In today's highly competitive business environment, effective communication is critical to the success of your business. The more efficiently your business handles its communications, the greater your organization's chance for success and the more effective you're messaging becomes. The consequence of slow message returns, misunderstood or lost messages could mean a loss of business. 

What is Unified Messaging?

Unified messaging (sometimes referred to as the unified messaging system or UMS) is the handling of voice, fax, and regular text messages as objects in a single mailbox that a user can access either with a regular e-mail client or by telephone. The PC user can open and play back voice messages, assuming their PC has multimedia capabilities. Fax images can be saved or printed. 

A user can access the same mailbox by telephone. In this case, ordinary e-mail notes in text are converted into audio files and played back. 

The potential benefits of Unified Messaging are many. For one thing, you can cut down on the number of physical devices. For example, if you can receive faxes on your desktop PC, you no longer need a physical fax machine. This could be attractive to agencies with remote offices or workers. Workers can access a variety of messages through a common message portal, even if they're not physically present. 

Unified messaging is particularly convenient for mobile business users because it allows them to reach colleagues and customers through a PC or telephone, whichever happens to be available. Some services offer worldwide telephone access. 

Also, today's UM products are flexible and agile enough to work with existing technologies, minimizing the amount of investment required. An organization could already have what it takes to add new streams of communication, such as voice mail or instant messaging, to existing e-mail features. 
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