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    ENABLING TECHNOLOGIES CORP. ENABLING TECHNOLOGIES CORP. Document Transcript

    • ENABLING TECHNOLOGIES CORP. Implementing Exchange Server 2007 Unified Messaging White Paper
    • Contents White Paper.............................................................................................................................................1 Enabling Technologies 2
    • INTRODUCTION The new unified messaging (UM) features in Microsoft® Exchange Server 2007 give enterprise users access to voice mail, e-mail, fax, and calendar information no matter where they’re located. Integrating such an effective unified messaging system with existing enterprise phone systems is a highly technical, complex process that can be time consuming and frustrating for many organizations. That’s why more and more companies are relying on specialized system integrators like Enabling Technologies to successfully implement Exchange Server 2007 Unified Messaging with Private Branch Exchange (PBX) phone systems and IP telephony systems. Over the past several years, Enabling Technologies has worked to help its customers with unified messaging applications that specifically integrate with Microsoft Exchange Server 2003. Enabling Technologies now also performs end-to-end implementation of UM applications that integrate with Exchange Server 2007. Enabling Technologies is using the new features in Exchange Server 2007, along with its own experience in integrating unified messaging with PBX systems, to offer its customers consolidated applications, stronger messaging features, better mobile access, and cost savings. UM SUPPORT IN EXCHANGE SERVER 2007 Exchange Server 2007 Unified Messaging provides robust, interoperable, server-based tools that integrate with workstation and mobile clients to give employees access to voice mail, fax, and e-mail from wherever they are. With UM support in Exchange Server 2007, users can also manage their e- mail, calendar, and personal contacts over the telephone. Exchange Server 2007 UM delivers access through familiar products, such as the Microsoft Office Outlook® messaging and collaboration client and Microsoft Office Outlook Web Access, a variety of mobile devices, and ordinary telephones. Specifically, the UM server carries data from a company’s phone system into the Exchange Server 2007 infrastructure. Because this server stores voice mail and faxes, companies do not need to use separate systems for those messages. In addition, the UM server includes the speech-enabled Automated Attendant, a feature that gives verbal responses to internal callers. The UM server also operates Outlook Voice Access, which gives people access to their mailbox data over the telephone, even when they are calling from outside of the company. These callers can also have e-mail, calendar data, personal contacts, and other information read aloud to them in different languages through the UM server’s text-to-speech function. Deploying a UM solution also helps organizations improve and streamline existing processes, helping them to prepare for future updates to telephony and communications systems. Enabling Technologies, a specialized IT consulting and integration firm based in Baltimore, Maryland, can assist companies with an Exchange Server 2007 UM deployment. Enabling Technologies is a Microsoft Gold Certified Partner that helps organizations install UM systems, in addition to speech- enabled applications, instant messaging, and message networking, which unite voice messaging between various disparate voice mail systems. THE ADVANTAGES OF UM IN EXCHANGE SERVER 2007 By deploying a solution that is based on Exchange Server 2007 UM, organizations gain a number of advantages around communication and information gathering. These include the following. CONSOLIDATED APPLICATIONS With enhanced support for UM in Exchange Server 2007, companies have the ability to consolidate disparate applications. In fact, a single Exchange Server 2007 UM system can host multiple voice mail user groups, each with their own unique set of configuration options. This makes it possible for Enabling Technologies 3
    • companies to host multiple voice mail systems, with distinct settings, policies, and Automated Attendant configurations, on a single server. STRONGER MESSAGING FEATURES Exchange Server 2007 UM offers Enabling Technologies customers much stronger unified messaging features than they could receive previously. “With this new technology, our customers can have access to their voice mail, e-mail, and fax in one centralized inbox,” says Demitri Patsilivas, Director of Sales, Enabling Technologies. “They also have enhanced calendaring features and can use voice commands to access the mailbox.” BETTER MOBILE ACCESS Exchange Server 2007 includes advanced mobility features, such as enhanced Office Outlook Web Access that gives users the ability to check e-mail and voice mail messages through a Web browser. Mobile users can also use Exchange Server ActiveSync® technology to access calendars, reply to and track meeting invitations, and set Out of Office messages from mobile devices. COST SAVINGS Exchange Server 2007 UM also supports site and server consolidation, reducing the total number of servers that are required to provide voice mail and fax service. This consolidation can cut maintenance and support costs, particularly for organizations that have remote or branch offices. In addition, replacing individual offices’ voice mail systems with a single centralized system can dramatically lower costs by eliminating the most expensive component: earlier voice mail hardware. THE CHALLENGES OF INTEGRATION Unified Messaging for Exchange Server 2007 features significant technological advancements, beginning with the UM server itself. These technological aspects present challenges to companies that are unfamiliar with how to integrate a UM solution with their existing PBX systems. Let’s take a detailed look at the technical side of Exchange Server 2007 UM (See Figure 1). As mentioned previously, Exchange Server 2007 UM is implemented by the unified messaging server role of Exchange Server 2007. The UM server: • Provides an entry point for data from a telephone system to the Exchange Server 2007 infrastructure. The UM server allows voice mail and fax messages to be stored in this infrastructure rather than in separate systems. • Contains logical objects that reflect the telephony infrastructure of the organization. A single UM server can support multiple PBX systems by using numbering schemes that already exist within the organization. • Provides a customizable, speech-enabled Automated Attendant service that answers internal and external phone calls and automates dialing through integration with a company’s Global Address List. • Runs Outlook Voice Access, which gives employees telephone-based access to inbox data by using speech or touch-tone recognition. Outlook Voice Access also offers text-to-speech functionality to read e-mail, calendar data, personal contacts, and directory information back to the caller. The Exchange Server 2007 UM server handles interactions between telephone callers and the rest of the messaging system. This server role accepts call requests from the PBX system, answers calls for voice mail and fax calls, delivers Outlook Voice Access services to subscribers' records, plays back voice messages, receives faxes, and hosts the Automated Attendant. Enabling Technologies 4
    • Figure 1 Handling Incoming Calls When an outside caller places a call to the system, the call is routed to the recipient’s phone by using the public switched telephone network or internal telephone lines. If the called number is a direct-dial extension, the PBX system may ring the desired extension or may transfer the call to the pilot number of the Exchange Server 2007 UM server. The protocol that is used to accomplish this transfer depends on the type of PBX system. If the PBX system is an IP-PBX, it establishes a session with the UM server by using the Session Initiation Protocol (SIP); after the session is set up, the live voice traffic is transferred by using the Real-time Transport Protocol (RTP). If the PBX system is a traditional PBX, the circuit-switched call data is sent to the voice over IP (VoIP) gateway, which establishes a session with the UM server by using SIP, and then translates the call and forwards the voice data to the UM server by using RTP. The original called party information is maintained as part of the supplementary signaling information when the call is transferred. When the call arrives at the UM server, the called party information and the PBX source of the call are used to look up the user and retrieve the user’s mailbox greeting. The UM server retrieves the user’s welcome greeting, plays it, and records any message that the caller might want to leave. Handling Faxes The UM server handles faxes in a similar method to voice call answering. All users’ accounts are enabled for fax by default. The organization can provide one fax number for all users or individual numbers for each user. When a fax is sent to a dedicated number, the PBX system transfers the call directly to the UM message search group. Outlook Voice Access Enabling Technologies 5
    • For Outlook Voice Access, subscribers call the UM system directly. There is no called party information in this case because the calls are not redirected by the PBX system from another called party. The UM server answers these calls by using a main menu that asks users to identify their mailbox numbers, and then it allows them to log on. Automated Attendant Automated Attendant objects are configured similarly to voice users. In the PBX system, a dedicated number is given to the Automated Attendant. This number is set up in the PBX system to always redirect to UM. When an incoming call arrives at the UM server, the called party information is used by UM to identify that the call is addressed to a particular Automated Attendant object. From there, the greetings and menus of that Automated Attendant are played to the caller. Integration with PBX and IP Telephony Systems: A Complex Process Companies that want to integrate Exchange Server 2007 UM with their existing PBX or IP telephony systems face a complex process that involves integrating different communications methods and systems. Today’s UM environments are usually tied to specific proprietary PBX phone systems. Integrating Exchange Server 2007 UM to these earlier systems is very technical and time consuming. As such, it requires an experienced organization that is capable of removing the complexities and risks that are associated with moving voice mail and faxes to Exchange Server 2007. It also requires an organization that has special expertise in integrating PBX phone systems with UM applications. Specifically, many companies need assistance with the process of implementing the voice integration component of Exchange Server 2007 UM with their existing infrastructures. For example, companies often require a VoIP gateway to be constructed to fully enable Exchange Server 2007 UM to integrate with their PBX systems. This involves taking the circuit-switched data that enters the infrastructure through the organization’s existing PBX system and converting it into Internet Protocol (IP) voice data. Building the VoIP gateway that allows Exchange Server 2007 UM to communicate with PBX systems is a technical process that many companies do not want to handle themselves. Other technical challenges add to the overall complexity of an enterprise UM rollout. These include dial plan integration, collapsing multiple enterprise messaging systems into one integrated system, and integrating UM with multiple phone systems. HOW ENABLING TECHNOLOGIES SOLVES THE COMPLEXITY CHALLENGE Because of its close working relationship with Microsoft, Enabling Technologies was invited in 2006 to join the Microsoft Unified Messaging Partner Advisory Group. This group was specifically formed to help develop the unified messaging features of Microsoft Exchange Server 2007. “We have specialized in unified messaging for five years, and when Microsoft entered the marketplace with this technology, it was a natural fit for us,” says Herr. “We were already familiar with the concepts and integrations required, and Microsoft looked to us because of our expertise in integrating PBX phone systems with unified messaging applications.” Enabling Technologies consults with companies that are looking to implement Exchange Server 2007 UM, helping with the wiring and programming of new and existing applications with Exchange Server 2007 UM. Since participating in the Unified Messaging Partner Advisory Group, Enabling Technologies has partnered with Microsoft on numerous successful beta installations of Exchange Server 2007 with UM support. As a result, Enabling Technologies has demonstrated that it can provide customers with services and applications that take full advantage of the new UM features of Exchange Server 2007. Enabling Technologies 6
    • Enabling Technologies offers its customers a range of services to ensure that implementation of Exchange Server 2007 UM proceeds smoothly. These services include: • Project management and consulting on the rollout of Exchange Server 2007 UM • Integration assistance with earlier PBX and IP telephony systems • Message migration from earlier voice mail systems • Building automated caller applications for voice mail Automated Attendant • Message networking dial plans for integrating with earlier voice mail systems • Advanced system administration and end user training • Disaster recovery and business continuity solutions for Exchange Server 2007 • Technical support service with business day and around-the-clock maintenance programs • System monitoring, alarming, and reporting with remote access troubleshooting Although Exchange Server 2007 contains powerful new UM features, many organizations still need help integrating this new technology with their existing PBX systems. In fact, Microsoft recommends that companies that are deploying Exchange Server 2007 UM receive help from a UM specialist to ensure the smooth transition from an earlier voice mail system to the new UM environment. Such a specialist will have the technical experience that is required to do the work. Enabling Technologies engineers possess detailed knowledge about PBX systems and Exchange Server 2007. In addition to its familiarity with the UM features of Exchange Server 2007, the company has years of experience building and implementing VoIP gateways that help customers solve UM integration challenges. Building a VoIP Gateway The Exchange Server 2007 UM role can communicate with two distinct types of PBX systems. IP-PBX hardware directly implements VoIP capability. When a PBX system receives an inbound call, the system is responsible for ringing the selected extension and, if the call is not answered, using its own call coverage configuration to determine where the call should go next. Assuming that the coverage configuration specifies transfer to Exchange Server 2007 UM, the PBX system routes the call from the original destination extension to the group that is configured to point to Exchange Server 2007 UM. In the case of an IP-PBX system, the call is directly connected without a gateway. However, that is not the case for traditional PBX systems. Most PBX systems do not directly provide VoIP services, but instead use earlier, proprietary, circuit- switched protocols to transport phone traffic. These PBX systems require the use of a special VoIP gateway that translates between circuit-switched protocols and packet-based Internet protocols that are compatible with the VoIP network stack that exists in Exchange Server 2007 UM. To enable the UM features of Exchange Server 2007, Enabling Technologies engineers take circuit- switched data that comes into PBX systems and convert it into IP voice data, creating a VoIP gateway. This gateway is responsible for converting the call data from circuit-switched to packet-switched protocols. Exchange Server 2007 UM uses Session Initiation Protocol for call setup and signaling, the Real-time Transport Protocol for voice sessions, and the T.38 (fax over IP) protocol for fax data. Exchange Server 2007 also supports the use of the Transport Layer Security protocol to secure and authenticate communications between the PBX system or gateway and the Exchange Server 2007 UM server. Configuring the Gateway The IP/VoIP gateway has several different ports or interfaces that need to be properly configured to enable seamless communication between a PBX system, the VoIP gateway, and the Exchange Server Enabling Technologies 7
    • 2007 UM server on the network. Companies that are configuring the gateway need to know whether the gateway device is analog, digital, or analog and digital. If the gateway interface that connects to the PBX system is analog, the appropriate settings need to be properly configured to enable the gateway to communicate with the Exchange Server 2007 UM server. Enabling Technologies engineers have experience configuring interfaces to communicate with PBX systems, as well as configuring the local area network connection or network interface for the gateway. This knowledge, along with the company’s experience in UM integration with PBX and VoIP systems, makes Enabling Technologies the right choice for companies that need assistance with Exchange Server 2007 UM deployments that require PBX integration. CONCLUSION Integrating voice mail and fax messages with e-mail and calendaring systems offers some valuable benefits, including reduced costs, improved productivity, and greater ease of use. Exchange Server 2007 UM helps deliver these benefits to companies by unifying voice mail and fax traffic with other data items in a user’s existing inbox, making all of these data items available to users in a variety of ways. By allowing for centralized deployment and management of all unified messaging services, Exchange Server 2007 lowers the cost of providing voice mail and fax services while also delivering services such as voice access to calendar items that are not available on other systems. The new UM features in Microsoft Exchange Server 2007 give computer, telephone, and mobile device users access to voice mail, e-mail, fax, and calendar information no matter where those users are located. However, many organizations need technical assistance when integrating Exchange Server 2007 UM with their existing PBX systems. Because of its partnership with Microsoft on the development of Exchange Server 2007 UM and its history of unified messaging expertise, Enabling Technologies can help build, configure, and implement VoIP gateways that integrate with the Exchange Server 2007 UM server. Enabling Technologies will use its extensive data and telephony integration experience to help an organization to capitalize on the new UM features in Exchange Server 2007. This experience smoothly translates into consolidated applications, stronger messaging features, better mobile access, and cost savings. About Enabling Technologies Enabling Technologies is a specialized IT consulting and integration company based in Baltimore, Maryland. Formed in 1992, the company is a Microsoft Gold Certified Partner and has offices in the United States, Canada, and Europe. Enabling Technologies customers conduct business in the government, legal, financial, pharmaceutical, manufacturing, education, and medical industries. Enabling Technologies helps its customers incorporate unified messaging systems, which integrate e- mail, voice mail, and other messaging applications into one primary mailbox that is accessible from computers, telephones, and mobile devices. The company also specializes in speech-enabled applications, instant messaging, and message networking, which unites voice messaging between various disparate voice mail systems. Enabling Technologies Phone: (800) 923-4310 www.enablingtechcorp.com This white paper is for informational purposes only. MICROSOFT MAKES NO WARRANTIES, EXPRESS OR IMPLIED, IN THIS SUMMARY. Document published May 2007 Enabling Technologies 8