Unified Messaging

Will the panacea of the unified mail box containing voice messages, fax messages, emails have widespread take-up in the enterprise? This area appears to be moving up the agenda. Storage with voice compression doesn’t appear to be the major issue in my opinion. The real issue will come as the ability to record voice elements reaches the desktop. This is available now to the “disrupters” in the enterprise – those who self invest in technology and are location independent and generally independent of the corporate build. Once voice is recorded then stored in a generic format, usually within the email in-box there are more concerns. How simple is it then for users to forward voice from teleconferences to elements outside the organisation? How do you control the flow of data (now not just email) beyond the corporate boundaries. I attended a Ferris webinar on the subject a few weeks ago and many people were concerned about this. I’d bet that most of these people are breaking down their corporate boundaries to allow location independent working and most are not likely to restrict access to their corporate networks (except by policy – which will always be bent if not broken by disrupters). I think we’ll all see some interesting debates in the next few years. How well does your email team, telecoms team, security team (etc) work together now. Unified Messaging will be one of those challenges where technology will be 10% of the job, 30% will be making the technical teams work well together. More importantly 60% of the effort, in my opinion, will be ensuring the end user experience is good – in terms of not just look and feel but training, user documentation, best practice etc. Interesting times are probably coming to all of us as many analysts are predicting this is the future.

1 Comment

  1. Unified messaging sounds like a good idea, until you look at the storage and networking impact. I have worked with the Siemens solution for Domino in the past and the storage requirements for even small voicemails were tremendous. If I remember correctly, a 1 minute message ran like 600K. Can you imagine the impact that would have on an Exchange environment with strict 50 or 100 MB quotas? The network impact comes when users either replicate locally or the user’s mail server is at a remote location. It is imperative that the network group is involved in any UM solutions, although their standard answer of “it’s not our problem” will probably be heard often.



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