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Plan for Unified Messaging services in Exchange Online


Topic Last Modified: 2013-10-15

Summary: Describes the supported features of Unified Messaging in Office 365.

Exchange Online offers hosted Unified Messaging (UM) services, which provide:

  • Call answering (voice mail)

  • Dial-in user interface to Exchange (Outlook Voice Access)

  • Dial-in interface for callers (Automated Attendant)

Organizations with services hosted from data centers in the Asia-Pacific and Europe regions can now integrate on-premises Lync Server 2010 with hosted voice mail. For more information see Unified Messaging with Exchange Online.

Exchange Online Unified Messaging allows a company to connect its on-premises phone system to voice mail services that are provided by Exchange Online. Voice mails are recorded and stored in the Exchange Online infrastructure. This allows users to access their voice messages from Outlook, Outlook Web App, IMAP clients, Exchange Active Synchronization devices, mobile and other types of devices.

All telephony connections to Exchange Online require voice-over-IP (VoIP) protocols. Administrators can connect an on-premises PBX to Exchange Online by using VoIP media gateways, or an IP-PBX directly to Exchange Online Unified Messaging through a session border controller (SBC). SBCs are deployed in the perimeter of the customer network and help secure the communications (and the customer network) against eavesdropping and intrusion. Interoperability with the voice capabilities of Lync Server 2010 is also supported.

For more information, see the Help topics Set Up Unified MessagingSession Border Controllers Tested with Exchange Online UM, and Integrate UM with a Telephone System and TechNet articles Connect Lync Server 2010 to Exchange Online UM and Telephony Advisor for Exchange 2010.

A VoIP media gateway is not required if the PBX supports VoIP directly and is interoperable with Exchange Unified Messaging.

The Unified Messaging (UM) features that are available in Exchange Online resemble those offered in Exchange Server 2010 Service Pack 1, except speech access to the directory is not supported in Exchange Online. Instead of speaking names, users must spell names by using the touchpad when they search for someone in the directory by name in Outlook Voice Access or the company auto attendant. Speech access to Personal Contacts and Personal Distribution Lists is supported.

For more information, see Differences Between an On-Premises Deployment of UM and UM Deployment in the Cloud.

The following Unified Messaging features work similarly online and on-premises:

  • “Play on Phone” from Outlook and Outlook Web App.

  • Missed call notifications.

  • Caller ID (using information in the global address list (GAL) and users’ Outlook contacts).

  • Voice mail PIN reset from Outlook Web App and Outlook.

  • Message waiting indicator.

  • Call answering rules.

  • Protected voice mail (requires implementation of Information Rights Management and Windows Rights Management Services).

In addition, the Exchange Control Panel includes screens to configure and manage Unified Messaging interoperability.

On-premises voice mail solutions from third-party providers can interoperate with Exchange Online if they can forward voice mails through SMTP or if they support Exchange Web Services. If the voice mail system does not natively support forwarding voice mails through SMTP, an email server can be kept on-premises to receive messages from the voice mail system and then forward them to the Office 365 by using SMTP. Because many third-party voice mail systems use MAPI/CDO to interoperate with Exchange Server for advanced Unified Messaging features, the full capabilities of these systems may not be available when SMTP is used for interoperability with Exchange Online.

Exchange Online does not provide outgoing fax services. Solutions for outgoing fax, such as Internet-based fax services, are available from third-party providers. Generally, these outgoing fax solutions are independent from email servers and services and require no special interoperability with Exchange Online.

Inbound fax solutions can interoperate with Exchange Online through SMTP. If a company uses a third-party fax solution that can receive faxes and forward them to recipients through email, the administrator can specify Exchange Online mailboxes as a destination. If the company has deployed Unified Messaging in Exchange Online, advanced interoperability with inbound fax solutions is available. This interoperability enables features such as one-number fax receiving (a single phone number for voice calls and fax), rich caller-ID information through Active Directory and Exchange personal contacts, and identification of fax messages as a special message class in Exchange and Outlook.

Office 365 for enterprises offers Unified Messaging (UM) functionality, but migration is only supported for customers running Exchange 2007 Unified Messaging or Exchange 2010 Unified Messaging on-premises. Customers with other on-premises Unified Messaging products who want to move to Office 365 Unified Messaging must enable the Exchange Online users’ mailboxes as new mailboxes for Unified Messaging.

When moving UM services to Exchange Online, a new voice access number will be provided, a new UM policy will be applied, and a new PIN code will be required.
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