• United States
by Steve Taylor and Larry Hettick

Unified and loving it

May 19, 20032 mins

* Larry Hettick tries out unified messaging in rush hour

Larry recently signed up for a unified messaging service and has been delighted with the results so far.

The service integrates fax, voice mail, and e-mail. One of the ways Larry uses the service is as a personal assistant. On a recent road trip, driving through stop-and-go Los Angeles rush hour traffic, Larry decided to give the mobile personal assistant a try.

Since rush hour traffic is a bad time to check voice mail using DTMF (touch-tone) prompts, Larry used the speed dial on his cellular phone and “talked” to his computer assistant to listen to, answer, delete and save his voice mail. No DTMF tones were required once the system answered.

The system allows Larry to place a call to the voice mail originator, to anyone using the service (using their name), or anyone else on Larry’s contact list. So while driving, Larry safely called John in the middle of retrieving voice mail messages. Once the call was complete and John hung up his phone, Larry was placed back into the voice mail system where he left off.

Next, Larry placed a call to his brother – not a system user, but someone who is on Larry’s contact list. The system located Larry’s brother Michael and asked Michael if he would accept a call from Larry. Again, once the call was complete, Larry was returned to the voice mail system.

Phone calls made from the system are charged to Larry at very competitive rates, and multiparty conference calls are also available.

While retrieving voice mail, Larry was kept updated by the UMS on the status of his incoming e-mail (three received) and faxes (none received), being told who was sending the e-mail and the e-mail titles. Incoming updates could also be silenced, at Larry’s request.

We’ll continue with Larry’s UMS experience next time.