Unified Messaging
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If your business uses a whole host of messaging systems, please pay attention moves are afoot to establish a single communications platform.

In this section we discuss the growth in messaging systems, and the resulting need for a single unified system.

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  • The first form of messaging can be traced centuries back in the form of letters.

  • Then came the telephone.

  • From the telephone came telex, then fax machines.

  • Then came the mini-bleepers.

  • Then pagers.

  • Now we have mobiles.

  • Video phones connected to computers give us video conferencing.

But what now?, As more and more people in society buy their own messaging devices there will be an inevitable shift, from the messaging device manufacturers to combine features within their devices.

Expect the next generation of 'Mobile Communication Devices' to incorporate telephony, video conferencing as well as flood blooded e-mail and internet access.

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The biggest problems are the vast variety of message types that can be sent:

  • E-Mail

  • Fax

  • Voice Mail

  • Video Conferencing.

These messages based on current technologies can be sent via a telephone/mobile phone connection mobile phone, telephone, computer, handheld, etc).

The major problem at present has been trying to combine the message types into a single mass market deliverable system.

Telephone and internet companies are developing solutions to try and solve the problems of developing a unified messaging system, for example Nortel's on line service allows users to access their faxes and calls whilst they go on line, while other messages can be retrieved from a message box. This concept allows users to have a single telephone number for managing their communication needs, without the need for additional telephone lines for their telephones and fax machines.

Perhaps the lack of public awareness and acceptance of using such networks as Nortel will prevent them being fully established.

The consumer demands a simple single telephone communications device from which they can access all their communication needs, this does not necessarily mean using a PC, indeed there will be a shift towards a standalone device.

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In our Wap strategy we discuss the  major software platforms which the next generation of communication devices will may use either WAP, i-mode, symbian or the Microsoft Pocket Explorer software.

The hardware platform will probably come in the shape of the third generation mobile phones which will be technically proficient enough to handle all the communication needs.

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In the UK alone, there are over 700m short text messages sent on mobile phones alone, with probably half that amount sent as e-mails both at work and at home, juts imagine how many messages will be sent on a unified messaging system!.

Everyone within the world of business must become aware of the potential of the unified messaging system. 

Salesmen could be sent out into the marketplace to get sales, with a handheld device they could get consumer orders and signature. This order data could then be sent over a network to the business central computer the goods could then be delivered overnight to the consumer, whilst the business electronically manages its stocks and production control. 

Like the Internet exploded the use of the PC as a mass market communication device, the unified messaging system will take the internet and communication to the next stage.

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