Applies to: Exchange Server 2013
Topic Last Modified: 2013-02-23
Unified Messaging (UM) enables users to use voice mail and other features, including Outlook Voice Access and Call Answering Rules. UM combines voice messaging and email messaging into one mailbox that can be accessed from many different devices. Users can listen to their messages from their email Inbox or by using Outlook Voice Access from any telephone. You have control over how users place outgoing calls from UM, and the experience people have when they call in to your organization.
Today, IT administrators frequently manage the voice mail or telephony networks and the email systems or data networks for their organizations as separate systems. Voice mail and email are located in separate inboxes that are hosted on separate servers accessed through the desktop for email and through the telephone for voice mail.
Unified Messaging makes it possible for Exchange administrators to combine voice messaging and email messaging into one mailbox so their users can listen to their voice mail messages in their Inbox or by using Outlook Voice Access from any telephone. It uses the Exchange store for both email and voice messages.
Unified Messaging (UM) was first introduced in Microsoft Exchange Server 2007 and was also available in Exchange 2010. The Unified Messaging feature set in Exchange 2013 is similar to previous versions of Exchange. However, new features have been added and there have been architectural changes. Unified Messaging is now considered a component or sub feature of the voice-related features that are offered in Exchange 2013. The term Unified Messaging is still widely used in Exchange Management Shell cmdlets and UM-related services, and all Unified Messaging components—including dial plans, auto attendants, UM mailbox policies, and UM IP gateways—along with the ability to manage those UM components, are located within the Unified Messaging node in the navigation pane of the Exchange Administration Center (EAC).
The following topics are gateways to information about new or enhanced features found in Exchange 2013 Unified Messaging:
- IPv6 Support
in Unified Messaging
- Voice Mail
Messaging Cmdlet Updates
Unified Messaging features
The voice mail features found in Unified Messaging offer benefits for both end users and IT administrators.
Features for end users
When you deploy Unified Messaging, users can access voice mail, email, and calendar information that's located in their mailbox from an email client, for example, Outlook or Microsoft Outlook Web App, from a mobile phone with Microsoft Exchange ActiveSync set up, such as a Windows Phone, or from a telephone. Additionally, users can use the following features:
- Access to Exchange
information UM-enabled users can access a full
set of voice mail features from Internet-capable mobile phones,
Microsoft Office Outlook 2007 or later versions, and Outlook
Web App. These features include many voice mail configuration
options and the ability to play a voice message from either the
Reading Pane, using an integrated Windows Media Player, or the
message list, using computer speakers.
- Play on Phone The Play on Phone feature
lets UM-enabled users play voice messages over a telephone. If the
user works in an office cubicle, is using a public computer or a
computer that isn't enabled for multimedia, or is listening to a
voice message that's confidential, they might not want to or be
able to listen to a voice message through computer speakers. They
can play the voice message using any telephone, including a home,
office, or mobile telephone.
- Voice mail form The voice mail form
resembles the default email form. It gives users an interface for
performing actions such as playing, stopping, or pausing voice
messages, playing voice messages on a telephone, and adding and
The voice mail form includes the embedded Windows Media Player and an Audio notes field. The embedded Windows Media Player and notes field are displayed in either the Reading Pane when users preview a voice message or in a separate window when they open the voice message. If users aren't enabled for Unified Messaging, or if a supported email client hasn't been installed on the client computer, they view voice messages as email attachments, and the voice mail form isn't available.
- User configuration A user who's enabled
for Unified Messaging can configure several voice mail options for
Unified Messaging using Outlook Web App. For example, the user can
configure telephone access numbers and the voice mail Play on Phone
number, and can then reset a voice mail access PIN.
- Call answering Call answering includes
answering incoming calls on behalf of users, playing their personal
greetings, recording messages, and submitting them for delivery to
their Inbox as an email message.
- Call Answering Rules Call Answering
Rules lets users who are enabled for voice mail determine how their
incoming call answering calls should be handled. The way call
answering rules are applied to incoming calls is similar to the way
Inbox rules are applied to incoming email messages. By default, no
call answering rules are configured. If an incoming call is
answered by the Mailbox server, the caller is prompted to leave a
voice message for the called party. Using call answering rules, a
- Leave a voice message for the UM-enabled user.
- Transfer to an alternate contact of the UM-enabled user.
- Transfer to the alternate contact's voice mail.
- Transfer to other phone numbers that the UM-enabled user has
- Use the Find Me feature or locate the UM-enabled user via a
transfer from an operator.
- Leave a voice message for the UM-enabled user.
- Voice Mail Preview The Mailbox server
uses Automatic Speech Recognition (ASR) on newly created voice mail
messages. When users receive voice messages, the messages contain
both a recording and text that's been created from the voice
recording. Users see the voice message text displayed in an email
message from within Outlook Web App or another supported email
- Message Waiting Indicator Message
Waiting Indicator is a feature found in most legacy voice mail
systems and can refer to any mechanism that indicates the existence
of a new message. In Exchange 2007, this functionality was provided
by a third-party application, which indicated receipt of a new
voice message by lighting the lamp on the desk phone. This feature
was added to Exchange 2010, and third-party software is no longer
needed. Enabling or disabling Message Waiting Indicator is done on
the user's mailbox or on a UM mailbox policy.
- Missed call and voice mail notifications using
SMS When users are part of a hybrid or Office
365 deployment, and they configure their voice mail settings with
their mobile phone number and configure call forwarding, they can
receive notifications about missed calls and new voice messages on
their cell phones in a text message via the Short Messaging Service
(SMS). However, to receive these types of notifications, the users
must first configure text messaging and also enable notifications
on their account.
- Protected Voice Mail Protected Voice
Mail is Unified Messaging functionality that enables users to send
private mail. This mail is protected by Active Directory Rights
Management Services (AD RMS), and users are restricted from
forwarding, copying, or extracting the voice file from email.
Protected Voice Mail increases the confidentiality of Unified
Messaging, and lets users limit the audience for voice messages.
This functionality is similar to the way private email messages
were handled in Exchange 2007 but now it also applies to voice mail
- Outlook Voice Access There are two
Unified Messaging user interfaces available to UM-enabled users:
the telephone user interface (TUI) and the voice user interface
(VUI). These two interfaces together are called Outlook Voice
Access. Outlook Voice Access users can use Outlook Voice Access
when they access the voice mail system from an external or internal
telephone. UM-enabled users who dial in to the voice mail system
can access their mailbox using Outlook Voice Access. Using a
telephone, a UM-enabled user can:
- Access voice mail
- Listen to, forward, or reply to email messages
- Listen to calendar information
- Access or dial contacts who are stored in the organization’s
directory or a single contact or contact group located in their
- Accept or cancel meeting requests
- Set a voice message to let callers know the called party is
- Set user security preferences and personal options
- Access voice mail
- Group addressing using Outlook Voice
Access In Exchange 2007, users could use
either the telephone user interface (TUI) or voice user interface
(VUI) in Outlook Voice Access to send email and voice messages when
they signed in to their mailbox. However, users could only send a
single email message to a single user in their personal Contacts,
to multiple recipients from the directory by adding each recipient
individually, or by adding the name of a distribution list from the
directory for your organization. In Exchange 2013, when a user
signs in to their mailbox using Outlook Voice Access, they can also
send email and voice messages to users in a group stored in their
Currently, most users and IT departments manage their voice mail separately from their email. Voice mail and email exist as separate inboxes hosted on separate servers accessed through the desktop for email and through the telephone for voice mail. Unified Messaging offers an integrated store for all messages and access to content through the computer and the telephone.
Exchange administrators can manage Unified Messaging using the same interface they use to manage the rest of Exchange, using the Exchange Administration Center (EAC) and the Exchange Management Shell. They can:
- Manage voice mail and email from a single platform
- Manage Unified Messaging using scriptable commands
- Build highly available and reliable Unified Messaging
Exchange 2013 Unified Messaging offers administrators:
- A complete voice mail system Unified
Messaging offers a complete voice mail solution using a single
store, transport, and directory infrastructure. The store is
provided by a Mailbox server and forwarding of incoming calls from
a VoIP gateway or IP PBX is handled by a Client Access server. All
email and voice mail messages can be managed from a single
management point, using a single administration interface and tool
- An Exchange security model The
Microsoft Exchange Unified Messaging service on a Mailbox
server and the Microsoft Exchange Unified Messaging Call
Router service on a Client Access server run as a single Exchange
- Consolidation of voice mail
systems Currently, most voice messaging
systems require that all the voice messaging components be
installed in every physical office location in an organization. In
this kind of arrangement, the voice messaging systems in branch
offices are located outside the central office and must be
administered onsite. This frequently results in increased
administration costs and complexity. Unified Messaging lets you
manage your voice mail system from a central location. To create a
centralized management system for Unified Messaging, you can place
some of your Exchange servers in a datacenter or other location,
and the remainder of your Exchange servers on-premises and then
deploy VoIP gateways, IP PBXs, or Session Border Controllers (SBCs)
in each of your branch offices to replace the voice messaging
system for each branch office. Deploying a centralized voice
messaging system this way can result in a significant savings in
hardware and administrative costs.
- Built-in Unified Messaging administrative
roles The set of UM-specific administrative
roles for managing Unified Messaging and voice mail features
includes the following:
- UM Mailboxes
- UM Prompts
- Unified Messaging
- UM Mailboxes
- Incoming fax support Exchange 2013
provides built-in incoming fax support for users who have a
UM-enabled mailbox. They can receive fax messages via calls placed
to their extension number.
Customers who require a fax solution will have to deploy a fax partner solution. Fax partner solutions are available from several fax partners. The fax partner solutions are designed to be tightly integrated with Exchange and enable UM-enabled users to receive incoming fax messages. You can find a fax partner solution by visiting Microsoft Pinpoint for Fax Partners.
- Support for multiple
languages All available
language packs contain the Text-to-Speech (TTS) engine and the
prerecorded prompts for a specified language and ASR support.
However, only some language packs contain support for Voice Mail
Preview. The US English (en-US) language pack is included on the
installation media and additional UM language packs can be
downloaded from the Microsoft Download Center.
- Auto attendant An auto attendant is a
set of voice prompts that gives external and internal users access
to the voice mail system. Users can use the telephone keypad or
speech inputs to move through the auto attendant menu, place a call
to a user, or locate a user in your organization and then place a
call to them. An auto attendant gives the administrator the ability
- Create a customized menu for external users.
- Define informational greetings, business hours greetings, and
non-business hours greetings.
- Define holiday schedules.
- Describe how to search the organization's directory.
- Describe how to connect to a user's extension so that external
callers can call users by specifying their extension.
- Describe how to search the organization's directory so that
external callers can search the organization's directory and call a
- Enable external users to call the operator.
- Create a customized menu for external users.
Planning and deploying UM
Unified Messaging requires that you integrate your Exchange Server deployment with the existing telephony system for your organization. A successful deployment requires you to make a careful analysis of your existing telephony infrastructure and to perform the correct planning steps to deploy and manage voice mail in Unified Messaging.
When you plan your Unified Messaging deployment, you must consider design and other issues that may affect your ability to reach your organizational goals when you deploy Unified Messaging. Generally, the simpler the Unified Messaging topology, the easier Unified Messaging is to deploy and maintain. Install as few Client Access and Mailbox servers and create as few Unified Messaging components like UM dial plans, auto attendants and UM mailbox policies as you need to support your business and organizational goals. Large enterprises with complex network and telephony environments, multiple business units, or other complexities will require more planning than smaller organizations with relatively straightforward Unified Messaging needs.
There are many areas that you must consider and evaluate to be able to successfully deploy Unified Messaging. You must understand the different aspects of Unified Messaging and each component and feature so that you can plan your Unified Messaging infrastructure and deployment appropriately. Allocating time to plan and work through these issues will help prevent problems when you deploy Unified Messaging in your organization.The following are some of the areas that you should consider and evaluate when planning for Unified Messaging in your organization:
- The needs of your organization.
- The security requirements in your organization.
- Your existing telephony, circuit-switched network, and your
current voice mail system.
- Your current packet-switched IP network design. This includes
your local area network (LAN) and WAN connectivity points and
- Your current Active Directory environment.
- The number of users that you’ll have to support.
- The number of Client Access and Mailbox servers you’ll
- Whether you’ll be integrating UM with Microsoft Lync Server to
enable Enterprise Voice.
- The placement of VoIP gateways, telephony equipment, and Client
Access and Mailbox servers.
- The type of UM deployment: on-premises or hybrid.
- The storage requirements for voice mail users.
Managing UM with the EAC and the Shell
Exchange 2013 provides a single unified management console for your organization that includes all UM components and features. The Exchange Administration Center (EAC) provides a streamlined, optimized interface for management of on-premises, online, or hybrid deployments. The EAC in Exchange 2013 replaces the Exchange Management Console (EMC) and the Exchange Control Panel (ECP) in Exchange 2010. Some of the EAC features include:
- List view The list view in EAC has been
designed to remove limitations that existed in ECP. ECP was limited
to displaying up to 500 objects and, if you wanted to view objects
that weren’t listed in the details pane, you needed to use
searching and filtering to find those specific objects. In Exchange
2013, the viewable limit from within the EAC list view is
approximately 20,000 objects. In addition, paging has been added so
that you can page to the results. You can also configure page size
and export to a CSV file.
- Add/Remove columns to the Recipient list
view You can choose which columns to view, and
you can save your custom list views.
- Secure the ECP virtual directory You
can partition access from the Internet and Intranets from within
the ECP IIS virtual directory to allow or disallow management
features. With this feature, you can permit or deny access to users
trying to access the EAC from the Internet outside of your
organizational environment, while still allowing access to an end
user’s Outlook Web App Options.
- Public Folder management In Exchange
2010 and Exchange 2007, public folders were managed through the
Public Folder administration console. Public folders are now in the
EAC, and you don't need a separate tool to manage them.
- Notifications In Exchange 2013, the EAC
now has a Notification viewer so that you can view the status of
long-running processes and, if you choose, receive notification via
an email message when the process completes.
- Role Based Access Control (RBAC) user
editor In Exchange 2010 you could use the RBAC
User Editor to add users to management role groups. In Exchange
2013, the RBAC User Editor functionality is now in the EAC, and you
don't need a separate tool to manage RBAC.
- Unified Messaging tools In Exchange
2010 you could use the Call Statistics and User Call Logs tools to
help provide UM statistics and information about specific calls for
a UM-enabled user. In Exchange 2013, the Call Statistics and User
Call Logs tools are now in the EAC, and you don't need a separate
tool to manage them.
The Exchange Management Shell, built on Windows PowerShell technology, is a powerful command-line interface that enables automation of administrative tasks. With the Shell, you can manage every aspect of Exchange. You can enable new email accounts, create Send and Receive connectors, configure database properties, manage all aspects of Unified Messaging, and more. The Shell can perform every task that can be performed by the EAC plus tasks that can't be done in the EAC. In fact, when you do something in the EAC, it's the Shell that's doing the work behind the scenes.
Unified Messaging documentation
The following table contains links to topics that will help you learn about and manage Exchange Unified Messaging.
Learn about new features in Microsoft Exchange 2013.
Learn about the concepts and information you need to plan a Unified Messaging deployment.
Learn about the requirements and steps involved in deploying voice mail and UM.
Learn about UM language packs and language settings.
Learn about integrating your telephony network with UM.
Learn how to use and configure UM components to connect your telephony network to Exchange UM.
Learn how to create UM auto attendants and manage settings for navigation menus, greetings, and business and non-business hours.
Learn how to create and manage UM mailbox policies and how to enable users for UM.
Learn how to set up client features to enable users to access and manage their voice mail messages.
Learn how to set PIN requirements for Outlook Voice Access users.
Learn how to use UM to protect voice messages.
Learn about UM call reports.