With a recession comes a weeding out process in the business world. Those companies with the right people, making the right decisions, and implementing the right strategies will come out of the recession with flying colors while those that do the opposite will be a distant memory. With the advent of new communications technology and the gaining popularity of innovative programs with the sole purpose of increasing profitability and giving competitive advantage the impact of a recession will be significantly reduced for those businesses that adopt these solutions. As a result, they will have a higher probability of survival and eventual success. 82P8XBV6TZ44
Recent advancements in communications technology that have only scratched the surface in market penetration such as SIP Trunking will also help companies minimize the effects of a recession. Session Initiation Protocol (SIP) raises the bar of Voice over Internet Protocol (VoIP) communications by adding intelligence to business processes and providing companies with greater control over their communications. In simple terms, SIP supports any form of real-time communication regardless of whether the content is voice, video, instant messaging, or a collaboration application.
Many companies have made the transition to Voice over Internet Protocol (VoIP) based phone systems; however, most are only using it for communication on the LAN. In this scenario VoIP is only being used as a one-to-one replacement for traditional telephony. These businesses realize a sound return on investment by lowering administrative costs as well as costs associated with calls made within the company. SIP trunking, on the other hand, provides a greater return because it takes VoIP a step further. For instance, full potential for IP communications can be realized only when communication is taken outside of an organization’s LAN. SIP trunks thus eliminate the need for local PSTN (Public Switched Telephone Network) gateways, costly BRIs (Basic Rate Interfaces) or PRIs (Primary Rate Interfaces). Furthermore, it directly operates with existing IP PBXs so there is no need for additional hardware.
Unified Messaging Service (UMS) is being introduced to replace the Integrated Messaging Solution (IMS). While it delivers almost the same functionality that was available on IMS, the UMS solution dramatically simplifies the installation and configuration. It delivers the user with two client interfaces through which voicemail messages can be retrieved from VoiceMail Pro. When using a mail client new voice mails arrive as an email with wave attachment and the user can handle them like every other email. If a voicemail has been listened to, its status will change to “read” everywhere. If the user deletes it, it will be deleted everywhere.
Users that have UMS access enabled just need to add an additional email account to their client to be able to use the unified messaging features.
The instructions how to add this account and configure the web address for the VoiceMail Pro Web Access can be provided by an administrator email without the need for system administration or Business Partner support.
VoiceMail Pro Web Access
The second interface the UMS license offers to the users is a web interface allowing voicemail access via a web browser, such as Internet Explorer 7 or Mozilla Firefox, with the ability to listen to targeted voicemails by using either the PC’s multimedia equipment or the desk phone.
The System Status Application (SSA) is a diagnostic tool for system managers and administrators, in order to monitor and check the status of IP Office systems. SSA shows both the current state of an IP Office system and details of problems that have occurred.
To assist with fault finding and diagnosis, the information reported is a combination of real-time and historical events as well as status and configuration data.
SSA provides real-time status, historic utilization and alarm information for ports, modules and expansion cards on the system.
SSA connects to all variants of IP Office 4.0 and higher software, using an IP connection that can be remote or local.
As well as the usual dialing keys, Avaya digital and IP phones have dedicated function buttons like Mute, Volume, Hold, Conference and Transfer. In addition to these, on many Avaya digital and IP phones there are keys that can be programmed with a range of selected special functions. These keys can be used for calling other extensions on the system (Direct Station Select or DSS keys), or can be used for options from speed dialing numbers to controlling features such as Do Not Disturb. Many features use an indicator to show whether a feature is enabled. Button programming is done through the IP Office Manager application as part of the system configuration, although some phones allow the user to program buttons and functions where given administration rights.
Computer Telephony Integration (CTI) is about bridging the gap between the telephone system and business applications. On IP Office, this is achieved by use of the IP Office CTI Link, a CTI middleware product and Software Developers Kit.
On IP Office, CTI is delivered through adherence to open standards. This gives businesses access to a wide range of third-party solutions, addressing vertical markets, and designed to meet their requirements. For developers, migrating their offering from other platforms to IP Office is quick and easy, and the advanced CTI features IP Office offers makes it easy to demonstrate full integration, and more business benefits.
IP Office provides two levels of CTI interoperability: CTI Link Lite, which is free of charge, provides all the functionality required to support the vast majority of applications, including screen-popping, and many third-party products.
CTI Link Pro provides enhanced functionality, including the ability to control multiple telephones and gives access to advanced call center operation.
Because IP networking is integrated into the IP Office system, all CTI is done through the LAN. On many other systems, CTI is delivered by a physical connection between each handset and computer (first party CTI). This introduces additional points of failure, as well as relying on non-standard interfaces and handsets. On IP Office, all devices can be used with CTI.
In addition to providing a unified mailbox for voicemail messages, emails and fax message, VoiceMail Pro can also provide the ability to retrieve email messages through the telephone.
When operating in INTUITY mode, using a Microsof Exchange server and with the system licensed for Text-To-Speech (TTS) facilities the user will be presented with a list of both voicemail messages and email messages. The emails can be read out over the telephone in any of the supported 14 languages, based upon the system or user localization settings. The benefit to the user is that their messages are now accessible while in and out of the office through any telephone.
When accessing messages through the telephone all new voicemail messages will be presented to the mailbox owner before any new email messages. When accessing an email message the system refers to the message as “New message with text”.
Configuring the reading of emails to users is a simple exercise:
- TTS services will be loaded onto the VoiceMail Pro server (the Avaya TTS media pack will install the Avaya TTS engine)
- A TTS license key will need to be purchased and entered into IP Office manager
- For each user who is wishes to utilize email reading, the user’s email address will need to be entered into the user profile details in IP Office Manager and the facility enabled through the email reading checkbox.
Where the user has email reading in their voicemail box, they will be able to record a voice reply to the email, and send it as a .WAV attachment to a reply email to the person who sent the email.
VoiceMail Pro provides an easy-to-use, multi-level configuration tool (the VoiceMail Pro client) which allows network managers and system administrators to construct an interactive menu system, based upon DTMF telephone key entry. This allows an Auto-Attendant system to be built and configured to suit business needs, be that on its own or as a back-up for the regular operator when call volumes are high. VoiceMail Pro offers the caller the ability to dial the name of a person via the phone keypad (like “Text” messaging on cell/mobile phones). In response the auto-attendant offers the caller a best match name or if there is more than one, a selection list is offered and the caller can select which one they want to call.
As an example, VoiceMail Pro can be used to build an Auto-Attendant that prompts callers to “enter 1 for sales, 2 for support, 3 for admin, or 0 for the operator” allowing them to be transferred to the appropriate department without operator intervention. Alternatively, a list of personnel and their extension numbers could be listed, allowing the caller to directly access the person they want. For larger companies it could be department name listed first, followed by the list of employee extensions within the department.
The latter two examples are ideal where company telephone operation has changed from a central operator to Direct Dialing (DDI/DID), allowing callers to “learn” the required extension number from the prompting of VoiceMail Pro, and then in future dial the extension number, or other pre-defined variables, directly. Auto-Attendant operation is also ideal where multiple languages are required, for example “Dial 1 for English, 2 for German, 3 for French, …”.
While not directly supplying or supporting fax software, integration with fax to the desktop or client fax applications can be done through the use of fax servers. This then allows an email client (for example Microsoft Outlook) to be utilized as an easily affordable unified messaging solution. The many benefits of unified messaging include security (as faxes are sent to the users PC rather than on paper for everyone to see), ease-of-use and efficiency in terms of storage and retrieval of messages and the great gains that can be made in overall workforce efficiency and productivity.
To enhance the support of third party fax solutions, VoiceMail Pro supports the automatic detection of incoming fax calls. Traditionally a dedicated telephone number is provided for all incoming fax calls. In addition to, or as an alternative to, the VoiceMail Pro ‘Menu’ action or a subscriber’s voicemail box (INTUITY mode) can automatically detect any incoming fax calls and then direct the call to a predefined location. The benefit to a business or user is that only one number is required for either voice or fax calls.
The VoiceMail Pro can store the default fax location for the automatic routing of fax calls. Alternatively, with fax tone detection at the voicemail box, each voicemail box can have a fax location number. If a voicemail box owner has set his or her own fax number, then that number is used instead of the default fax location.
Voicemail box subscribers can set their own fax number through their mailbox menus.