Unified Messaging: Fact or Fiction?

Most businesses use multiple different forms of communication in order to go about their business. While these methods may begin as distinct, at a later date they can all become very much incorporated into the conjoined communications of the office. For example, email, voicemail and fax were separately evolving technologies that all became a very much unified part of everyday office procedure.

Similarly, during the 1990s, the first murmurs emerged of a unified system that would marry together all the various types of messaging to ensure that it was no longer necessary to continually flit between various applications and forms of messaging.

For some time, the concept of Unified Messaging seemed a long way off, more talk than a practical reality, but now there are a few companies who are actually beginning to offer it to the public.

A Summary of the Available Unified Messaging Services

AT & T Unified Messaging – AT&T offers an online unified messaging service which can be accessed by users in the following ways:

Web interface
iPhone app
Blackberry app
iGoogle widget
Microsoft Vista sidebar widget
AVST CallXpress Platform

CallXpress is a both hardware and software solution which is aimed at enterprise customers. AVST also provides a server solution which is aimed at mid-sized businesses. Either of these solutions can be incorporated into your existing IT infrastructure.

RingCentral Mobile – This service provides voicemails by email, fax by email, SMS notifications, along with numerous other PBX features. This is a singular, unified service which means that there is no requirement to add it to your office network.

Many online fax services have product lines that could reasonably be described as unified messaging. These are just a couple of examples of ways in which multiple types of messaging can be bundled together.