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Are unified messaging and instant messaging the same thing? How are they distinguished from one anot

Are unified messaging and instant messaging the same thing? How are they distinguished from one another?

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Unified messaging (UM) and instant messaging (IM) are not the same thing. Instant messaging is essentially real-time chat. With instant messaging users generally communicate back and forth 'instantly' with messages somewhere between a mobile phone text message and a full-blown email. It is faster than email (assuming the recipient is available) and much more efficient for quick questions.

Unified messaging is the consolidation of various communications technologies into a single space. Rather than having separate locations for storing voicemail, email, faxes, etc., unified messaging stores them together. Unified messaging subsequently enables users to access all of these communications with a single tool or interface, improving efficiency by providing a single point of contact regardless of the type of communication.

Both instant messaging and unified messaging are components of a comprehensive unified communications solution.

This was first published in October 2008

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