Maybe I'm getting mellow in my old age, or maybe things in Microsoft IT are changing. There was a time when I really didn't think much them - directly after they off-shored the help-desk was the low point. But since then they've been doing this and that to improve the service they deliver to us. One thing I mentioned a number of times is how easy it is to receive a new computer and get it working - thanks to Windows deployment services. Another is rolling out the latest Windows Mobile powered phones with all the supporting stuff from Exchange 2007 - and I've mentioned that before.
However. There has been one annoyance with Exchange 2007. My colleagues in the US get access to Unified Messaging - i.e the service which used to be voice mail now reads your e-mail to you and manages your calendar, and incoming voice mails arrive into your mailbox. We don't get it. Here in the UK our switchboard presented a stack of problems for deploying UM: one of my customers who is based just across town from the Microsoft office has teased me because he has UM and I don't. My expectation was they'd be hosting the Winter Olympics in Hell before we sorted it. I was wrong. Perhaps this is linked to the completion of building 5 - the rumour mill suggests this will be first non-US deployment of the Tanjay IP phones for OCS that I've mentioned before. Perhaps the necessary gateway has become available. Perhaps some of the changes that we've put into our software have helped our own IT folks do less firefighting, and more service development. I really don't know. Either way we've been told that the deployment is happening soon.
As I've said before - touch tone controlled voice mail is a relic of the 1980's and as way of controlling systems, touch tones need to go the way of the punch card
"Voice mail's interface - keying in DTMF tones - was designed for an era of desktop phones which were used two handed. But when you keep having to take a one piece phone from your ear to tell the system what to do, it's clunky at best - and as for listening to messages while driving - that's downright Dangerous.".
In a a world where voice command means we can speak to a phone to tell it play music or call a messaging service; shouldn't we also be able to speak to the messaging service and tell it what to play ? I'm looking forward to that. And since I'm lousy at polling for Voice mail, when the system goes live I'll know I've got a message a great deal sooner and won't keep people waiting for a reply for quite so long.