Staying in touch with customers and colleagues becomes not only easier but also safer for road warriors when less dialing is required to leave and retrieve messages. To that end, Siemens Communications Inc. is launching a new version of its unified messaging technology, which includes speech recognition and features that reduce the number of digits that must be dialed.
The latest version of Siemens HiPath Xpressions, Version 4.0, features several enhancements to cut back on the nuisance of dialing through menu trees and listening to prompts.
The new Trusted Number Access feature allows users to immediately hear voice messages without entering passwords or dialing through options when calling from a designated phone number, such as a cell phone number. In the same vein, programmable shortcut paths allow users to set up their own menu programs to require as few keys as they need to access up to nine messaging services.
A tight integration of speech recognition technology with Microsoft Exchange applications not only reduces dialing but also puts more information at users fingertips. With voice commands, users can play both e-mail and voice messages, and reply, delete and forward them. The speech recognition feature also works with calendar appointments, tasks and contacts.
The new version, which supports PBX, IP PBX and SIP (Session Initiation Protocol) networking environments, also includes a Web mail client, designed to make it easier and faster to interact with the messaging system. The serial nature of voice mail systems can be inconvenient for workers who need to modify their messages on the fly, said Ralph Riley, U.S. group manager at Siemens Communications, in Reston, Va., adding that seeing program options creates a greater incentive to use them.
Stahls Inc., a manufacturer of athletic apparel and accessories that has been using HiPath Xpressions since 2000, will start testing the new features next month, said Michael Terenzi, manager of IT and telecom operations at the St. Clair Shores, Mich., company.
"You dont have to log in, put in a password or extension, or go through all the prompts. If youve got a speed-dial number, you just hold the button down and start listening," Terenzi said. "That, I think, is big for the road warriors."