Unified messaging combines e-mail, fax, voice mail. The concept has been around for a long time, but however appealing it may seem, has floundered. Writes The Seattle Times:
Two area companies, Active Voice and Captaris, face that challenge as they try to sell unified-messaging systems, telecommunications products that let users receive voice mail, e-mail and even faxes in one inbox.
“The quantification of this business case is a bit tricky,” said Ronald Gruia, an analyst with Frost and Sullivan. It’s hard to convince companies they’ll save enough from greater worker efficiency to justify buying unified messaging, he said.
[Unified Messaging’s] growth is tied to the assumption companies will invest more rapidly in new internal telephone systems that use Internet protocol (IP), Gruia said. The protocol is the same technology that moves data efficiently through the Internet, and some companies are using it to replace an older switch technology, which runs typical voice-communications services.
Companies that do migrate to IP are likely to consider upgrading their voice-mail systems, which are tied to conventional switch technology. The logical step is to choose unified messaging instead of a new voice-mail system, the vendors said.