PhoneSoft FAQ
Subject:Lotus Development - Unified Messaging White Paper
Category:White Papers


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 is one application of the latest communications technologies to create a new generation of communication solutions, designed to make users more productive and organizations more responsive. It brings together all types of messages into a single data store, replacing the multiple separate infrastructures which were needed before, in a way which integrates naturally with todays Internet protocol based networking platform. It then allows user's to choose any mechanism to access their messages - not just network and Web clients, but the telephone and wireless networks as well.

Unified Messaging creates a single infrastructure for managing e-mail, voicemail and fax, and it brings together voice telephony, wireless data and internet networking to allow users to access their messages via whatever mechanisms they prefer - or is convenient for them at the time. But beyond that, once it is deployed Unified Messaging is also the first step towards providing that same flexibility for broader collaborative technologies, like discussion forums and knowledge management solutions, and for other business applications. The smart handheld wireless devices that are used to access unified messaging, can also be used to access other applications deployed on, or accessible via, the corporate intranet. The telephony integration used to allow users to access all of their messages via the telephone, can be built upon to deliver access to many other sorts of corporate information.

Unified Messaging is the first step on an inevitable journey to interconnect all forms of corporate communications, to make organizations and users more effective, and more efficient.

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Unified Messaging: Communicating in the 21st Century

- Marshall McLuhan, Understanding Media: The Extensions of Man, 1964.
Electronic messaging and associated collaborative technologies have revolutionized the way businesses are run, just as the telegraph and the telephone did before them. Time and Distance no longer limit communications. But human communications are a complex thing, and traditional electronic mail has focussed on enabling just one form of communication, text messages, while separate voicemail systems have emerged for the spoken message.

The closing years of the 20th century have also seen the rapid evolution of technology to permit the convergence of telephony and data networking over a common infrastructure provided by the Internet protocols, and at the same time the availability and quality of wireless communications has exploded. In truth, this is a not about the Internet simply replacing the Public Switched Telephone Network (PSTN), or wireless networks replacing fixed ones, but rather a number of new and exciting mixes of these technologies which are emerging to deliver new capabilities to enhance communications. The PC and the telephone need no longer be separate, disconnected devices looking after two different forms of communication, but are starting to come together and deliver new and subtle forms of richness to the way we communicate - and both devices are no longer tethered to the wall, but free to roam.

Lotus Messaging Vision

Giving Voice to Messaging

One key result of convergence is the ability to access voicemail messages from the PC, and e-mail messages from the phone. This goes under many names: Unified Messaging, Universal Messaging, Integrated Messaging and Multimedia Messaging are just some (you will find our preferred definitions of these terms in the Glossary, and explained as we go along). Unified Messaging (or UM for short) starts by providing these two new capabilities: integrating voicemail and e-mail within the messaging infrastructure, and making the ordinary telephone into an access device for that infrastructure, but goes far beyond that, as we will see. This benefits the user by giving the just one place to go for all of their messages, and the flexibility to choose how to access that place, and it benefits the administrator as they now have a single infrastructure to manage instead of two (or more).

The impact on responsiveness and productivity can be dramatic. Users can now check for urgent or important e-mail via the telephone in a 10 minute break between meetings - without having to power up a PC and connect it to the telephone network. They can check for e-mail messages from their cellular phone while travelling between meetings - instead of only being able to access voicemail at that time. There become few idle times which cannot be productively used processing messages.

But UM users soon discover that this is only half the story - simply combining the two forms of messaging without adding more and better tools to manage your messages just concentrates all your headaches in one place. It is the power and flexibility of modern e-mail environments, like Lotus Notes & Domino, that is driving the traditional voicemail vendors to build their UM solutions on top of the e-mail infrastructure, rather than the other way round. It is the automatic rules processing, delegation, archiving, notification and other e-mail capabilities of clients like Notes which make this single messaging solution more manageable than the two, simpler solutions that predated it.

This makes users more productive, and administrators more efficient, exactly what organizations are looking for as they complete the roll out of their new generation of client/server, Internet-centric messaging infrastructures (like Lotus Notes and Domino R5). A way to reduce their costs and make their user's even happier.

Putting Fax in the Picture

Unified Messaging goes well beyond merging voicemail with e-mail. First, all Unified Messaging solutions embrace fax, another telephone based technology used for messaging, which fits in perfectly.

Despite the growth of electronic mail, fax is still a business critical communications media, not least because of the sheer volume of paper which is still used in the world. E-Mail and the Web, like so many new technologies for the "paperless office," often seem to be efficient mechanisms for generating more paper in many user's hands - simply because it is more readable there and human beings are more comfortable dealing with information in that form. The combination of fax and e-mail therefore becomes a key tool in allowing people to use paper more effectively.

In fact, many organizations have combined some aspects of their fax infrastructure with e-mail for many years, as it has become clear that the age of the stand alone fax server with a dedicated fax client is coming to an end, even faster than the age of dedicated voicemail is ending. Most companies with advanced messaging solutions can send e-mail to fax destinations today, through a fax gateway such as Fax for Domino, and many can deliver inbound faxes directly to individual user's mailboxes along with all their other messages, where they belong. Even organizations which have not adopted this technology very naturally do so as part of a Unified Messaging deployment, since they are already deploying the necessary telephony integration within their solutions.

As well as making fax more usable, Unified Messaging creates new applications for it. Once users choose to travel without a PC, which they haven't otherwise been able to do since e-mail became their critical interface to their colleagues and customers, they need a way to handle long, complex e-mails which they want to skim instead of listening to in detail, or to view an attached spreadsheet or presentation. Unified Messaging solutions allow the user to forward such messages to a nearby fax machine (maybe their hotel fax) to be processed on paper (the way many users prefer).

Addressing the Wireless World

The other key component of a modern unified messaging solution is the exploitation of wireless technologies to ensure user can be always available. This is primarily about allowing users to make an informed choice about their availability, wherever they may be, so they can respond to the urgent messages and ignore the rest.

The best known example of
wireless messaging is the pager, and the similar Short Message Service (SMS) technology provided by the GSM cellular phone network. This delivers notification services, so a user may be made aware of the arrival of e-mails and voicemails from a selected group of co-workers or important clients, giving them the option to respond more quickly then they would otherwise be able to.

The second wireless capability for Unified Messaging is
wireless access to your messages. So called "smart phones" combine a cellular phone with a "microbrowser," allowing you to view the e-mails in your mailbox and read the smaller ones on a small screen built into your mobile phone. Larger and more complex messages can again be forwarded to a fax machine, or alternatively a user could connect their PC to their mobile phone to retrieve them that way. Linked to SMS notification this gives a user a hierarchy of mechanisms to manage their messages: immediate notification of messages known to be urgent, a very quick and easy way to review their basic content as well as other new messages, and a simple way to retrieve urgent messages to a PC from wherever you happen to be.

For the less sophisticated e-mail user, a smart phone may be sufficient for all their messaging needs. At the other extreme, a cellular wireless card can be placed within a PC to provide access to all of a users messages from a meeting room, train, or their favorite armchair. Again, Unified Messaging delivers user choice.

The third key messaging application for the wireless infrastructure is synchronization of information to a personal digital assistant (PDA) - whether it is built into a cellular phone, or independent of it but with a wireless interface.
Wireless synchronization permits all or a subset of the users messages to be synchronized to the PDA so they can be accessed and new mail created even when the user is off the wireless network (e.g. on an airplane) as well as allowing critical user information, like address books and calendars, to be synchronized between the PDA and the user's messaging infrastructure.

Into the Future

Unified Messaging as it is used today is not the end. Just as voicemail, fax and wireless messaging have been built on top of the messaging infrastructure to extend e-mail to Unified Messaging, a range of new capabilities are being developed to further enhance the way we can communicate with each other.

Many advanced Unified Messaging solutions are moving beyond messaging to Unified Communications as they add tools to manage real time telephone conversations as well as voice messaging. For example they might permit inbound call screening, where a user already on the phone can see another call come in on their PC, identify who it is from, and select the greeting to play to the caller (e.g. either a conventional voicemail message, or "please hold while I complete my call and I will be with you shortly). Or, they might offer call setup from the users address book, by simply clicking an icon (perhaps including conference call setup by selecting a distribution list).

One of the major areas of research in Unified Messaging at present is in the application of voice recognition technology to improve usability. Many current solutions support "hands free operation" by allowing users to speak words instead of pressing keys. The latest application of this technology is to allow extensions to be dialled by speaking the name of the desired recipient (e.g. in the IBM Directory Dialer).

However, the real focus for voice recognition in the future is to create "personal assistants" which will perform a range of services on behalf of a user when they call in by understanding the commands they are giving and questions they are asking. This can be considered a layer on top of Unified Messaging which responds to spoken commands such as: "How many new messages do I have from Lou Gerstner", "What are the subjects", "Read me the second one", "What appointments to I have next Tuesday?", "Read my new voicemail message", "Call him back", and "Connect me to Stuart McRae". Some service providers are already providing this sort of solution, and over the coming years it will become a key way of interacting with all Unified Messaging systems.

Meanwhile the standards community is defining the Voice Profile for Internet Messaging, which will define how a voicemail message can be represented within a standard SMTP e-mail message so that you can be sure that any recipient can hear a voicemail you forward to them, while Internet Fax provides the same for fax messages. The significance of these developments is that they will provide inter-enterprise interoperability for Unified Messaging. Whereas today if I forward a voicemail message from my Unified Messaging system to someone in another organization I have no idea whether they will be able to play it or not, once these Internet standards are rolled out their ability to handle my message will be assured, and furthermore their e-mail client might be able to intelligently display this message as voicemail (rather than e-mail with a voice attachment) even if they have not deployed a Unified Messaging solutions themselves - without requiring them to go get some plug-in from the Web. This is not true today.

Another critical set of standards which will extend the capabilities of Unified Messaging is the Wireless Application Protocol (WAP). WAP is a widely supported standard for wireless messaging and wireless access which will greatly extend the capabilities of Smart Phones and PDAs compared to the current SMS and Web services that they offer. WAP is set for a major roll out in wireless devices, wireless networks, and server applications during 2000.

One recent trend in messaging has been the emergence of Instant Messaging services such as Lotus SameTime. These applications allow the immediate delivery of a short text message from one PC user to another. There is clear potential to combine these services with wireless messaging to further extend a users ability to be always connected to their colleagues and customers, and this opportunity will be exploited in future Unified Messaging solutions.

Meanwhile, the major trend in the telephony world today, following on from the pervasive deployment of cellular networks, is the increasing adoption of Voice over IP (VoIP) as a complementary infrastructure to the Public Switched Telephone Network to allow telephony to be integrated much more tightly into applications (like Customer Relationship Management systems and Web Based Call Centers). Unified Messaging is highly synergistic with Voice Over IP since it really does not make sense to route a failed VoIP call to a physical PBX in order to terminate it at a conventional voicemail server. The Unified Messaging Telephone User Interface is just another application running on a server and connected to the TCP/IP network, so using it to handle failed VoIP calls is a simple, software application and most such applications will acquire this capability in the near future.

Beyond that, the widespread use of streaming media on the worldwide web and the increasing network bandwidth available is bound to bring video to messaging, and one can only wonder how long it will be after that before you will be able to smell a scented e-mail!

And Beyond Messaging

But Unified Messaging is just one application that can take advantage of this merging of the server infrastructure, and the access infrastructure, to support the users preferred interface.

An infrastructure which is deployed for Unified Messaging today, will be extended in the future to provide users with access to other applications. A Sales Manager will use the same telephone session they use to collect their messages to check their current sales position against the target for the quarter, a travelling executive will be able to check their appointments for the day from their smart phone, a visitor will be able to get directions before leaving their hotel from your corporate web site via their PDA, or a service engineer at a customer site will be able to access their knowledge management system to find the world expert on a failed part from their cell phone. Unified Messaging will become Unified Collaboration, and Unified Access to all Business Applications.

The messaging and collaboration server at the heart of a Unified Messaging solution also becomes the portal to all enterprise information and applications. Through back-end connections to mainframes, databases, and other application servers, it becomes the integration point between employees and all corporate data and services.

Unified Messaging for Competitive Advantage

While all of these future Unified Messaging developments will provide significant benefits, even the current level of capabilities can significantly enhance the productivity of users, improve the responsiveness of organizations, and reduce the total cost of messaging. This is why we will see Unified Messaging solutions being aggressively deployed in the very near future.

There is no doubt that the users who can most benefit from Unified Messaging are mobile workers, who need to keep in touch when on the road, and teleworkers, who are somewhat removed from the infrastructure of the office. However, office based workers who are frequently away from their desks (e.g. in meetings or visiting other employees) can also benefit from the notification and remote access capabilities of Unified Messaging, while all users who receive a lot of messages in a mix of different forms already feel the need for improved message management tools.

The key objective of the latest Unified Messaging solutions, as with wireless telephony, is to ensure that a user can always access their messaging infrastructure, and can always be reached. However it is important to understand the distinction between "always connected" and "always available".

For some users, the objective of being connected is to be available and responsive (e.g. a sales representative to their customers), but we know that for others being unavailable is often vital to getting work done. Unified Messaging gives the user the ability to be connected and the potential to be available at any time.

By allowing the user to control which communications they are to be notified of immediately, and letting them more effectively manage the messages they receive when they are not available, Unified Messaging allows them to be more responsive and to communicate more effectively.

Everyone has customers, whether they are external or internal to their organization, and being responsive to your customers is what business is about at the end of the 21st century. And responsiveness to customers is what Unified Messaging is all about.

The Unified Messaging Solution

It should be clear by now that Unified Messaging is not a product per se. Rather it is a set of products which together augment the capabilities of the messaging infrastructure upon which your e-mail is built, to provide access to any message, anytime, anywhere from any device.

Typically, a set of such products are packaged together into a ready-to-run solution for unified messaging, but it is equally valid to acquire and deploy the products individually building the solution over time. The key is ensuring that your users are able to use the most appropriate device(s) for them to access all of their messages in a timely manner, and that your infrastructure costs are minimized by reducing the use of different components providing the same capabilities.

This is why a set of solutions built on top of a common Domino infrastructure is the best possible approach to Unified Messaging - the common infrastructure minimizes deployment costs whilst providing maximum user flexibility by integrating the different product components to a common message store. The family of products you deploy for e-mail, fax, voicemail and wireless messaging can therefore come together to provide an integrated and flexible solution to message management for your users.

- Marshall McLuhan, The Gutenberg Galaxy: The Making of Typographic Man, 1962.

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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.

Component Strategy

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.

Partnering Strategy

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:

In short, the Lotus strategy is to provide a robust Unified Messaging foundation in Notes & Domino, innovative communications extensions, and the partnering assistance necessary to ensure that all of our customers are provided with a comprehensive choice of solutions which meet their differing needs.

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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

This doesn't mean the user has to carry a PC, a telephone and a PDA. Far from it - Unified Messaging is all about choice. The sender gets to decide whether they want to send a fax, an e-mail or maybe they would prefer to leave a voicemail, and the recipient gets to choose how they access that message - they are not bound by the decisions of the sender. So they can not only choose the device that they are most comfortable with using and which best fits the needs of the message, but they can choose to have different devices available at different times - e.g. travelling without a PC but still getting at important e-mail.

That is capability number 1 -
User Choice. And it leads to number 2 - Responsiveness.

By giving users a choice of using the most convenient device to them, it makes it easier to reach them, and for them to act on a message. In a 10 minute break between sessions, for a quick dash to the coffee machine, a user can pick up a phone or get out their wireless PDA and check for urgent messages - whether they are voicemail, faxes or e-mail. In this situation a user would not have time to power up their PC, find a phone line and connect, so without unified messaging they would not see all of their messages. But by fitting in with their needs you make them more productive and responsive.

Then, when they get back to their office, or power their PC up in the hotel that evening, they can take further follow up actions. And then they hit the third key benefit -
Flexibility. The voicemail message they retrieved earlier and promised to follow up on later is right their with all their other messages to be handled. The voicemail with instructions to proceed from their largest client is in their mailbox from where they can archive it to keep it safe. The fax with the directions for tomorrows meeting is immediately available, to be forwarded to the hotel fax machine. Their life runs more efficiently and smoothly, because they are in control of their messaging environment.

All users can benefit from Unified Messaging, but there are specific user groups who are particularly benefitted by these solutions:

At the same time you are bringing these benefits to your users, your unified messaging solution can significantly reduce the costs associated with the deployment of the messaging infrastructure. Maintaining a single unified messaging solution, instead of a voicemail system, an e-mail system and a fax server,
brings down total cost of ownership for messaging - while boosting user productivity and improving organizational responsiveness - a double win.

Unified Messaging Capabilities

The following section summarizes some of the key capabilities offered in current Unified and Integrated Messaging solutions.

All of the capabilities are not necessarily provided in any single product, and products with similar objectives sometimes have different capabilities, so you should carefully examine products that you intend to deploy in order to ensure they deliver what you need. Often products are designed to be used in combination - e.g. a telephony user interface, fax gateway and wireless server which work together to provide a set of complementary facilities. Different capabilities are important to different organizations and user communities, so the exact combination of products needed to address the UM requirements in a specific environment will vary.

Telephone Access to E-Mail

The most fundamental aspect of unified messaging is normally access to the e-mail systems via the telephone (sometimes called the telephony user interface).

When checking voicemail, users can also be told that they have six new e-mails and two new faxes. After being told who each e-mail or fax is from, they can decide to have them read over the phone, or can forward them to a nearby fax machine (e.g. in the hotel where they are staying), or they may decide these messages are urgent enough to access via other means (such as an airport Web terminal). Simple, short e-mails are best read out, and this can also inform the user of the content of long or complex e-mails so decisions can be made regarding the appropriate action to take.

After listening to a message, users can also send a spoken response back to the originator - which will be delivered to the users unified messaging inbox so they can listen to it from their PC, or from the telephone. Similarly they can forward the message to someone else for action, perhaps with a spoken introduction, or file the message in a folder so that they do not need to hear it again until they want to deal with it later. Or, of course, they can delete it if it is of no further value.

When reading a message to a user, an intelligent unified messaging solution will be sensitive to the meaning of e-mail specific conventions, and may offer advanced features like automatic language detection. They should also understand "special" e-mail messages, such as meeting notices, so they can be communicated appropriately to the user, and they may offer facilities like the ability to accept or reject a message over the telephone.

It is important that the unified messaging infrastructure provide tools to allow users to filter which messages they get informed about on the telephone. For example, with Notes Mail a user could have a rule which will automatically delete recognized "SPAM" messages, and file regular broadcast messages, or messages from a mailing list, in a folder to be accessed only when they are back at their PC. These messages will then not take up their time while they are on the telephone.

In practice, it is not necessary to deploy a full unified messaging solution if users only want telephone access to e-mail. At some cost in convenience (the use of two dial in numbers, one for e-mail and one for voicemail) a "mail reader" application will provide just this aspect of unified messaging, in a form which is easier and quicker to deploy, which offers a first step towards true unified messaging.

PC Access to Voicemail

The second key aspect of unified messaging to most users is that their voicemail messages also appear in their inbox, alongside regular e-mail messages and faxes.

The user will then be provided the option, via a button on the screen, of either playing that voice message via the speakers on their PC (or built into their laptop), or a headset attached to it, or alternatively for privacy playing the message back via their telephone. When they click that button, their phone rings and they pick it up and listen to the message. When at their desk, the playback is obviously via that telephone, but even mobile users can use this capability by selecting their home telephone number or their cellular number as the number to be used to play back the message. Travelling users can also decide to use the standard capabilities of Notes to replicate only the header information about that e-mail to their PC (rather than waiting for the whole message to download), and can then dial into their voicemail number to listen to the message. Or they can download the entire message so they can play it back on the locally without another call.

Having listened to a message, the user will typically be provided with the option of replying either with a normal e-mail, or with a voice message back. Many solutions will also allow users to explicitly create a voice message instead of an e-mail - and in some circumstances and some corporate cultures a spoken message can better communicate the feelings of the sender than a typed e-mail. It should also be noted that users can now forward voicemail messages to users not on their local voicemail system, or not on voicemail at all - a great benefit, but note that if those recipients do not use unified messaging it will be necessary to nevertheless ensure that their PCs are able to play those messages if they are to be useful. Furthermore, when sending those messages outside of the company it is important to ensure that the unified messaging solution creates messages which can be played on any desktop, rather than using a purely proprietary format.

The key benefit to handling voicemail on the PC is message management - particularly the ability to file messages in folders until they are processed, and to archive them if they have lasting significance. A well encoded voice message is not particularly large compared to many of the application files we create today (e.g. presentations and word processor documents), and modern PC disk storage is cheap, so client side archiving (as offered by Notes) is a valuable tool for the unified messaging user. Even on the server, additional disk capacity for the message store costs a fraction of what disk capacity costs on a voicemail server - and standard Domino quotas can be used to control usage of server space.

Telephone Access to Information and Applications

The third service that unified messaging solutions provide to telephone users is the ability to access other applications, beyond messaging.

Most solutions offer simple toolkits which allow business applications to be either tied into the unified messaging solution ("press 9 for special services", "press 3 for the current stock price") or to create completely separate "interactive voice response" (IVR) applications providing access to a whole range of appropriate corporate data - taken from Notes databases, or external sources like relational databases, mainframe systems, enterprise resource planning solutions, or even the web. A unified messaging enabled Domino system creates an enterprise portal server which can deliver all forms of information to all users, however they want to access it.

For example, a sales manager might be able to press a key in voicemail to find out how well her group is doing against their target for the quarter, or what deals were closed the previous day. A service engineer might call in and be automatically told what their next appointment is. Employees might be able to check current currency exchange rates on demand, or get information on current network, server or dial-in modem problems. Customers can be permitted to check stock availability, their current order status, or whether their account manager is in the office that day. Visitors can be given travel directions to get to a facility. A whole range of applications can be very simply programmed to speed up access to information and reduce the human resources needed to deliver it.

Wireless Notification of Messages

One key application of wireless technologies is to tell an employee out of the office that something needs their attention. The pager networks, and for GSM mobile phones the Short Message Service built into the network, allows short text messages to be delivered to a travelling user anytime, anywhere.

One application of this is to alert users to the fact that they have a new voicemail message or fax awaiting their attention. Unified messaging systems also extend this notification to e-mail, according to a user selected profile. For example, a user might request notifications for urgent e-mails, and e-mail's from: their manager, their VP and the CEO, their wife, any of their children, anybody in their key client's organization, and any message containing the name of their client in the subject line.

The second application of notification is in providing an easy way for a person or application to get a short text message to a user immediately. A special e-mail address will cause the subject of the e-mail message (or even a digest of some of the content) to be sent to a pager or cellular phone. This address could also be given to external users (in the form of an internet mail address) so that key clients can always get a message to their contact. Finally it can be used by applications to automatically generate notification - e.g. a sales manager might be informed when any of their sales representatives enters a large order, or an account manager could be told if a delivery to their customer is delayed.

Wireless Access to Messages

One of the most exciting new developments in unified messaging is the ability for a travelling user to use a smart phone, or a simple wireless device, or a PDA connected to their cell phone, to access their e-mail inbox.

The ability to see a list of messages (perhaps immediately after a wireless notification that there is a message needing attention), and who they are from, and access the subject line and text of the message, allows users to very quickly decide which messages need their immediate attention - whether that is by dialing up and accessing them on the telephone, forwarding a complex message to a nearby fax machine, connecting their laptop to the cell phone and accessing their mail there, forwarding the message to someone else for attention, or keying a brief response in directly to go back to the originator.

This combination of wireless notification, access and action is the ultimate in responsiveness.

Wireless Synchronization of Information

As PDAs are becoming more common and more sophisticated, many users enjoy the immediate access to personal and corporate information they provide. By combining a wireless enabled PDA with synchronization software it is possible to automatically keep the information in that device up to date, without having to hook it up to a PC with a cable at regular intervals. Appointments, contact information, to do lists, business data, and even mail messages can be kept up to date on the device - sometime removing the need for busy travellers to even carry a laptop with them.

Wireless Access to Information and Applications

Wireless solutions are not limited to messaging, though - they go far beyond that. Any textual information can be made available to an employee through the wireless network - such as: the employee telephone directory, stock availability by part, the current status of their customer's orders, the telephone number of corporate offices worldwide, the status of their expenses payment to their bank, or todays cafeteria menu.

Fax Mailboxes

By delivering faxes to a user's electronic mailbox, rather than onto paper back in their office, travelling users have immediate access to those faxes in the same way as an office based user with a private fax machine - allowing them to be responsive, and to use fax to receive directions or changes to travel plans while on the road.

Even in the office, electronic delivery of faxes offers three key benefits: privacy, immediacy and control. No-one else is going to read your fax while it is sitting on the fax machine; you will know as soon as the fax arrives, rather than when someone notices it and puts it on your desk; and faxes will never again get lost or misrouted on their way to you desk.

In addition, the ability to route faxes to mailboxes provide a low cost, globally deployed scanning capability available to every employee. If you have a paper specification to send to a colleague in a different office, you can do it quickly and cheaply by faxing it to their mailbox. If you have meeting notes you want to save, you can fax them to your own mailbox and file them along with e-mail relating to that project. When fax is viewed as an "e-mail scanner" it delivers interoperability between the paper world and electronic messaging - making information flow and management more effective.

E-Mail to Fax Delivery

With the increased use of e-mail, many people expected fax usage to die out. But it is still growing. Even as the alternative method of communicating between organizations became more popular, people found new uses for fax. After all, many people like paper, create paper, and prefer to use paper, so it needs to be embraced in a messaging strategy, and when the person you are sending a document to does not have the application you used to create it, fax is by far the easiest way to deliver it in a way they can use. Most people still fax maps rather than typing directions. Application fax transmissions have also exploded, as the fast pace of like makes it increasingly critical to get purchase orders and deliver notifications to customers and suppliers quicker than paper mail.

In fact, the integration of fax into the e-mail client has been one of the key enablers of widespread use of computer based fax, as it becomes a natural part of the e-mail environment that users already know how to use, or have been trained on. It removes the need to install more software on all the desktops and train all the users on another application. Fax is just messaging of images.

But unified messaging itself is also one of the drivers for a growth in fax. As lower function devices, like the telephone or a small PDA, are used to access the user's mailbox, they need a way to read long messages or messages with attachments when they are away from their PC, and faxing them to a local machine provides a natural solution to that problem.

Web Access to All Messages

Of course, once all of these messages are in your single inbox, they can not only be accessed from a PC client, the telephone and a wireless browser, but also the Web. This therefore allows the use of any web browser to get to complex messages a user finds out about via their telephone or PDA while on the road. With Web terminals appearing in airports, hotels, an even replacing pay phones on the street, cybercafes spreading around the world, and even televisions being enabled for access, this is increasingly becoming the place to go once you discover you have messages waiting to be handled.

Message Waiting Lamp

Some unified messaging solutions support the telephone message waiting lamp, so that users preserve their familiar voicemail environment in full as well as having their PC notify them of new messages via e-mail notification.

In addition, solutions may extend their message waiting lamp support to e-mail - perhaps using it to alert users of the arrival of urgent e-mail as well.

Call Back

A very valuable capability of a unified messaging system is to allow a user checking their voicemail to immediately call back the originator (using their internal extension, caller id, a number they keyed when leaving the message, or a number the user keyed in while listening to the message), and then after the call being returned to voicemail. This removes the need to note down a number, exit voicemail, and then make a return call. This concept can be extended to e-mail messages, by allowing a voicemail user checking the e-mail to call the originator of an e-mail using the telephone number in their directory entry (or to call a number quoted within an e-mail).

This concept can also be extended to the mail client, allowing a PC user to place a telephone call to the originator of an e-mail message on their screen, at which point both their phone and the other users phone will ring and they will be connected. In principle should be possible for desk based users, teleworkers with a second telephone line, and also travelling users via their mobile phone. This capability could even try to establish conference calls with available copy list recipients!

Call Screening

One of the facilities the most advanced unified messaging solutions are offering is call screening at the desktop. This is similar to the function of domestic answering machines, where a user can hear a caller leaving a message and optionally click a button to take the call.

But the real value of these solutions go beyond that basic functionality to make users even more responsive to their important callers. When a call comes in while you are on the phone, you PC can tell you who is calling (showing their number, or even their name from your address book), and give you the option of playing them a customized greeting: "I am on the phone right now but please hold - I will be able to take your call within 30 seconds" giving you time to end your current call, or "I am on the phone right now but I'll call you back as soon as I get off this call". These solutions also let you see who tried to call you but didn't leave a message. All of which makes the employee more responsive, and so their organization more effective.

Follow Me

Follow me services provide more sophisticated management of calls when the user is not at their desk. The caller's number might be recorded, or they might be asked to speak their name, and then the server will dial a predefined set of numbers where the user might be, according to the time of day. For example, a cell phone, a home number, an alternative office, or a colleagues number set up for that specific time period. If the user is located, they are given the alternative of taking the call rather than allowing it to divert to voicemail.

Call Management

Finally, because the unified messaging system is connected to the PBX, it may be able to control the telephone system on behalf of the user. Not only would this let you select an entry in your personal address book and call that user, but you could select a group or a set of users and create a conference call.

Many of the facilities previously only available through highly specialized computer telephony integration for large call centers, can be made available to all users at their desktops at little additional cost.

Message Management

One of the advantages of the conventional approach of using multiple different messaging environments is the implicit prioritization this creates between messages. In general voicemail and faxes as seen as more urgent than e-mail. Of course, this varies corporate culture by corporate culture, and even user by user, and can create a problem when the sender and receiver have different priorities (e.g. a mobile user may treat faxes as something that have to wait until their return, out of necessity).

To allow this prioritization to work, many unified messaging solutions allow users to preserve the separation, e.g. allowing telephone users to hear about their voicemails, e-mails and faxes separately, even though they are logically all just messages, and providing mailbox views for different message types. They may also allow users to further separate messages for processing - for example by providing a special folder for saved messages which can be access via the telephone or which get replicated to a PDA, leaving the remainder accessible only from the PC. This capability can further extended by using Rules to automatically remove some routine messages from view from the mail client.

This is just one example of the ability to apply the sophisticated message management capabilities and the highly customizable nature of the Notes mail client and Domino server to provide improved message management for all sorts of messages in a unified messaging environment.

Apply the rich Notes message management capabilities to any message

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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:

Unified Messaging is the first step towards a broader ability to open up all collaborative applications, business applications, and the entire intranet, as well as the extranets in which an organization participates, to access anytime, anywhere from any device. It is part of the ongoing trend towards ensuring that we can always be in touch, as well as a new desire to put us in control of when and how we wish to participate in these communications.

Unified Messaging Solution Architecture

Unified Messaging is designed to merge the existing voicemail and e-mail infrastructures, whilst also embracing the latest wireless applications.

In most organizations, today's world looks like this:

Once true Unified Messaging is deployed, the new merged infrastructure looks like this:

In particular:

These three servers may run on physically separate hardware platforms, or may be combined on a single hardware server. The Domino mail servers that they access are the production servers deployed to deliver e-mail services.

One source of infrastructure cost savings from unified messaging comes from its ability to use general purpose hardware platforms for the TUI and other gateway servers. The cost of processor power, and even more importantly disk space, on these open computing platforms are a fraction of the costs associated with traditional, proprietary voicemail servers - typically charging thousands of dollars per hour of recorded voicemail, rather than the dollars per gigabyte that computer hard drives cost (at around 100 hours per gigabyte).

The three gateway devices (TUI, Fax and Mobile) may use Internet Standards (e.g. SMTP/MIME, IMAP4, LDAP) to access the mail server, or a server specific protocol (e.g. the Notes API) or a combination of the two.

The TUI may preserve a local cache to enhance performance, and to allow it to hold messages and resolve extensions to e-mail addresses even if the mail server and directory are not available, and perhaps allow access to those new voicemail messages until the mail server returns. However in true Unified Messaging once the mail server becomes available again the message will be stored and that becomes the master copy.

The TUI and Fax servers also require integration to the PBX. This is typically through a specialist telephony board (either a hybrid board supporting fax and voice, or two separate boards from the same or different vendors). The Fax and Mobile servers may also use external modems for telephone connection (but for fax, specialist boards are generally recommended for performance and reliability). When running on a single server, those boards may be shared across the TUI and Fax. Even when on separate servers, the TUI may be able to control transfers between the extensions to provide single number capabilities.

Control of the PBX by the TUI may occur through a separate serial connection, over a telephony board via a digital port on the PBX, using DTMF tones and an analog telephony board and port, or through a LAN connection and control API. The exact functions that can be delivered will depend on the capabilities of this interface, as implemented by the specific PBX, and the level of support provided in the TUI for this interface/PBX. Most TUIs either offer support for a wide range of PBXs out of the box, and/or have installation services available to integrate with specific PBX infrastructures.

Unified Messaging with Domino

When a customer decides to implement Unified Messaging on top of a generic Domino infrastructure, it becomes easy to integrate a whole range of different messaging related functions into the solution by using the "plug and play" Domino platform and its exceptional Internet Standards support.

All of these capabilities can be unified into a Domino based Unified Messaging solution, even though some different components might be produced by different vendors. This unifying capability is critical to delivering an
open, extensible unified messaging solution which can take advantage of future technologies, and be leveraged by innovative new companies in their specialized areas to deliver exceptional new capabilities to the market at Internet speeds.

This will deliver future unified capabilities far beyond what is possible today, leveraging the unified communications, unified access and unified data store offered by the Domino family of products to create a multidimensional enterprise portal, available from any device, and given access to any messaging, collaborative or business application, from the latest knowledge management solutions to legacy mainframe applications.

Unified Messaging and Integrated Messaging

Of course, many organizations will not be ready to replace their existing, separate systems with a unified messaging solution for all of their users, overnight. In the long term, there will be an inevitable movement towards a single solution - both to deliver user and organizational benefits and to reduce the cost of deployment, but in the meantime a range of integrated messaging solutions exist to help migration and coexistence, allowing the users which will experience the highest benefit to get access to some or all of the capabilities of unified messaging immediately, while the migration of the general user population is staged over time.

We define true unified messaging as having the following characteristics:

Integrated Messaging solutions are any solution which deliver some of the benefits of unified messaging, but without these attributes. In general, they fall into two categories:

The first group of solutions exist to allow the high value users to be migrated to unified messaging without moving all of the users. The second group permits some of the user benefits to be provided, but without the administration savings of true unified messaging (indeed, often with increased administration costs as additional components are required).

Coexistence and Migration Solutions

For any large enterprise with multiple locations, it is impractical to move all users to unified messaging at the same time. Typically, separate geographic locations will have their own voicemail systems and fax solutions, and in addition an advanced messaging infrastructure with the required reliability, availability and scalability, may not have been rolled out to all locations. Also, it is sensible to focus the deployment resources on the users who will get the greatest return from these new capabilities, before opening up migration to everyone else to reduce your infrastructure costs.

The two key integrated messaging capabilities required for coexistence and migration are:

There is one other solution which warrants attention when considering coexistence and migration, although it is strictly a unified messaging component, not integrated messaging. Migrating to a computer based faxing solution as part of unified messaging can bring significant reductions in telephone costs, especially as Internet Fax is starting to take off, but leaves open the issue of how to fax things that start off on paper. One approach to this is to use the existing fax machines to send paper via the PBX and fax server to e-mail users. However, this actively encourages users to continue to use long distance telephone calls when faxing externally.

One solution to this comes from the emergence of Network Scanners. These devices are basically scanner-only replacements for fax machines, which use an existing fax server (like Fax for Domino) for the actual transmission of external faxes, or Internet Fax, and can deliver faxes directly to users' inboxes (via SMTP). They rely on the fact that the existing printer infrastructure can be used by a fax server to provide the other half of a conventional fax machine. They can be viewed as either a next generation fax machine, or as an Internet enabled scanner, which ever you wish, but the end result is still to extend the unified messaging solution to offer interoperability with paper.

An alternative to these network scanners is rapidly appearing in the form of Internet Fax machines, which simply extend the existing fax paradigm to send faxes to, and receive faxes from, e-mail users as well as other Internet Fax machines via SMTP. They will use a conventional telephone line alongside their LAN connection to also permit conventional faxing. Internet Fax machines can either be purchased as a simple replacement for an existing fax machine, or as an interface box which sits between an existing machine and the telephone and LAN connections.

Partial Integrated Messaging Solutions

The other class of Integrated Messaging solution are those that offer some of the user functionality of Unified Messaging without implementing full unified messaging. These come in many shapes and forms. Examples include:

As should be clear, a combination of several of these solutions can provide all of the capabilities of unified messaging for some users. However, it must be noted that the administrative savings will not be made, in fact the costs of deploying all of these solutions will inevitably drive up total messaging costs.

These solutions are particularly valuable when an organization is not yet ready to configure and deploy an e-mail infrastructure that is as reliable as their current voicemail environment - since organizations with unreliable e-mail often use voicemail as a backup.

Creating a suitable platform for Unified Messaging requires two things: the adoption of a highly reliable, available and scalable messaging platform (such as Lotus Domino) which supports clustering and fail-over to avoid loss of service, and the implementation of the administrative and monitoring processes necessary to ensure that it delivers the required levels of availability. This requires things like robust, highly available hardware (e.g. RAID disks) running a reliable operating system, and a set of redundant components (e.g. TUIs and fax servers) running in a fail-over configuration, together with operational procedures to ensure 7x24 monitoring so that corrective action can be taken before users are impacted.

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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:

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Unified Messaging solutions for Lotus Notes & Domino

Lotus offers the following products to extend the capabilities of Notes & Domino for unified messaging:

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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:

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Unified Messaging Glossary

: A standard protocol allowing one voicemail server to forward voicemail messages to another over an analogue telephone line (AMIS Analog).

: A standard protocol allowing one voicemail server to forward voicemail messages to another over an X.400 network (AMIS Digital).

: 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).

: 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.

: 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).

: 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.

: 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.

: 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.

: Dual Tone Multi-Frequency.

: 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.

: 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.

: Enterprise Resource Planning.

: 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.

: Handheld Device Markup Language.

: Hypertext Markup Language.

Hypertext Markup Language
: The basic language used to create Web pages for access from a Web browser. HTML can represent content (such as text to be displayed), hold links to other content (hyperlinks) and act as a container for other objects (e.g. JavaScript and other active programs).

: Internet Engineering Task Force, the technical body which defines the protocols used in the Internet.

: 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.

: 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.

: 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.

: Internet Protocol, part of TCP/IP - the lower level carrier protocols on which the public Internet and corporate intranets are built.

: 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).

: 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).

: 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.

: 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.

: 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.

: 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.

: Private Branch Exchange.

: 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.

: 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.

: 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.

: 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.

: 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.

: 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.

: 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).

: 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").

: 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.

: A commercial name use by AT&T for the use of DTMF tones.

: Telephony User Interface.

. Transmission Control Protocol/Internet Protocol. The low level protocol defined by the IETF to be used to create the Internet.

: 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.

: Voice over IP.

: 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.

: 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).

: 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.

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.

: Used to differentiate a conventional telephone connection, as opposed to a wireless one.

: Wireless Markup Language.

: 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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