AVST Webinars

AVST Webinar
Unified Messaging 101 - Get Started Checklist — Transcription


Ed: Good day, or I was going to say good morning, good afternoon, depending on where you are. Thanks for joining us today, we certainly appreciate your time, we know how difficult it can be to break away from the workflow and join us for what might be as much as an hour, but typically not.

We are going to talk about unified messaging today. But, first for those of you who may not be familiar with AVST or joining us for the time, we'll tell you a little bit about who we are. As the title of the webinar, certainly we're going to send most of our time talking about unified messaging, both from an industry point of view, as well as ours. Then offer you some considerations for you to contemplate if in fact you're looking at, or planning to deploy unified messaging. As Emily said, we'll have a Q and A session at the end.

So, [inaudible 00:57] AVST stands for applied voice and speech technologies. AVST is a developer of unified communication software with over 15 million users worldwide. Now, unified communications wasn't what we called it 10 years well, well maybe we did 10 years ago, but not 20 or certainly not 30 years ago. When our original product was first developed and brought to market, certainly as you can see, and not to different from many other organizations in this space, over time, name change merges take place.

But the good news is here, all along that time, the original product is what we continue to expand and develop into the product line that we have today. AVST CX series product line is a best in breed unified communications software offering solutions in mobility, voice, and business process. Now as I mentioned, 30 years at this. Because of our seniority in the marketplace, and the amount of time that we've remained independent, we have become a leader in the UC space, because of our strength in interoperability. This is really important to remember, and something we'll talk a little more about later on.

Now, on the top at the slide, we say own your future. We saw that here, while expressing the fact that CX platform offers a very flexible licensing and component architecture. What you'll find is our product in comparison to others in the industry, it's very easy to add UC functionality in the future, if in fact budget doesn't permit it today. This gives you the option to deploy at your pace.

What I mean by this is you won't be required to add servers, and hardware and additional infrastructure on your telephony side. Let's say, for example, just for the sake for adding UC functionality. In our case, it's merely just the addition of licenses.

Lastly, AVST offers a very flexible solution in the CX product line. What you'll hear and see in today's talk, is just how we can support a variety of implementation models as well as remain flexible, if your environment should change. Point being, we'll be able to change along with you.

Now the reason for choosing UM, as the topic of this webinar, is based on recent surveys, like this one, which point out that unified messaging is one of the top, if not the top driver in enterprise unified communications initiatives. As you can see here, [you] almost chosen by 26 percent of the respondents as the top priority, for those organizations who are planning or deploying unified communications.

In fact, in another survey, I just saw recently, we saw UM as high as 46 percent, second only to enterprise voice, which interestingly enough, isn't really listed here as a component of the drivers for this particular survey. This one was more IT based, while another had telephony included. So, in that one, UM was certainly second, but very high in terms of percentage of priority relative to what was going to be important to them when they start to plan or deploy unified communications.

Now, as I've mentioned before, AVST has been around a long time. In fact, AVST has been delivering forms of UM for the marketplace for over 20 years. We in fact, were one of the first to deliver UM to the desktop. So as you can see in this study here done by [Compfusion], AVST is clearly a leader in unified messaging, not only in delivering a more complete solution above all others, but also in our ability to lead the market, even up against the biggest name that's in the industry, like, Microsoft, Cisco, and Avaya.

Most consultants and enterprise customers agree that when planning and deploying their UC infrastructure, rather than expecting a single vendor to provide all UC functionality, one of their highest priorities is an ability to choose best in breed class products for each of those respective UC functions.

So for example, unified messaging, being, we consider ourselves to a best in breed and in fact are rated by Gartner and others as best in breed in unified messaging, that alone isn't enough. What's important to also consider is that, that best in breed product such as us, needs to be able to interoperate with the other UC components making up what is going to be your UC infrastructure.

So integrating with email alone isn't enough and in order to really fit into a UC architecture without being a single brand name or one component of a single brand name product, it's really important that the product you choose is able to interoperate with everything else in that circle.

We talk about the AVST, CX-E, in this case product line, based on three different feature pillars, if you will. So the left you see mobility and a list of features that in fact we employ to make or provide functionality to that mobile use because, of course, we are becoming more and more mobile these days and expected to be just as productive.

So we need to be able to offer features and functionality to the mobile user that give them that ability to remain productive as if they were at their desks and perhaps add some new functionality that they didn't necessarily have before but will obviously be very necessary as a mobile user.

Obviously in our case, unified messaging falls under this heading because of the fact that unified messaging, or I should say, the handheld device, is another device that we all have become so used to having and expect to carry and is certainly a delivery for a messaging of all types, i.e. unified messaging, makes that possible on that handheld device.

In the center there you see UC voice is in fact the core of our product and where this all began and here we bring you speech enablement from an auto attendant capability and all sorts of call processing applications, voicemail and fax.

On the right, business process is our ability to communications enable business process and extend the CX product to a point where we're actually able to access or provide information access and delivery to telephone callers, for example, or provide click to call applications from a web portal or other types of applications internally regardless of what your PBX infrastructure is.

Now I mentioned interoperability earlier on and I hope you recall that because all of this wouldn't be possible without our strength and ability to interoperate in an environment that most undoubtedly will be with this pair of products, not typically a single manufacturing name providing everything else in that UC infrastructure.

So let's narrow it down to unified messaging. Certainly as we pointed out, we're rated best in breed at [inaudible 09:37] UC analyst in the industry and that's because we've been held in high regard because of our longevity and the flexibility that we bring to organizations which we'll be talking about in a little bit.

What you can see here is that we in fact are capable of integrating to a multiple of email systems regardless of if they're premise based, or cloud. There's a lot of movement in that direction, both, at least from an email perspective. But, cloud-based solution are becoming more and more, popular in the UC space as you might have seen from some of these surveys.

The interesting thing that we can provide, is that we can integrate to multiple email servers simultaneously, and this is incredibly important, if in fact, if you're doing, or thinking or doing just what I'm saying. That's moving from a premise-based solution that you might currently have to a cloud based one. So we can be that tool that helps you swing groups of users, departments of users, or entire organizations from one email infrastructure to the cloud based infrastructure, all the while keeping unified messaging in place.

We'll also, show you, from a flexible storage point of view, that we have multiple options in that regard and can accommodate an organization's requirements for confidentiality or perhaps legal regulations that might prohibit them, from actually delivering voicemail to the email inbox, if you will. That's what of course, what most people think of when we talk about unified messaging, but be aware that there are actually other options.

We talked a little bit already about access to the mobile device, and the email client, there's also web interface that can give you access to an email client, or in fact, your voice message are not in email, then we can provide you a web interface for that as well. Text to speech and voicemail to text also going hand in hand with a UM delivery and pretty much an expectation today at this point. Certainly for those that might be international participants of this webinar today, we certainly can provide localization in terms of different international languages, and that's from a text to speech perspective as well.

So as I mentioned before, interoperability, very, very important. We having the experience that we do, regarding our ability to integrate with so many different systems if you will in that UC ring or circle exchange obviously being one of the most popular. We've had an integration to the exchange product line for years. They're a new offering in the cloud, Office 365 of course, we've followed suit along with that and provide UM functionality in that regard. Also, for all the other big players, in fact, with our next version, 8.5, we'll be supplying any additional functionality for the cloud-based concept of unified messaging.

So let's talk about, unified messaging from AVST's perspective, in that we offer flexibility and architectures when it comes to options that you have. The good news with our product, as opposed to some others that you might find in the industry, is that we have an ability to actually mix and match these architectures in a single system.

So, what that really means is, and I'm going to go through in the next couple of slides describing in detail what each of these architecture are, that based on a single user, or department, or maybe a location's requirement, one architecture may not necessarily fit their need as well as another. So, there's no need to be forced into one particular architecture because of the technology that that product provides.

Rather, you should be able to implement UM in such a way that it in fact enables your user community based on their particular requirements. So, hopefully in the next couple of slides, you'll get what I mean by that.

So, what we refer to as server unified messaging, or server based unified messaging, I should say, is the typical one that most of you and everyone else thinks of, when we talk about UM, and that's where voice messages, and perhaps fax messages all arrive in the same single store, the email server. So, all message types are in a single location providing the benefit for everything that single location can do.

Of course, with the exchange example. The terrific things that Microsoft has done there in terms of providing you access to that single message store, to various devices, various interfaces. We can continue to support that whole paradigm and provide unified messaging solution with that exchange product as well. Certainly, we are up to the latest versions of what exchange has out there, and as you have heard me say before, moving towards cloud-based solution with Office 365.

In the server-based unified messaging solution, the interesting thing to note as well as a few others that I'm going to talk about here, everything is synchronized from our unified messaging perspective where our delivery. So if you are expecting a blinking light on your telephone based from the fact that you got a voice message, clearly there is a message waiting in voicemail based on that; however, it's going to show up in your email as well.

Regardless which device you use to listen to that message or act on that message the status of that message should change appropriately regardless of whatever device you look at afterwards. So, if you were to launch and play that message in your Outlook interface then the light on your telephone should go out and certainly the true would be vice versa. Rest assure, in each of our implications you will get that kind of synchronization. That will be true with our implementations into cloud-based solutions as well both from Office 365 and Google Apps applications.

Client-based unified messaging is an alternative that we offer to the server-based solution and this might be necessary in what might be an individual's case, a new department, or perhaps a whole location based on the nature of the kind of work that they do. For example, health care, there may be provisions there or legal issues which prohibit the location of voice messages to email because I know an organization would be obligated to make those voice messages what is known as discoverable for the sake for being able to research historically the messages and or message types that they have stored in that message store.

So, client is another option that gives you access to voice messages stored on our product the CX, so that it's still a desktop solution and still in that familiar email or in this case Outlook client interface, all be it, it would be a different in box. Basically, how we are doing is by making the CX look like another email server.

Many of you may be familiar with the concept of programming your email client to access more than one email server so you can bounce between different in boxes to gain access to those particular messages. So, this would act in fact the same way and provide access to voice messages alone in a separate in box just for CX.

The good news here again as I mentioned before in the server base discussion is synchronization, MWI (message waiting indicator), all those types of things would continue to be in place just as you would expect them to.

Another option which we happen to call secure unified messaging might be even more useful in certain organizations that have a legal department or obligated by legal compliance in order to keep those messages as secure as possible; although those users should not be restricted to only use a telephone in order to listen to voice messages.

So we can provide a unified messaging solution thorough a browser that keeps a message secure and the way in which we do that is not by providing a WAV file attachment to the interface. But, simply stringing that audio, through the interface, making it impossible for the user, to either save that message locally on a hard drive or a USB stick, or to actually to sent it outside the organization altogether.

The message could be shared with other users on the system and forwarded or replied to us. In fact, it was from another user. But, from an outside caller, that message would not be able to leave the organization. And so, this to, could have a place, in the organization depending on what the requirement of that particular user or department are.

In this case, what we call simplified UM, or simple UM, is really more of a message notification that makes it possible using SMTP to send an email to any SMTP enabled address, and notify a user of the fact that they have received a voice message back on the voice message server. Or, in fact send them a copy of the message for instant gratification.

So, in fact, if they were not a UM user but were delivered this simple UM option, they'd be able to listen to a copy of the message on their handheld device, although, back at the office it would still be considered unread or in that new message state. Because this in fact, is a non licensed version of unified messaging making it easy to deploy to everyone in the organization, should some others require some of these other licensed type scenarios.

So, again to support what I was saying before, all four of these options can be deployed on a single system. The server-based version might be suited let's say for the mobile users. While a client based might be better suited for people who are bit more stationary and in the office more often than not. The web-based security version might be good for the legal department, and yet again, simplified might be good for everyone else in the organization should there be limitations to budget or what have you.

We think there, these following considerations for you to contemplate. When considering deploying, or in fact deploying, or consider a product that you might deploy as a unified messaging solution. The reason for this, is that not all unified messaging products in the market are alike.

As I mentioned earlier, your decision on a product should be based more on what's best for the organization and how it operates, now and in the future. Rather than being forced to implement it in one particular way or another, based on that particular technology's requirements.

So, for example, compliance. Does your organization have, as a whole, or perhaps a few departments or even one as I've been saying, legal stipulations. Either based on the industry standards, or some compliance that's necessary for you to comply with. You want a product that can support the organization's expectations for compliance.

Confidentiality in this case, may be just as important as compliance or maybe even more important. Even though your industry might not be bound by laws that require confidentiality, preserving your customer's privacy might be the most important thing to your company's reputation, for example. So, from the president, CEO down, these are things that you might or need to consider when unified messaging is being contemplated.

Configuration, those of you who are in product, you're choosing off a flexible enough architecture to accommodate your existing landscape, as well as the evolution of where that may go. Perfect example of that is, you're a premised-based email organization now. But, there are plans and it looks like that you might be moving to the cloud. Yet, unified messaging is necessary.

So, don't be restricted by a product, that can't take you to the cloud or go with you to the cloud when you move your email infrastructure there. Obviously based on what we've shown you here today, AVST CX-E can accomplish that for you.

Capacity, many other products in the marketplace deliver an all or nothing type solution. Does this play well into your environment? Does implementing UM mean additional costs to the organization in order to support UM in the future? It shouldn't be.

Lastly, costs. Consider all of your costs, not just for implementation, but ongoing maintenance. Don't be caught by that word free, or the phrase it's built in used by many other products that are out there. Make no mistake, that we'll be licensing and maintenance costs for year two and on. Make sure you know what they are. We may have already have accumulated some questions at this point.

Emily: Yes we have, and go ahead if you do have any questions, at this time, you can still type it into the question pane and we'll try to get to all the questions. People are typing so let me just scroll up here. Okay, first question, how will mobile recipients control the mode of message notification and retrieval? Example when driving in a car, or sitting in a meeting.

Ed: Oh, that's a good question, because mobility can be defined in many different ways. The fact that you're away from your desk but just down the hall or in a conference room means your mobile. So, what can use to control that. So, in our case we can provide, not only controls but options that deliver the voice message in a number of different ways to give you access to those messages, regardless of where you are.

So, for example, being in meeting, we all have a tendency to have our smartphones with us, we use to call it the BlackBerry prayer, where you would kind of hide it under the table, but still watch your inbox for things that you might have to tend to or be aware of, yet trying to be courteous to everyone in the meeting.

With the voicemail to text feature that we talked about a little earlier, we would be able to send an email to that same inbox, with a conversion of that voicemail to text so you would be able to read and simply get the gist of what that voicemail message was, without having to disrupt the meeting, or in fact go on the phone to listen to that voice message.

Conversely, while you're in the car, certainly there are some other options, one of which might be, you can actually take the call, firstly, with our mobility functionality rather than letting it go to voicemail just because you're not in the office. Things like Find Me/Follow Me, and those types of applications will work in that regard, if in fact you're capable of taking the call.

Of course, if it's not, then in our case, once again, based on notification that you may have reached you and that could be a call out. Your account may be set up to call you every time you get voicemail. Or in fact, you might just be checking in for messages.

While in the car, the thing you want do is use our speech interface. So that number one, it's legal, and number two, it's safe for you to call in, not looking at your phone or manipulating the interface on your phone. Just simply call in, and say that the system get new messages, or get new voice messages. Once again, using our mobility functionality you'll be able to accomplish that.

Emily: Great, and a follow up question to that, how do you support mobile users, who have a single mobile device, for job and personal communication?

Ed: BYOD, the latest of acronyms in the acronym dictionary, BYOD, bring your own device is a program that is being brought up more and more in many organizations because they may not want to actually issue corporate issues of cellphones. People are more interested in carrying one cellphone, not two, one corporate, one personal.

So, employing our mobility CX mobile apps, while we have one for iPhone and one for Android at this point in time, actually supports a BYOD very well, because in fact you don't need to have your business contacts exposed. You don't need to expose your personal smartphone telephone number to your business contacts if you use it within the context of our mobility feature set.

What I mean by that is when they call the office based on your personal assistant settings the call will be extended to your personal smartphone and you'll in fact get intelligence on who the caller is so if it's very important customer number one you can actually take that call and or make decisions on what to do with that call based on something more important that you might be doing at the time.

Moreover in calling that person back or just calling them in general from the smartphone you could be in your car for example. You could use the CX-E to make that call so that they're getting your corporate caller ID, not your personal cellphone caller ID. And so it works wonderfully for a BYOD or plan in an organization.

Emily: Great, okay next question is are there different types of pricing for the four UM products?

Ed: No, that's a great question. And unfortunately I didn't remember to bring that up. No we have one UM license that works for all and they're interchangeable, if you will. So they're basically in a pool of licenses that are available and get assigned to individuals but if that individual leaves the organization that license goes back to the pool and can be used for any new employee as well as any one of those UM options that we discussed earlier.

Emily: Okay next question is more of a maybe a future product road map or if we have this available now. When we looked at AVST a year ago, AVST's user web interfaces weren't capable of interoperating with standard-based single sign on methods. Are there any plans for this.

Ed: There, in fact, are. And I couldn't actually answer. Product management would have to be on the line to help us with that but in terms of where we are in developing that as a deliverable but I know that it is on the road map and we have plans for it to be available soon although I can't be specific unfortunately at this time.

Emily: Okay and we can also go ahead and follow up with that individual online.

Ed: Sure, sure.

Emily: Next question. Do you have MWI integration with Google Mail?

Ed: I believe we will in the very next release of CX-E version 8.5 but once again without my notes in front of me I would only be guessing. I'd rather check with product management to be sure.

Emily: Right, and again we'll go ahead and follow up with them offline as well.

Ed: Right.

Emily: Okay the next question is about Microsoft Exchange with Lync. Given a Microsoft exchange environment could you talk a little bit about the value added for having AVST in conjunction with Lync?

Ed: Well certainly it wasn't really discussed today but we did talk about our interoperability and so the more I promoted it I probably raised some questions and we in fact do have an integration to the Lync client. And so that just adds one more spoke to the wheel, if you will, with us being the hub in a disparate environment although Microsoft's Lync and Exchange are the same brand product we provide that telephony link, if you will, between the Lync client.

I didn't realize I stepped right into that. The Lync client and whatever dial tone infrastructure you have in your organization. All the while, if in the event that a call doesn't get answered, it will end up in your CX-E voicemail which could ultimately be in your Exchange inbox in fact, if you're a server-based UM user with AVST. I hope I answered that.

Emily: Yeah, I think that was great. Okay the next question they're just asking yes the presentation is being recorded and we're also going to send out a copy of the slide deck so for those of you who didn't jump on right at 10:00 we will give you the slide deck and once we have the link to the video available of the recording we'll go ahead and send that out as well.

Okay the next question, with client-based UM since the message is stored on the CX server, will mobile email clients have access to the message as long as the voicemail folder is accessible on the Exchange server?

Ed: With the CX mobile client, which is a downloadable app, both from the iTunes Store as well the Play Store for Android, you have touch interface through the app to the CX inbox. It's a good question because if you're a server-based user, well then obviously your voicemail will show up in your Exchange inbox. That's the version you look at on your smartphone but if you're a client based or web-based user they don't go to Exchange. So what is the option there? The CX mobile client. It will give you the access to voice messages without you having to call in and listen to them.

Emily: Right. Okay. Next question. Do you still transfer voicemail messages between the Exchange server and the CX server to be played back? How long are messages stored on the CX server after they are put on Exchange?

Ed: I guess there were a couple of questions there. Let me make me sure I do my best to answer them all. We cache copies of recent messages that get sent to the Exchange server or any email server. The purpose for that is to support playback like from the CX rather than having to go over the network and pull that WAV file from Exchange.

There is a buffer that supports a recent amount of messages. It's based on a storage allocation that's determined at the time of implementation. Certainly at some point in time, older messages will not be in the cache stored on CX, at some point as new messages come in and push out the old. But certainly if you wanted to reach back in time and grab an old message if it's still there in Exchange, then of course you'd have access to that as well.

Emily: Next question. Is there any message encryption available for CallXpress?

Ed: That's a question we probably want to take offline just to get a little more understanding of what you're looking for.

Emily: Right, okay. The last question we have is when will CX-E have capability to be installed on VMware Virtual Server?

Ed: CX-E is currently available to be installed virtually. We are VMware ready, certified by the folks at VMware. There's only one real restriction there that the integration to your PBX needs to be an IP based one because if you have a physical connection to your PBX then the need for our telephony card in the physical server is still required. There's no way we can really get around that. As long as you have an IP based integration to the PBX with your CX-E or can move to that then we can certainly virtualize.

Emily: Great. That looks like that's all the questions that we have. Again we'll go ahead and follow up with those of you offline. Again, we'd like to thank everyone so much for joining us today.

Ed did you have anything else you'd like to add?

Ed: No. No. It was great. Thank you very much Emily.

Emily: Thanks everyone. Have a great day.