Feeds

Unified messaging – voicemail for 3G?

Multiple access methodology

  • alert
  • submit to reddit

Remote control for virtualized desktops

Voicemail is regarded as a killer application for telephony and some would say communications killer too - too many hid behind a voicemail screen, until mobile phones became the prevalent business communication tool. This is changing: Quocirca’s recent research of 150 decision makers in enterprises in the UK, Italy and Germany indicates a significant frequency of employees using a mobile in preference to a desk phone. So how does that change the voicemail requirement?

Stored messages are genuinely useful for mobile communication particularly when the recipient is out of coverage or on other calls. But certain message formats, such as SMS, MMS and even mobile emails are stored, then forwarded or otherwise pushed onto the handset in varied and complex ways. Third generation mobile networks and video telephony adds the further dimension of stored video messages.

Each of these services sits inside its own silo with an isolated message store, so the complexity of dealing with the total set is passed straight to the user. Often it’s handled badly on the device and there’s little commonality or shared inboxes.

Enter the return of unified messaging. One central store with multiple access methods.

Why now? When unified messaging was first touted, the technology wasn’t quite up to it, mainly because the gaps between the silos could only be bridged with case by case integration. Arguably it was also a techno-nirvana that didn’t really solve specific user communications needs. Now, IP is moving to the core of telecoms as the unifying glue and users have become familiar with and somewhat dependant on the individual stored messaging services - voicemail, SMS or email.

One further thought. Unified messaging was sold as a solution by telecoms equipment companies, because its impact was deep in the network. With IP, it rises to surface as an application, placing it more in the realm of IT companies and services.

There is a big concern surrounding the cost of legacy voicemail, and many existing systems are nearing their end of life. Voicemail storage systems attached to the core of the network are expensive to provide and take up valuable real estate, as they’re often in city centre locations by major network switch points. IP solutions can be positioned anywhere, even outsourced or hosted outside the operator.

Larger enterprises are already pushing email to the network edge and smaller companies using email hosting, in order to give easier access to remote and mobile employees, but few have contemplated the consequences of IP applied to other messaging formats. Hosted voicemail and messaging services permit users to switch more readily from one mode of access to another – mobilising the office worker without mobilising the entire office. External message store management might faze larger organisations for a while, but for others with minimal IT or communications expertise, hosted unified messaging might prove rather attractive.

For the coming generation of 3G users, voice message boxes alone will be inadequate, people need to store and send video, image, voice and text mail – so unified messaging might come back into fashion. However, it probably needs a new name to shake off the legacy of past failures – Multimedia Unified Mailboxes, anyone?

Copyright © 2004,

Related stories

Operators wake up to mobile enterprise needs
Is enhanced voice the new mobile data?

Internet Security Threat Report 2014

More from The Register

next story
Broadband sellers in the UK are UP TO no good, says Which?
Speedy network claims only apply to 10% of customers
YOU are the threat: True confessions of real-life sysadmins
Who will save the systems from the men and women who save the systems from you?
Virgin Media struck dumb by NATIONWIDE packet loss balls-up
Turning it off and on again fixes glitch 12 HOURS LATER
Facebook, working on Facebook at Work, works on Facebook. At Work
You don't want your cat or drunk pics at the office
Soz, web devs: Google snatches its Wallet off the table
Killing off web service in 3 months... but app-happy bonkers are fine
prev story

Whitepapers

Choosing cloud Backup services
Demystify how you can address your data protection needs in your small- to medium-sized business and select the best online backup service to meet your needs.
Getting started with customer-focused identity management
Learn why identity is a fundamental requirement to digital growth, and how without it there is no way to identify and engage customers in a meaningful way.
Reg Reader Research: SaaS based Email and Office Productivity Tools
Read this Reg reader report which provides advice and guidance for SMBs towards the use of SaaS based email and Office productivity tools.
Simplify SSL certificate management across the enterprise
Simple steps to take control of SSL across the enterprise, and recommendations for a management platform for full visibility and single-point of control for these Certificates.
Saudi Petroleum chooses Tegile storage solution
A storage solution that addresses company growth and performance for business-critical applications of caseware archive and search along with other key operational systems.