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Exchange 2007: Anywhere Access

 

Topic Last Modified: 2006-08-18

Businesses are increasingly on the move. Employees need access to all of their messaging data anywhere they happen to be - on the road, at home, or in the office. Companies that provide this anywhere access can lower expenses, increase efficiency, and provide their employees with the tools they need to excel at their jobs.

Messaging data used to mean e-mail messages. Now, it means e-mail, calendar, contact and task items, faxes, and voice mail messages. Microsoft Exchange Server 2007 provides access to all of these types of messages in one centralized location - the user's mailbox. Through a suite of new and enhanced features, you can now access all types of messages from anywhere: the office, your home, the airport, the ballpark, or the local coffee shop.

In order to provide this anywhere access to your messaging data, Exchange 2007 relies on several different server roles. A server role is a predefined set of features that can be installed on an Exchange 2007 server. You can install multiple server roles on the same physical server.

noteNote:
All server roles can coexist on the same Exchange 2007 server with the exception of the Edge Transport server role. This role must be installed on a separate server.

The Mailbox server role hosts mailbox databases, which contain users' mailboxes. It also contains the Public Folder databases. The Client Access server role accepts connections to your Exchange 2007 server from a variety of different clients. These clients include software clients and hardware clients such as mobile devices. It also provides access to Free/Busy data via the Availability service. The Unified Messaging server role uses your organization's telephony network and combines all types of messaging into a single system that can store e-mail, voice mail, and fax messages.

The Unified Messaging server role is a completely new role for Exchange 2007. This server role allows you to combine all types of messages in one Inbox that users can access from a telephone, a computer, or a mobile device. Before Exchange 2007, most IT departments managed their voice mail and fax messages separately from their e-mail. Often, to provide all three types of messaging required three different systems: a PBX and voice mail server for voice mail messages, stand-alone fax machines or a centralized fax server, and an Exchange server. Unified Messaging combines all of those systems into one Inbox.

The Unified Messaging server role provides the following features for Exchange 2007 organizations.

  • Call Answering   This includes answering incoming calls for a user, playing their personal greeting, recording a voice mail message and submitting it for delivery to the Inbox.
  • Fax Receiving   This includes receiving incoming faxes and directing them to a user's Inbox as an attachment to an e-mail message.
  • Subscriber Access   This feature allows users to dial in to the Unified Messaging server and access their mailbox using Outlook Voice Access. Users can navigate through the system by using their telephone keypad or voice inputs. The user can perform the following tasks.
    • Listen to voice mail messages and act on those messages.
    • Listen, forward, and reply to e-mail messages.
    • Listen to calendar information.
    • Access contact information and dial contacts stored in the Global Address List or Contacts folder.
    • Accept or cancel meetings.
    • Play and record personal and Out of Office greetings.
    • Set user security preferences and personal options.
  • Auto Attendant   The Auto Attendant is a set of voice prompts that callers hear when accessing the Unified Messaging system. The Auto Attendant lets the callers navigate through the system using the telephone keypad or speech inputs to locate a user or place a call. The administrator can perform the following tasks.
    • Create customizable menus for external users
    • Define a variety of greetings
    • Define holiday schedules
    • Enable callers to call the operator
  • Scripting and Customization   Administrators can group users and offer different service options to each group. For example, one group of users could be able to receive only voice messages while another group of users could be able to receive voice messages and fax messages.

Exchange ActiveSync is a synchronization protocol based on HTTP and XML that is designed to work over a cellular or wireless Internet connection. A cellular connection is slower to transfer data than a high speed network connection. Exchange ActiveSync is designed to work with these high-latency, low-bandwidth networks and transfer information quickly between Microsoft Exchange Server and your mobile device.

noteNote:
For this article, a mobile device is assumed to be a cellular telephone running software that supports synchronization with Microsoft Exchange via Exchange ActiveSync.

Exchange ActiveSync can synchronize e-mail messages, contacts, calendar, and task data. With the addition of Unified Messaging to your organization, you can also synchronize voice mail and fax messages attached to e-mails in your Inbox.

Exchange ActiveSync has been greatly enhanced in Exchange 2007. Some of the new or enhanced features include the following:

  • Support for HTML Messages   You can download messages to your mobile device in either Plain Text or HTML format. HTML formatted messages allow for left to right scrolling as well as embedded images and active links.
  • Direct Push   First introduced in Exchange Server 2003 Service Pack 2; Direct Push uses a long-standing HTTPS connection to ensure your device is always kept up-to-date. As new items arrive in your Inbox, Exchange ActiveSync notifies your mobile device which initiates the synchronization.
    noteNote:
    To use Direct Push, your device must be running Windows Mobile 5.0 with the Messaging & Security Feature Pack, or the latest version of Windows Mobile, currently in beta testing.
  • Enhanced Device Security   Exchange 2007 supports Exchange ActiveSync policies. These policies can be applied on a per-user basis and control such settings as password requirements, Windows SharePoint Services document access, attachment downloads, and device locking settings.
  • Support for Message Flagging   You can set message flags on your mobile device. These flags will also be shown in Microsoft Office Outlook and Outlook Web Access.
  • Support for Exchange Search   Mobile devices often have only limited storage available. By default, Exchange ActiveSync will only store three days worth of messages on your device. However, you can now search for messages older than three days or those in other folders. When a message is found, it will be downloaded to your device.
  • File Share Access   Exchange ActiveSync can provide access to documents stored in Windows file shares and Windows SharePoint Services shares. This access can be controlled through Exchange ActiveSync policies.
    noteNote:
    Many of these features require that your device have the latest version of Windows Mobile, currently in beta testing.

Outlook Web Access provides access to your Exchange mailbox from any web browser. There are two versions of Outlook Web Access in Exchange 2007, Premium and Light. Outlook Web Access Premium provides access to all of your Exchange 2007 mailbox data. You can also view and manage mobile devices, set Out of Office options, group, sort, and flag messages, browse the Global Address List, and search your Exchange mailbox. Outlook Web Access Light provides access to e-mail, calendar, and contacts. It does not support tasks or notes. You can sort messages, but you cannot group messages, change your message view, or flag messages for follow up.

noteNote:
To use Outlook Web Access Premium, you must be using Internet Explorer 6.0 or the latest version. Outlook Web Access Premium is not supported on other browsers. Outlook Web Access Light is supported on recent versions of Netscape Navigator, Opera, Safari, and Mozilla Firefox.

Outlook Web Access in Exchange Server 2007 has a number of new and enhanced features. Some of these features include the following:

  • Flexible Message Views   You can select how the message list is displayed, the position of the Reading Pane, and configure multiple grouping and sorting options.
  • Improved Notifications   Reminders and new mail notifications appear within the Outlook Web Access window and can be accessed through use of a drop down menu in the toolbar.
  • Scheduling Assistant   You can use the Scheduling Assistant to help schedule meetings with coworkers. The Scheduling Assistant provides suggested times and color codes days on the Date Picker as Good, Fair, or Poor.
  • File Share Access   You can access documents and document libraries on Windows SharePoint Services and Windows file shares through Outlook Web Access.
  • Voice Mail Options   If the Unified Messaging server role is installed in your organization, you can use Outlook Web Access to manage your voice mail options. You can configure the telephone access options, reset your voice mail password, or change the folder Outlook Voice Access reads when you access e-mail messages over the telephone.

Outlook Anywhere for Exchange 2007 allows you to use Outlook 2007 and Outlook 2003 clients to connect to your Exchange server over the Internet using the RPC over HTTP Windows networking component. This eliminates the need for a Virtual Private Network (VPN) connection to your corporate network and still provides full Outlook functionality. Outlook Anywhere was known as RPC over HTTP in Exchange 2003. Exchange 2007 has improved and built on this functionality while simplifying deployment and management. Deployment of RPC over HTTP used to require significant server configuration. In Exchange 2007, simply use the Outlook Anywhere setup wizard on an Exchange 2007 computer with the Client Access server role installed. All users with mailboxes on Exchange 2007 are automatically enabled for Outlook Anywhere access.

Through the use of Unified Messaging, Exchange ActiveSync, Outlook Web Access, and Outlook Anywhere, you can access your Exchange 2007 mailbox data almost anywhere you happen to be.

If you are in the office connected to your corporate network, you can use Microsoft Office Outlook or Outlook Web Access to view your Exchange mailbox. You can view e-mail messages, calendar data, contacts, tasks, and notes. If you receive a voice mail message, you can play that message through your computer speakers or play that message on the telephone. To play the message on the telephone, you must designate a Play on Phone number in the Voice Mail options tab of Microsoft Office Outlook 2007 or Exchange 2007 Outlook Web Access. If you receive a fax message, Unified Messaging will automatically route it to your mailbox as an attachment to an e-mail. Simply open the attached file to view or print your fax.

If you leave the office for business or pleasure, you can take Exchange with you in several ways. Before you leave the office, you can configure Unified Messaging to play your Out of Office voice mail greeting to callers. You can also configure your Out of Office options for e-mail in Microsoft Office Outlook or Outlook Web Access. Exchange 2007 allows you to configure both an external Out of Office message and an internal Out of Office message.

noteNote:
The ability to configure an external Out of Office message can be enabled on a per-user basis by an Exchange Administrator.

When you're away from the office, you can use Exchange ActiveSync and a mobile device to stay up to date on your e-mail messages. If you receive a voice mail message, you can download and play the attached .wma file on your mobile device or call the Unified Messaging Subscriber Access number to hear your messages over the phone. If a fax message is routed to your Inbox, you can view the attachment directly on your mobile device or use Outlook Web Access or Outlook Anywhere to connect to your Exchange mailbox and view the attachment.

noteNote:
Viewing a fax message on a mobile device may require the installation of a third party application to view image files.

Even if you don't have a mobile device, laptop computer, or even access to an Internet kiosk, you can still remain up to date with Unified Messaging. To access Unified Messaging, place a telephone call to the subscriber access number. When you have entered your extension and PIN, you will hear a prompt similar to the following: "Please say voice mail, e-mail, calendar, personal contacts, directory, or personal options." If your answer is e-mail, Unified Messaging will then read the message header, name, subject, time, and priority for messages contained in your Inbox. Finally, Unified Messaging will read the entire message.

noteNote:
If you would like Unified Messaging to read messages in another folder, you can change the default folder in Microsoft Office Outlook 2007 or Exchange 2007 Outlook Web Access. Unified Messaging can only read messages in one folder.

At any time during the reading of the message, use the voice commands or the telephone keypad to instruct Unified Messaging. Some of the actions you can take while listening to your e-mail messages are: move to the next message, delete the message, delete the conversation, reply to all, rewind, fast forward, or pause. If you need to reply to a message, you can record a .wma file and attach it to your message reply.

If you are on your way to a meeting and realize you are going to be late, you can call Unified Messaging and access your calendar. When Unified Messaging plays your upcoming meeting, say "I'll be late" and then tell Unified Messaging how late you will be. Unified Messaging will send a message to all attendees informing them you will be late.

Exchange 2007, with Unified Messaging, Exchange ActiveSync, Outlook Web Access, and Outlook Anywhere, can help your employees access all of their messaging data no matter where they are. For the latest information and resources on Exchange 2007, be sure to visit the Exchange Server TechCenter.

 
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