If you want to send a message to a colleague or entity, you will most likely choose to send an SMS using your mobile phone. On the other hand, if you want to know whether a co-worker is available for a quick meeting, you will want to use Instant Messaging to start an IM session.

With a plethora of different messaging systems, we have more choices than before to create and share multiple messages. It’s also a channel that has created a new problem that is how do we access and manage these messaging systems we use on a daily basis. We have become so used to working with the different messaging system, that it becomes hard to notice as we hop between messaging systems and devices in our daily lives, selecting the best system to meet each of our messaging needs.

Unified messaging (UM) aims to tackle this problem by providing a user-friendly interface that unifies these stratified messaging systems. UM requires you to know only those who you want to communicate with, and it will help you choose the right messaging system to fulfill your needs. With unified messaging, you will access a list of valid communication options such as email, text messaging, and IM, depending on the capabilities of a certain contact. The user can specify their preferred method of communication. But, the unified messaging system can determine the most appropriate way to deliver your message to a certain location.

What is Unified Messaging?

Unified messaging also referred to as UMS or unified messaging system is the handling of text messages, voice, and fax in a single mailbox that is accessible by the user using a regular e-mail client or telephone. The user can open and play the voice messages on their monitor or even save and print fax images when the needed.

The same mailbox can be accessed by telephone where email notes inform of text messages are converted into audio files then played back. UM is useful for mobile business people as it provides them with a convenient channel where they can reach friends and customers through a computer or telephone.

Benefits of Unified Messaging

Unified messaging has great value in a business. For the common business persons, UM may offer the following benefits.

  • Simple to use interface allowing clients to use a single messaging system
  • Device information convergence, whereby users can access all messages including emails, SMS, IM, and more on their devices
  • Convenience because only a single sign-in is required to access one interface with a converged message system.

Business reaps a lot from these benefits and they also record improved productivity, increased employee communications, and a converged business directory.

Service providers get increased revenues from the messaging systems and also enjoy the privileges of owning a UM portal. In addition, providing UM makes the service provider stand out from competitors and can help build a strong customer base and maintain strong relationships. 

Unified messaging is also important to system administrators since it provides a centralized messaging system with administrative capabilities. With this system, the administrator can control the messaging traffic since all messages pass through a single UM server. This also allows the enterprise to have a single control system for message back up to meet the regulatory requirements. It is important to ensure that frequent updates and changes are made to the UM systems to make achieve the right results.

Enabling Unified Messaging for Users

When UM is set up to an Exchange 2007 environment, the recipient administrators can enable UM for mailbox-enabled users in the Active Directory.

Once the mailboxes are UM-enabled, voicemail, email, and fax messages can be delivered immediately into their inboxes. Customers can benefit from the unified mailboxes, such as Outlook Web Access, Outlook 2007, telephones, and Windows Mobile with Exchange ActiveSync.

As you continue to understand UM concepts and systems including the Exchange environment, you will find it easy to administer Unified Messaging users from the command prompt using the following cmdlets:

  • Enable- UMMailbox
  • Disable-UMMailbox
  • Set- UMMailbox
  • Get-UMMailbox

You can start by learning how to use Unified Messaging-enabled users using Exchange Console to become more accustomed to the rest of the system.


As more advanced communications channels (fax and voice) continue to emerge, a new and efficient way of storing and providing access to information is required. The UM system provides that capability, so it is essential to learn the capabilities of these systems to choose the right one for your organization. It’s expected that UM will transform the way individuals and enterprise send information in future.

Your business needs every cog in your machine to be as productive as possible. With 8x8's Team Messaging System your business gets the unified messaging it needs without the need for multiple disparate systems. Call 1-866-716-0742 or fill out an online form to request a no-obligation quote from an 8x8 product specialist.

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