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Unify your Async Comms with Exchange 2007 Unified Messaging

March 26, 2009
The communications world is split in two — between the things you do on the telephone and the things you do on the computer.
The split occurs as Communications are either Synchronous – Voice Conversations, Video Conferencing and may also referred to as RTC Real Time Communication, or Asynchronous – email, faxes, voicemail.
It seems that we are turning Phones into Computers and Computers into Phones… using software to Voice Enable computers and devices make sense.
Microsoft Office Communications Server  2007 OCS is Microsoft’s RTC suite, Exchange Server 2007 ‘Unified Messaging’ is all about bringing (or unifying) all the Async into one place – email, voice and fax into the inbox.
This post will be all about Exchange UM, I will start another topic in the coming weeks regarding OCS and Microsofts broader Unfied Communications UC strategy (Integrating of OCS + UM to provide unified Sync & Async).
 (Below Source: Microsoft Exchange Server Unleashed)
What is Microsoft Exchange Server 2007 Unified Messaging (UM)? 
Microsoft Exchange Server 2007 Unified Messaging (UM) delivers messaging, fax and email into a unified inbox. These messages can be accessed from a telephone or a computer. UM integrates with the telephony systems, fundamentally operating as a voice mail  server using the Exchange Information Store as a repository for the messages.
Telephony Integration
With Unified Messaging, Exchange is now integrated into the telephony world. This integration takes place between the Exchange Unified Messaging server and gateways or Private Branch Exchanges (PBXs).
In a classic setup of telephony and email systems, there are two seperate networks that deliver voice messages and email messages. In the telephony system, there are seperate components for the PBX, voice mail, external lines and phones. Calls from the PSTN network come into a PBX device. Typically an incomong call is routed by the PBX to the telephone, if the phone does not answer or is busy, the call will be routed to the voice mail system. Similarily, email from the internet arrives at the exchange messaging server. In this classic system, there is no integration or connectivity between the telephony and email systems.
With the introduction of Exchange Server 2007 and Unified Messaging, these two disparate systems are integrated. Although the UM server does not connect directly with a traditional PBX, it does integrate with PBXs via gateways. The combination of the PBX and the IP gateway can also be replaced by an IP-PBX, which provides both sets of functionality.
In effect, the UM server has replaced the voice mail server in the classic system. This new Exchange Server Unified Messaging Server is a voice mail server.
In summary, the Unified Messaging Architecture with its messaging features and telephony integration bring a whole new set of concepts, terminology, and architetcural elements to the Exchange Platform.

In Microsoft Exchange Server 2007, the Unified Messaging server role is one of several server roles that you can install and then configure on a computer that is running Exchange 2007. Unified Messaging (UM) is new to the Exchange product line, and its introduction brings new concepts that may not be familiar to an Exchange administrator.

Unified Messaging combines voice messaging, fax, and e-mail messaging into one store, accessible from a telephone and a computer. Exchange 2007 Unified Messaging integrates Exchange Server with telephony networks and brings the Unified Messaging features to the core of Exchange Server. The following figure illustrates the relationship between an organization’s telephony network components and the Exchange 2007 Unified Messaging system.

The relationship between telephony components and Exchange Server 2007 Unified Messaging

Overview of Exchange Unified Messaging Topology
The features and components of Unified Messaging rely on the functionality of two Exchange 2007 services: the Microsoft Exchange Unified Messaging service (UMservice.exe) and the Microsoft Exchange Speech Engine service (SpeechService.exe).

The following figure illustrates the relationships between Unified Messaging components.

Unified Messaging architecture
Unified Messaging Architecture
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