Last time, we defined unified messaging and unified communications as two distinct technologies. Today, we\u2019d like to disagree with the notion some analysts hold that unified messaging is dead and voice over IP-based unified communications is the only technology to consider.As our readers will recall, unified messaging supports desktop fax and visual voicemail. The desktop fax feature allows users to send, receive, print and file a fax just as easily as they can send, receive, print and file e-mail. Visual voicemail works much the same way; voicemail \u201cfiles\u201d can be viewed, retrieved and filed just like e-mail.To support our claim that unified messaging is alive and well, we\u2019ll cite a conversation we had recently with a company that has installed a TDM-based unified messaging system. The company\u2019s business case supporting the installation was made entirely on the savings realized by bringing fax to the users\u2019 desktops.The savings came from three factors: user time saved, reduced telephone lines and the elimination of multiple fax machines. User time to send or receive a fax is about six to eight minutes per transmission; outgoing broadcast faxes multiplies this time consumed. While a few minutes per day doesn\u2019t sound like much, it can add up to saving one or two workweeks per employee per year, depending on how many faxes are sent or received per user.Telephone line costs were reduced because the incoming fax goes to a fax server, which redirects the fax to the intended user\u2019s inbox. Outgoing line costs were also reduced because fax images could be sent to other e-mail addresses. And multiple fax machines were eliminated.The bonus savings were realized when users got a visual voicemail system for \u201cfree\u201d because the business-case ROI analysis didn\u2019t even consider user voicemail management time saved. While the company hasn\u2019t conducted a time-saved analysis for visual voicemail, users are delighted with the desktop voicemail component.Bottom line: Sometimes we fall in love with cool technology, but saving a few minutes per day can add up to some big rewards. Remember, convergence isn\u2019t just about VoIP.Next week, we\u2019ll take a look at some issues with convergence-related management and security we believe still need to be solved.