Cisco Unity and Cisco Unity Connections have three different user interfaces. The interfaces are commonly referred to as the TUI, GUI, and VUI. TUI stands for the telephone user interface and represents the options available via the buttons on the phone (1-9, *, and #). The TUI interface results in dual tone multi-frequency digits (DTMF) in traditional telephony. Forwarding digits in voice over IP, is referred to as DTMF-Relay. DTMF-Relay mechanisms are not turned on by default in VoIP dial-peers configured on Cisco H.323 or SIP gateways.
There are multiple ways to DTMF digits over voice over IP infrastructures, but they can be summarized as out of band (OOB) or in band (IB). DTMF digits forwarded OOB are sent in the signaling protocol (SCCP, SIP, H.323, or MGCP) and not in the real-time protocol (RTP) media stream, although the call setup (signaling) has already occurred. DTMF in band (IB) digits forwarded are sent in the RTP media stream using special payload-type identification (PTI) identifiers in the RTP header. Cisco Type A phones do not support in band DTMF Relay forwarding. Additional information on DTMF Relay can be found in one of my earlier blogs.
The TUI interface is the traditional mechanism in which end users have worked with the voicemail system. The Unity system prompts are presented to the user. By dialing the 1 button on the DTMF pad of the phone, the end user has the ability to listen to their voicemail. Links to the standard conversation TUI documentation appears in the references section at the end fo this blog. Cisco has alternate TUI interfaces that can be loaded to emulate alternative voicemail solutions. This is very useful if Cisco Unity is being used to replace an existing voicemail solution.
Cisco Unity includes various graphical user interfaces (GUI) depending on the licensed features used in Cisco Unity. Cisco Unity includes a component where end users can access their voicemail from a web based interface referred to as the Cisco Unity Inbox (UI). The Unity Inbox is a class of service (CoS) controlled, licensed feature in Unity which allows mobile workers to access their voicemail over a web interface. The Cisco Unity Inbox is a great option for voice mail only deployments with mobile workers who need access to their voicemails. The Unity Inbox is not frequently used in environments that have licensed the unified messaging (UM) features of Cisco Unity. Environments running unified messaging use a client utility for Microsoft Outlook of IBM Lotus Notes. The view mail for Outlook (VMO) or view mail for Notes (VMN) client loads a media master control in the messaging client which allows users to listen to and record voice mails in their E-Mail client without loading another application. Cisco Unity Connection 7.0 also supports the VMO and VMN clients.
Voice recognition is a new new feature of Cisco Unity 7.0. Voice recognition is very CPU intensive. Cisco recommends dedicating at least one server to voice recognition if this feature will be accessed by many end users (subscribers). The voice commands used in Cisco Unity voice recognition is referred to as the voice user interface (VUI).
Standard conversation TUI interface:
Unity 5.x System Administration Guide:
Dennis Hartmann, CCIE No. 15651, is a consultant with www.highpoint.com and author of Implementing Cisco Unified Communications Manager, Part 1. Dennis is also a lead instructor at Global Knowledge. Dennis has various certifications, including the Cisco CCVP, CCSI, CCNP, CCIP, and the Microsoft MCSE. Dennis has various specializations including unified communications, data center, routing & switching, service provider (MPLS and optical). Dennis has worked for various Fortune 500 companies, including AT&T, Sprint, Merrill Lynch, KPMG, and Cabletron Systems. He lives with his wife and children in Hopewell Junction, New York.