Remote Users, End Users, and Accessibility - Administration
Unified messaging breaks down the barriers between various forms of communication, such as voice, mail, email, and fax machines. Read on to learn more about the concept and the ways in which this technology has evolved.
Uniﬁed messaging represents a change for your end users. It represents a change in the way they communicate and interact with fellow coworkers or outside callers. With uniﬁed messaging, the end user now has the capability to review a voice message—say, from an outside caller—and then forward the message to that outside caller’s e-mail address and respond to it using text (see Figure 1-5).
Having the capability to respond to voice messages using text or text messages using voice seem trivial and of no consequence. However, it is a means for end users to enhance or even improve upon their productivity, especially if it saves them time in communicating with one another.
Figure 1-5.Responding to a Voice Message with Text
With uniﬁed messaging, there is a contrast in conveniences for the different types of end users. End users who work in a corporate ofﬁce every day will appreciate the convenience of uniﬁed messaging in their GUI interface. They can maintain a high level of productivity by staying at the computer and not being bothered with changing from computer to telephone to check for different types of messages. Telephone Record and Playback (TRaP) is the capability to use a media control in your messaging GUI client to record and play back your messages by having the control call your phone to use as a microphone or speaker. With this technology, a subscriber will still use a phone, but the phone is a part of the GUI experience. Of course, this means that users spend less time on the phone walking through conversations (listening to and responding to prompts played to them over the phone) and checking and responding to messages. In addition, end users can set their special phone settings, such as greetings and notiﬁcation devices, through the Cisco Personal Communications Assistant (CPCA).
For mobile users, access to and use of the phone is essential, especially while they are in transit. With uniﬁed messaging, mobile users can receive and respond to voice messages, e-mail messages, and fax messages, and can maintain a higher level of productivity while they are out of the ofﬁce. This beneﬁt of uniﬁed messaging becomes important as usage increases over time.
Remote users beneﬁt using either the GUI or the TUI, depending upon what is more convenient at the time. In some cases, especially with remote locations that have lower bandwidth, it might be more convenient for end users to use the TUI for accessing both e-mail and voice mail. When ample bandwidth is available, the GUI might be the only preferred method of access. In this case, both options are available to the end user.
All three examples show how different types of workers—ofﬁce, mobile, and remote—can beneﬁt from the use of uniﬁed messaging to improve their daily productivity.
Voice Mail and UM Coexistence
Another reasonable request is to integrate uniﬁed messaging with voice messaging. This just means that often it is desirable to have some subscribers use uniﬁed messaging and other subscribers use voice messaging only. So how is this performed? Because Unity uses an existing messaging system, it is necessary to conﬁgure the Unity uniﬁed messaging servers and the Unity voice-messaging servers to use the same e-mail organization instead of separate ones. For Exchange, this means the same organization name; for Domino, it means the same domain name. In this case, a messaging organization is the topmost messaging boundary established by the respective messaging systems when you ﬁrst install them. The organizational boundary typically means the same address book and shared directory information.
With Cisco Unity, it is possible to have subscribers in one Unity server address messages to subscribers on other Unity servers. This is traditionally called digital networking; it is also called Unity networking.
This creates a challenge because now you have voice mail-only subscribers in your global address list. To keep uniﬁed messaging subscribers from sending e-mail to voice mail-only subscribers, it is necessary to hide their address in the global address book. Otherwise, they will receive e-mail messages that they cannot read.
NOTE Subscribers can play back e-mail over the phone by using text-to-speech. However, this is not considered a voice-mail feature and, therefore, is not available with a voice mail-only license. It is only available with a UM license.
So, although it is possible to mix voice mail-only subscribers and uniﬁed messaging subscribers within the same organization, the users must be separated on different servers because of licensing. To keep uniﬁed messaging subscribers from sending e-mail messages to voice mail-only subscribers, the voice mail-only subscribers must be hidden in the global address list.
Earlier versions of Unity contained a fax solution called Active Fax that was built into the Unity product offering as a separate server. Active Fax offered uniﬁed administration, and that was the biggest advantage of using it. Since Unity 3.0, Active Fax is no longer offered as a fax solution. However, Unity does have the capability to integrate with different fax vendors, depending upon the following:
The offering is currently available on Exchange only.
The fax vendor must use an Exchange message class to identify the message as a fax.
This chapter is from Cisco Unity Deployment and Solutions Guide by Todd Stone (Addison-Wesley, 2004, ISBN: 1587051184). Check it out at your favorite bookstore today. Buy this book now.