corporate intranet (see www.wapforum.org).
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