Unified MessagingEvery morning people walk into their office buildings, grab a cup of tea or coffee, and head to their office. They then log in to check their email messages. Afterwards they pick up their phones and call into their voicemail. Finally they might run down the hall to the fax machine to check for faxes. They repeat these steps over and over throughout their day, even transcribing a voicemail into e-mail or reading a fax into a colleague's voicemail.
It's been this way for decades—three different systems to manage three different types of communications, and three different sets of tools to access them. Microsoft Outlook is for e-mail, phones are for voicemail, fax machines are for faxes. But why does it have to be this way? The environment in which we work is not what it was five or ten years ago, so why should the way we deal with messaging and collaboration be the same? Why can't we get both our voicemail and faxes in our inbox? We can use a phone to access voicemail, but why can't we call in and get our e-mail messages? Why are communications separate rather than integrated?
While traditional communications systems delivered messages into several different types of stores—voicemail systems, e-mail servers, and stand-alone fax machines—with Exchange Unified Messaging all types of messages are stored in one system. Voicemail messages, for example, are delivered directly into your inbox. You see them right beside your e-mail when you open up Outlook, offering powerful new ways to collaborate more effectively. For example, you can forward a voicemail or fax. You can even take notes in your voicemail message or search for old voicemail messages. No more notes stuck to your monitor!
Messages on Your Terms
Over the years new releases of Exchange Server have introduced innovative ways to access e-mail messages. Some people prefer to use a rich desktop client such as Microsoft Outlook. Some people want to get their messages in a Web browser from a machine that does not have Outlook installed, such as an Internet kiosk. For them there's Outlook Web Access (OWA). As mobile phones continue to proliferate and people find themselves increasingly on the go, they need e-mail delivered to their phones. That's why in Exchange Server 2003 we introduced Exchange ActiveSync, which pushes e-mail messages directly to your mobile device.
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