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Elements of unified communications have been around for quite some time now. Unified messaging (UM) is one of those elements that people have long recognized as beneficial to the end user community. Basically, unified messaging offers the opportunity for an end user to have voicemail delivered to any one of a number of destinations in electronic form. This is typically done via email delivery where a voice mail from one of any number of sources including cell phone, office phone, or even your home number. The ideal situation would be to never have to check an individual email box ever again but to be able to receive and listen to voicemail on any device, anywhere and at any time.
Unified communications (UC) has a more broad definition to include not only voicemail, but also data communications such as email and Instant Messaging, collaboration technologies such as Web conferencing, and advanced voice and data calling features normally included in Internet Protocol (IP) PBX solutions. Obviously unified communications is a lot harder for vendors to achieve in a true sense of the word but it is coming together for some suppliers.