Messaging enables users to manage all of their messages, in particular emails and voicemails, in one place. Since the main messaging platform is typically email, IP Office Preferred Edition enables voicemails to be managed via the email system in order to keep all messages synchronized through one user interface. Essential Edition also enables some basic messaging through the ability to forward voicemail messages to the user’s email inbox.
Voicemail in general provides a telephone answering machine with a personalized greeting on every employee’s desk and allows callers to leave spoken messages when the user cannot answer a telephone call. Voicemail messages are retrieved either locally or remotely via any telephone (users are prompted for a PIN if they are using any telephone other than their allocated extension or a trusted location e.g. mobile telephone).
The voicemail server is multi-lingual and can offer different prompts depending on the user’s preferred language, independently of the default system setup. Similarly, external callers can hear prompts in their own language depending on their incoming call route (e.g. based on caller ID).
Voicemail options available are:
1. Up to 40 in a single-site environment, additional ports can be added in a SCN environment by Distributed VoiceMail Pro.
2. The first two ports are included in the basic IP Office system price. Additional 4 ports can be purchased and licensed separately.
In environments like retail or home office, where space, noise or cost considerations rule out using a PC for voicemail, Embedded Voicemail will be the favored option for an entry-level voicemail service. As built-in functionality of the IP500 and IP500 V2 hardware it requires no separate server. The Embedded Voicemail is enabled by purchasing the IP Office Essential Edition.
Key features of Embedded Voicemail include:
IP Office VoiceMail Pro is enabled by the IP Office Preferred Edition and is the most advanced messaging and call flow application for IP Office systems. It can handle up to 40 simultaneous calls depending on license and system settings. Each user has the option of turning their voicemail on or off. When on, the system automatically answers their telephone when they are not available to take a call, plays a personal greeting, and records a message.
When a message has been left, the user will see a message-waiting lamp lit on their telephone and can press a retrieval button to collect their messages.
VoiceMail Pro can also ring the user to deliver any new messages. Voicemail messages are time and date stamped and the caller’s number recorded. VoiceMail Pro can be configured to delete read messages automatically, unless the user chooses to save the message permanently.
Voicemails can be collected remotely by dialing into the VoiceMail Pro server. If the number the user is dialing from is recognized (home number or mobile/cell phone for example), the user will listen to their voicemail straight away. If the source number is not recognized, the user will be prompted for a mailbox number and a PIN code for that mailbox, before they can listen to their voicemail. Users have the ability to set and change their own PIN codes.
When a voicemail needs to be forwarded to other users, VoiceMail Pro provides many options:
All options are available in a choice of languages; both spoken voice prompts and graphical programming interfaces and have the choice of IP Office TUI and INTUITY emulation TUI.
Call Flows with VoiceMail Pro for Intelligent Call Handling
At the heart of VoiceMail Pro is the ability to construct call flows from a series of different building blocks. These building blocks allow automation over tasks like answer a call, listen for tone-dialed digits, make a call etc. VoiceMail Pro call flows allow far more than just guiding a user to the group or extension they require. Call flows allow VoiceMail Pro to dial back users as soon as a voicemail message is left for them, it provides remote access to phone forwarding settings should a user wish to change their Forwarding or Follow Me number from an external telephone. VoiceMail Pro provides message handling for individuals or groups, audio information to callers so assisting the operator during periods of heavy call activity and links to business applications through services such as Text-to-Speech. VoiceMail Pro provides a full telephony applications environment where call flows can be set up and interact in real time with business workflow – callers can interact via menus and data entry and VoiceMail Pro applications can speak back results. For example, users can listen to their email messages through the telephone.
Integration with email systems is provided by the VoiceMail Pro Unified Messaging Service (UMS) which is delivered to eligible users as part of the Office Worker, Teleworker or Power User license. It enables VoiceMail Pro to interact with email systems to provide a synchronization of voicemails and their status (new/unread, read, deleted, saved) between all user devices like desk phones, mobile cell phones, the UMS web interface, one-X Portal for IP Office, the email client and other devices that are synchronized with the user’s email account. This will work for email clients that use the IMAP4 protocol (like MS Outlook, Lotus Notes, Mozilla Thunderbird, and many others).
VoiceMail Pro and Exchange Server 2007
Advanced collaboration between VoiceMail Pro and Microsoft Exchange Server 2007 offers voicemail storage into the Exchange message store. This is the single point of storage for all email and voicemail messages and therefore the single source for all message status information. When a voicemail should be collected using a desk phone connected to the IP Office, VoiceMail Pro will retrieve it directly from the Exchange message store. VoiceMail Pro sends the voicemails not just as emails with a .WAV attachment but as a message formatted as ‘voicemail’ so that Exchange can handle them differently from emails.
If Microsoft Exchange Server 2007 working with a mobility solution server (e.g., a Blackberry Enterprise Server) are used to push emails to mobile devices (Blackberry or similar), VoiceMail Pro will also integrate and deliver voicemails via the Exchange Server to the mobility solution. The mobile device will then be able to present voicemails on the visual voicemail interface (instead of presenting them as emails with an attachment).
Voicemail in a Small Community Network (SCN)
A single PC based VoiceMail Pro server can provide voicemail services to multiple IP Office systems in a Small Community Network over the LAN, WAN or a Frame Relay network. This is referred to as ‘Centralized Voicemail’ and can reduce costs, while facilitating communication between IP Office sites. For resilience, should the main site fail, the Centralized Voicemail will automatically reconnect to an alternative IP Office site.
VoiceMail Pro – More than just Voicemail
VoiceMail Pro offers much more than just a pure voicemail system. Other helpful, convenient, cost and time saving options are:
In summary Voicemail Pro adds:
Voicemail Pro Manager graphical user interface.
Further details on some of the Voicemail Pro Manager functionality listed above are described later in this section.
Increasingly organizations are operating a number of different voicemail systems across a number of sites. In this situation it is important to be able to provide integrated operation between voicemail systems so that messages can be passed between systems and delivered to a user’s mailbox seamlessly. This is achieved by IP Office Voicemail Pro being licensed to support Networked Messaging.
The Networked Messaging Solution defines a common set of features to allow inter-working between Avaya voicemail systems. In Intuity mode, whilst listening to or having listened to a message, the user can select the option to forward the message to another mailbox, the mailbox entered can be any mailbox number on the local system or any mailbox on a remote Avaya system.
The IP Office Networked Messaging facility will allow configuration of up to 2000 remote mailboxes on each Voicemail Pro server and will operate with other IP Office systems supporting this feature, as well as with Avaya Enterprise solutions.
VoiceMail Pro provides an easy-to-use, multi-level configuration tool (the VoiceMail Pro client) which allows network managers and system administrators to construct an interactive menu system, based upon DTMF telephone key entry. This allows an Auto-Attendant system to be built and configured to suit business needs, be that on its own or as a back-up for the regular operator when call volumes are high. VoiceMail Pro offers the caller the ability to dial the name of a person via the phone keypad (like “Text” messaging on mobile cell phones). In response the Auto-Attendant offers the caller a best match name or if there is more than one, a selection list is offered and the caller can select which one they want to call.
As an example, Voicemail Pro can be used to build an Auto-Attendant that prompts callers to “enter 1 for sales, 2 for support, 3 for admin, or 0 for the operator” allowing them to be transferred to the appropriate department without operator intervention. Alternatively, a list of personnel and their extension numbers could be listed, allowing the caller to directly access the person they want. For larger companies it could be department number listed first, followed by the list of employee extensions within the department.
The latter two examples are ideal where company telephone operation has changed from a central operator only based system to Direct Dialing In (DDI/DID), allowing callers to “learn” the required extension number from the prompting of Voicemail Pro, and then in future dial the extension number directly. Auto-Attendant operation is also ideal where multiple languages are required, for example “Dial 1 for English, 2 for German, 3 for French, …”.
The Voicemail Pro Manager provides the ability to construct powerful interactive systems based upon DTMF telephone key entry. This is achieved by using the flexibility provided from the built in call flow actions. As a caller passes through any part of a defined call flow the system is capable of interacting with most third party databases through the use of the standards based ADO interface (ActiveX data objects). The system is capable of retrieving information from a database and writing information into databases. The result of this is that powerful Interactive Voice Response systems (IVR) can be designed to specifically meet the requirements of the business and the customer experience that is required.
Example interactive systems that can be built as a result of these facilities include: Information Bulletin Boards, order taking and order processing systems, front end systems to Help Desks/Support Desks, Contact Centres, secure access to information through PIN checking, survey systems, remote time sheet management, etc.
The ability to interact with Database information is enabled through the purchase of the IPO LIC – IP400 3rd PRTY IVR RFA license key. The entry of this key will enable the operation of four new Database Action Icons within the Voicemail Pro Manager GUI.
The new database actions that are provided through the Voicemail Pro Client are:
Interaction with the opened database is done through Structured Query Language scripts (SQL). An administrator can enter SQL script directly into the specific section of the Database Execute action. For administrators that are not familiar with SQL scripts, a script can be created automatically through the use of a SQL Query Builder Wizard.
Text-to-Speech (TTS) can be used to further enhance IP Office IVR and call flow capabilities; TTS facilities can enhance the callers experience by allowing the system to read back to them any information that has been extracted from a database. For example, in a book shop, the caller dials into the system and is asked for an ISBN number of the book they require. The caller enters the ISBN through the telephone keypad and the system locates the title of the book from the database. As well as finding the title, the system could also look up the author of the book and whether there were any books in stock. By using TTS, the system could now respond to the call:
“The book, Lord Of The Rings, costing £6.99, written by J R R Tolkien is in stock”.
From VoiceMail Pro Release 6 onwards it is also possible to use Text-to-Speech within call flows or auto attendants for announcements. A call flow / auto attendant can be enabled to read text that has been created by call flow actions and offers much more flexibility because there is no longer the need for pre-recorded and static announcements. If there is a change to an announcement the call flow action will create the new announcement and will play it to the caller.
The IP Office Advanced Edition contains 8-port 3rd party Text-to-Speech capability and can be used either with a TTS engine that has to be purchased separately or – when no 3rd party engine is installed – with the Microsoft TTS engine which is part of the Windows operating system.
An alternative is the Avaya TTS license which adds a TTS engine available in 22 different languages:
The VoiceMail Pro call flow programming interface allows an administrator to provide Visual Basic (VB) scripted logic that can be interpreted by the VoiceMail Pro server. This ability enables system administrators to program the voice system via VB Scripts thus providing additional choice and flexibility in providing IVR applications. The VB script action contains a VB-Scripting parser (Syntax checker) to ensure the legitimacy of the administrator derived VB Script before its incorporation. Each VB script action used within a call flow can contain a maximum of 10,000 characters; however a call flow may contain multiple VB script actions within it.
On a right mouse click in the VB Script window the methods and variables are available will be listed to assist when constructing call flows.
Contact-ability is all-important in winning and maintaining business. Voicemail Pro offers users the ability to remotely turn their voicemail on or off, set their email forwarding, edit their call forwarding and follow me numbers. Together these actions provide a comprehensive Personal Numbering service for the user who needs to remain in contact regardless of their physical location.
Users with Mobile Twinning configured are able to remotely activate their twinning capabilities through VoiceMail Pro call flow.
In Intuity emulation mode, the Voicemail Pro system has the ability to hold a number of greetings within each users mailbox that can be played to a caller. In addition to the standard mailbox greetings, the extended personal greetings provide the ability to present the caller with a greeting that reflects where the call has come from (internal or external) or why the called party is unable to take the call. A mailbox user can configure the responses that are played back to the caller, based upon the reason the caller was routed to the Voicemail.
The supported call states are:
A greeting can be recorded for each of the above conditions through the Telephone User Interface (TUI). If a recording is made for each condition the order of play back to a caller will be:
A mailbox owner will need to record greetings against these conditions to deliver the greeting that they wish to present to a caller. one-X Portal for IP Office & Phone Manager Pro users can record and manage their voicemail greetings through the application GUI.
Group Broadcast Messages
With VoiceMail Pro, two modes of operation exist for the handling of hunt group messages. The method used is configured for the group through the IP Office Manager.
Personal Distribution Lists are only available with VoiceMail Pro when operating in INTUITY emulation mode. The feature provides the ability for a user to distribute a voicemail message to a list of recipients simultaneously. Lists can be configured by a voicemail box subscriber either through their voicemail box telephone user interface (TUI) or through the desktop PC application Phone Manager Pro.
The features available to a voicemail box subscriber include:
As standard, VoiceMail Pro allows for a simple voicemail alert where the entire voicemail is forwarded (copied) as a .WAV attachment to any MAPI or SMTP compliant email application. (Microsoft Outlook, Exchange, Lotus Notes, etc.) Forwarding allows emails and voicemail messages to be unified and collected from a single source.
This simple alert option that forwards only the caller?s number in the subject of the email is ideal for use with commercial Short Message Systems (SMS). This information can be forwarded to the display of a mobile/cell phone when the user is away from the desk. The email notification, forwarding and copying, can be done for all voice messages and can be activated remotely. This is beneficial if you are working from home and have an email connection available.
Forwarding voicemail to email is one element of unified messaging and is particularly useful for group voicemail boxes as it allows a single voicemail message to be copied to the email of every member in that group.
Unified Messaging Service (UMS) provides the integration of VoiceMail Pro with email systems. A very simple installation and configuration process enables users to manage their voicemail messages by using the device of their choice including email clients or mobile devices. UMS is licensed on a per-user basis as part of the IP Office Power User, Teleworker and Office Worker.
Depending on the existing infrastructure UMS can be integrated with IMAP-based email solutions as well as with Microsoft Exchange Server 2007 environments
Voice Mail Synchronization via IMAP
Email applications such as Outlook which support IMAP can connect to an IMAP server integrated with the VoiceMail Pro server.
New voicemails arrive as emails with a .WAV attachment and the user can handle them like any other email. If a voicemail has been listened to, its status will change to “read”, independent of the device that has been used to access the voicemail. If the user deletes it, it will be deleted everywhere.
Users that have UMS access enabled just need to add an additional email account to their email client to be able to use the unified messaging features. No additional client software installation is required.
The instructions how to add this account and configure the web address for the VoiceMail Pro Web Access can be provided by an administrator by email without the need for system administration or external support.
VoiceMail Pro UMS Web Access
The second interface UMS offers to the users is a web interface allowing voicemail access via a web browser, such as Internet Explorer or Mozilla Firefox, with the ability to listen to targeted voicemails by using either the PC’s multimedia equipment or the desk phone.
Integration with Microsoft Exchange Server 2007
As part of UMS, VoiceMail Pro can integrate with the Exchange Server 2007 from Microsoft. Each user with UMS enabled can be configured to use either the IMAP capability (see above) or the Exchange integration. If the Exchange option is selected all voicemails of the user will be forwarded and stored into the Exchange 2007 message store instead of the VoiceMail Pro message store.
VoiceMail Pro is able to deliver new voicemails to Exchange formatted as ?voicemail? which enables Exchange to handle them differently from standard emails. If used in combination with a mobility solution voicemails can be managed using the visual voicemail user interface of the mobile device (e.g., Blackberry).
Integration with fax software, integration with fax to the desktop or client fax applications can be realized through the use of fax servers. This allows an email client (for example Microsoft Outlook) to be utilized as an easily affordable unified messaging solution. The many benefits of unified messaging include security (as faxes are sent to the users PC rather than on paper for everyone to see), ease-of-use and efficiency in terms of storage and retrieval of messages and the great gains that can be made in overall workforce efficiency and productivity.
To enhance the support of Third Party Fax solutions, Voicemail Pro supports the automatic detection of incoming fax calls. Traditionally a dedicated telephone number will be provided for all incoming fax calls. In addition to, or as an alternative to, the Voicemail Pro ‘Menu’ action or a subscriber’s voicemail box (Intuity mode) can automatically detect any incoming fax calls and then direct the call to a predefined location. The benefit to a business or user is that only one number is required for either voice or fax calls.
The VoiceMail Pro can store the default fax location for the automatic routing of fax calls. Alternatively, with fax tone detection at the voicemail box, each voicemail box can have a fax location number. If a voicemail box owner has set his or her own fax number, then that number is used instead of the default fax location.
Voicemail box subscribers can set their own fax number through their mailbox menus.
Most fax solutions can be used in conjunction with IP Office, however the following products have been tested and verified to operate in the above scenarios:
In addition to providing a unified mailbox for voicemails, emails and Fax message, Voicemail Pro can also provide the ability to retrieve Voice and Email messages through the telephone. When operating in Intuity mode and with the system licensed for Text To Speech (TTS) facilities the user will be presented with a list of both Voicemail messages and Email messages. The emails can be read out over the telephone in any of the supported 14 languages, based upon the system or user localization settings. The benefit to the user is that their messages are now accessible whilst in and out of the office through any telephone.
When accessing messages through the telephone all new Voicemail messages will be presented to the mailbox owner before any new Email messages. When accessing an Email message the system refers to the message as “New message with text”.
As part of Voicemail Pro, Campaign Manager enables the gathering of repetitive information (such as brochure requests) to be fully automated, leaving agents free to deal with other more complex calls which require human interaction. A definable sequence of recordings are played to the caller with time in between each recording to allow the capture of the caller’s spoken answers and/or the caller’s key presses via DTMF. At the end of the transaction the caller can be thanked and the completed transaction retrieved by an agent via a web interface or a short code.
Campaign Manager allows calls in queue to “break out” of the queue, or be directed in an “Overflow” situation to complete their transactions thereby increasing customer satisfaction by effecting an ‘answer’ to their call. This ensures that a minimum of customers give up when forced to wait in a queue or even worse, hear a recorded message stating that they are calling outside of “office hours”.
In a Contact Center environment, when agents are busy, an overflow to Campaign Manager relieves congestion and pressure on agent groups. An agent can collect the completed transaction via a web browser or via a short code representing the park slot number of a particular campaign. This number can be pre-programmed under a DSS key and used by agents to access the campaign. If the DSS key incorporates a BLF lamp, that lamp is lit when new campaign messages have been left. Agents then transcribe the caller’s answers into a database or other records.
IP Office Preferred Edition and VoiceMail Pro also offer call recording services that allow the automatic/manual recording of calls for a variety of applications, such as for training purposes or to monitor abusive callers. As standard, recordings can be directed to the called extension’s voicemail box or to any other mailbox for later retrieval. Alternatively, recordings can be stored in a central database for retrieval through a Web based browser by using ContactStore for IP Office.
The system administrator can select whether all calls are required to be automatically recorded or just a selection of calls. Alternatively, calls can be manually selected for recording. If for any reasons resources are not available then a recording may not be taken (for example all Voicemail Ports are busy).
Voicemail Pro provides a number of methods for triggering the recording of a call.
Most of the settings and controls for automatic voice recording are accessed through the IP Office Manager application. The proportion of incoming and/or outgoing calls that should be recorded and the time-period during which Voice Recording should operate can be selected.
The standard Call Recording facilities provided with IP Office and VoiceMail Pro can be extended further by using IP Office ContactStore. IP Office ContactStore complements the voice recording capabilities; it stores and catalogues the recordings so that they are easily accessible for later retrieval. Any recordings that you instruct VoiceMail Pro to “send to the Voice Recording Library” are placed in a database.
IP Office ContactStore is provided with the VoiceMail Pro software CD set and has an inbuilt 45 day trial license. A fully featured IP Office ContactStore system can be installed and used for 45 days from the creation of the first recording. After this time the system will stop taking recordings until a license is purchased and installed onto the IP Office.
IP Office ContactStore has a number of components, these are:
To allow you to search for calls easily, the details of the recordings are stored within a MSDE database. It contains one record for each call recorded and additional records for each party on the call and the owner of the call. The information that is held for any recording is:
Recordings within IP Office ContactStore are stored as .WAV files. IP Office ContactStore uses the G.726 16kbps ADPCM compression standard, which provides the best compromise between storage capacity and CPU loading. IP Office ContactStore is designed to perform compression as a background task, which does not impact the systems ability to record, search or play other calls. It takes approximately 1 minute to compress a two hour recording. The compressed recordings are stored as 16kbps G.726 format, storage requirements are therefore 8MBs per hour of recording.
IP Office ContactStore stores recorded calls with certain security in place. Access to recordings is strictly controlled according to the security constraints configured within the System Administration pages. Each recording has an owner; the call owner is the number of the station that recorded the call. You can specify to which stations each user has replay rights; the user can search for and replay all calls “owned” by those stations. Typically an individual may be given rights to replay calls owned by their station number while managers may have rights to the station numbers of all of their staff.
The system will automatically generate alarms showing system warnings. Alarms are logged to IP Office ContactStore’s database and held for a month before being purged. The administrator can define specific Email addresses for alarms to be automatically forwarded to. The email recipient could be a local system administrator, a manned help-desk and/or suppliers’ support desks if you have a support agreement that includes this facility.
The system sends an email message each time an alarm occurs or is cleared. It also sends an email once per day as a “heartbeat” to let you know it is still operating. Failure to receive the daily heartbeat message should be investigated; it could indicate that the server has failed.
IP Office ContactStore allows replay of recordings by means of a browser-based application that is accessible with Internet Explorer (IE) V6.0 and higher. The Search and Replay facilities include the following features:
Solutions for your attendants and operators
Tools such as voice mail and PhoneManager improve the productivity of your business by helping your employees perform both necessary and optional tasks with greater comfort and ease. Additional Avaya IP Office applications make your business more efficient by minimising the steps employees and customers take to arrive at great service.