Messaging is a major feature of VoIP as provides a cheap and convenient way to communicate with others when voice is neither available nor appropriate. Unified messaging, which entails email, voice mail, fax, SMS and instant messaging is a significant benefit as it provides a mechanism for messages to be delivered and retrieved over the telephone, or the internet. Another significant benefit is the ability to prioritize incoming messages dependent on the source. In this way, a user could prioritize work email and texts over personal messages.
One of the conveniences of unified messaging is that emails delivered to a VoIP enabled phone no longer have to be read on a small screen, or passed to voice-mail to be listened to, they can optionally be sent direct to email. Similarly, voice-mail is handled in the same manner with voice-messages transcribed and redirected to the user’s email or SMS.
These different ways to handle traditional voice and email do make life easier as messages can now be read during meetings or when listening to messages would not be an option. However, instant-messaging (IM) is also a popular format where user’s can communicate in real time with one another using chat applications to type in messages and replies. IM relies heavily on presence, which is the ability to detect if someone is online and available to chat using the VoIP SIP protocols.
Some of the advantages of messaging are:
- It is no longer necessary to have a fax machine
- Message notifications from a single source saves times checking each individual application
- Messages are retrieved from a wide range of devices
- Unifying messaging apps on one VoIP devices increases responsiveness to clients and coworkers
Today integrating unified messaging on a smartphone or tablet is a trivial task.