• United States
by Steve Taylor and Larry Hettick

Pluses and minuses of Larry’s unified messaging service

May 21, 20032 mins

* More on Larry’s experience with a unified messaging service

One of the features Larry likes best about his unified messaging service is the portal screen on his laptop.

It provides an audible tone (as requested by Larry’s profile) and a display of incoming voice mail, e-mail, and fax. By clicking on a title, Larry can listen to his voice mail using his laptop’s speakers when connected to the Internet. Voice mail can also be turned into e-mail with a wave file, then forwarded to anyone with a valid e-mail address, so voice messages can be forwarded to people not using the system.

The only “gotcha” Larry has discovered so far: The speech recognition of Larry’s voice doesn’t work well in a noisy environment like a baseball game or while driving the car during a rainstorm using a cell phone. But the system does appear to learn Larry’s voice and commands as Larry uses the system.

Another small annoyance. If Larry doesn’t specifically give the system a command, the system will begin to go down a lengthy list of the commands available. Future system updates will allow Larry to personalize the command voice prompts.

One of the things Larry misses on this UMS is the lack of integrated instant messaging. However, system administrators will likely add this feature in the near future.

For incoming calls from any caller (not just system users), Larry receives a toll-free phone number. Advanced “follow me, find me” features allow Larry to redirect callers to voice mail, his office, his cell, or his home phone number.

As the system continues to add features (and as Larry continues to learn them) we’ll keep you posted.