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Johanne Torres[December 13, 2004]

As Voicemail Turns 25, Avaya Releases Modular Messaging 2.0


Voicemail has come a long way since its invention 25 years ago. With advancements like tapeless/digital recording, and telecom-hosted voicemail, customers now trust in the technology that keeps their calendar and personal relationships in check.

In 1979, the original patent application for voice mail was submitted from a company called VMX (for Voice Mail Express). VMX was later sold to Octel Communications, which in turn was purchased by Lucent Technologies. The enterprise voice messaging division became part of Avaya (quote - news - alert) when the company spun off from Lucent Technologies (quote - news - alert) in 2001.

Since then, Avaya has been providing businesses with the latest in voicemail services and innovative products. As we celebrate the 25 th anniversary of this indispensable business communication tool, Avaya is announcing the release of its Modular Messaging. The product, among other things, will enable users to choose to leave a message or ask the system to search for the mailbox owner via cell phone, home phone or other reach numbers. When a message is left, a mailbox owner can request to be alerted by phone, pager, text message or email, for all types of messages.

The company has beautifully integrated voice with Web applications bundled into a business communication super-tool. Using a PC interface, these features can be easily tailored by users for time of day, day of week, type of caller and other variables, enabling greater control and more targeted customer responsiveness.

The Avaya Modular Messaging 2.0 supports four to 144 ports and one to 20,000 voice mailboxes, and stores up to 15,000 hours of messages. Using Internet Protocol (IP)-based networking, the system can support multiple locations without requiring a separate server in each office. This server consolidation can translate into lower capital expenses and lower administration and management costs. The global solution supports multiple languages per system and enables workers to use up to three caller-selectable call-answering languages per mailbox.

Messaging applications are linked to the communications server, PBX or public network via the Messaging Application Server. For reliability, one or more Messaging Application Servers can be off-line for maintenance or service without disrupting system availability to users and callers. Message Storage Servers provide storage for up to five Messaging Application Servers, or companies can choose to store messages on their Microsoft Exchange or IBM Lotus Domino servers.

Using industry-standard protocols including AMIS (Audio Messaging Interchange Specification) and VPIM (Voice Profile for Internet Mail)-digital, Avaya Modular Messaging can be networked with existing Avaya messaging systems, providing investment protection as companies migrate to the new system. The SMTP-MIME protocol enables Avaya Modular Messaging to communicate with other standards-based voice, fax and email messaging systems for greater flexibility in integrating with multi-vendor networks.

Users features include:

  • Modular Messaging Message Application: Connects to the voice/fax communication network for call answer and message access, “find me,” notification and message waiting services.
  • Modular Messaging Web Client: Enables users to “surf into” modular messaging from common Web browsers, including Netscape and Microsoft Internet Explorer.
  • Modular Messaging Add-ins for Microsoft Exchange or IBM Lotus Domino: Enables users to access voice messages from their familiar Microsoft Exchange or Lotus Notes interfaces for easier access to and sharing of multiple types of messages, including voice mail, email and fax.
  • Unified Communication Center Speech Access: Provides access from any phone using natural language interaction with the system’s “virtual assistant.” This advanced speech-based user interface lets users easily manage messaging, calling, conferencing, calendars, tasks and more.

The system is catered to mid-to-large enterprises with 100-200 users and up. Lawrence Byrd, director of communications applications for Avaya, said: “Customers should be able to obtain 20 to 30 percent savings with the new system in place.” The system can be integrated for $50-100 per user. The company has been developing the new product since early 2003, and started shipping it three months ago. So far, Avaya has shipped 1,000 units of the Modular Messaging 2.0 system.

Johanne Torres is contributing editor for and Internet Telephony magazine. Previously, she was assistant editor for EContent magazine in Connecticut. She can be reached by e-mail at

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