Office Closure and Exchange Unified Messaging

A common question that I get with Academic customer in implementation of Unified Messaging is around the addition of Announcements into the Automated Attendants. They typically use their old voice mail system to provide information such as school or campus closures. These messages need to be changed without involving the Exchange administrator. The prompt would need to be changed to something like “Due to inclement weather the school of XYZ will be closed today”. This scenario also needs to be configured so that the Mailbox which is setup for this is not setup to accept any voicemail messages.

So what do we need to do? First this is something that could not be accomplished in Exchange 2007 UM and requires Exchange 2010 Unified Messaging. Role Based Access Control (RBAC) can be used to configure a delegated admin that only has the ability to create and modify UM custom prompts. We have a role out of box that does this called the UM Prompt Administrator.

Custom prompts can be changed but not created through the telephone user interface (TUI).

The process is as follows:

1. Person responsible for recording the prompt calls the appropriate Dial Plan Pilot number or Automated Attendant number.

2. While UM is playing the current prompt, the caller presses a special key sequence (#*) to indicate their intention to UM.

3. UM asks the caller to enter their extension number and PIN (standard Outlook Voice Access login dialog).

4. Caller enters extension number and PIN, and is taken to a menu where they can choose which prompt to replace (where there is more than 1, e.g. with AAs).

5. Caller chooses prompt, re-records it and accepts the changes.

6. Caller hangs up.


Note that this facility is disabled by default. To enable it, a UM Administrator must use the Exchange Management Shell (PowerShell):

[PS]> Set-UMDialPlan MyDialPlan –TUIPromptEditingEnabled $true

Note that any Automated Attendant will be associated with exactly one Dial Plan.

Another aspect to this scenario is that the UM Prompt administrator may not be a user on the Exchange system. In order for the above to work they need to login with the extension number and the PIN to access and change the prompts.

To setup a user that isn’t a domain user to manage this operation we need to create an account assign the group role to this account and then we can disable this account for interactive login.

Create an Exchange mailbox for the account, and UM-enable it. Since no-one will be leaving voice messages for this mailbox, the extension number can be fictitious. Certainly, don’t bother forwarding a phone. Create rules (or otherwise) stop e-mail delivery to the mailbox, too: it won’t be used for e-mail.

Give out the UM credentials (extension number and PIN) for the mailbox to the person(s) who will record the prompts. Make sure they know which number to call when they need to change a prompt for the Dial Plan, for Automated Attendant 1, for Automated Attendant 2, etc.

Now, armed with this information, the users can change UM custom prompts when required, with no more than a telephone call.

Note that some trusted UM administrator will need to create the custom prompts that will later be replaced. And they will need to use Exchange Management Console or the Exchange Management Shell to do this. However, they will also need a WAV (or, in Exchange 2010, WMA) file in an appropriate codec – and this file could have been recorded by the person who will later use TUI to change it.

Thanks to the Exchange Product team for providing insight into this scenario implementation!!!

Comments (2)

  1. James Reed says:

    Thanks for keeping this posted! Still using it even 3 years later!

  2. nico says:

    Dear Greg, thanks for the read. My only concern is that you start the discussion by saying "This scenario also needs to be configured so that the Mailbox which is setup for this is not setup to accept any voicemail messages." which is exactly what I am trying to achieve, but unfortunately unless I missed it you are not addressing that question in the blog post 🙂 any help with that would be truly appreciated!!!

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