New Zealand company ZeroOne (NZ) Limited is currently running a trial of Microsoft Exchange Server 2007 combined Voice Over IP (VoIP) telephony, based on its hosted e-mail platform branded AnywhereExchange.
One of the new features being highlighted during the trial is the Outlook Voice Access, allowing users to access their Exchange mailbox over a phone call, through simple commands such as " Today's calendar", "Reply" or "Call Meeting Organiser" and so on.
The service is scheduled to go live 1st April, when Number Portability starts in the country.
The platform is currently being tested with local ISP Compass, who will connect their VoIP services to AnywhereExchange's softswitch, a SIP (Session Initiation Protocol) gateway. This way users will be able to answer phone calls to their numbers from anywhere in the world they are, but using a VoIP phone or a software client on any device, be it a computer or PDA.
If the phone call is not answered the call is diverteed to the AnywhereExchange platform, where Microsoft Exchange will answer the call and record a voicemail.
For the user this service a unified messaging experience, with all e-mails and voicemails stored in a single mailbox. These can be retrieved over the phone, from a client such as Microsoft Outlook or even from a PDA or smartphone synchronising to the mailbox. Any method currently supported by Microsoft Exchange Server 2007 is available, including OWA, OMA, RPC-HTTP (MAPI), POP3, IMAP4 and the new method Outlook Voice Access (OVA).
The costs of the mailbox will not change from the current AnywhereExchange pricing set, but the company is still working on the voice access service costs. It is expected that connecting to the OVA through a SIP phone is free, but calling from a landline or mobile will incur call costs depending on the operator involved in the call.
The conmpany is working t enabled dial out from the OVA interface, in the future allowing users to lookup a contact's address from the Contact on the Exchange server and initiate a phone call from with voice commands.