Exchange 2010 UM, first look at OCS integration

I am not going to go to deep into the features but more just wanted to comment on the experience with OCS integration. Not too much has changed since 07 as far as the setting up the integration goes and once we got it working it seems to be working well. One area that caught me out was a new setting available in the server setup where you assign the UM dial plan to the UM server. Server startup mode must be set to dual if you are integrating to OCS and PBX’s.

Since I am not an Exchange administrator in the organization I work for I was assigned the new UM management role. It is limited on what this role can do and you can’t complete the actual setups to fully setup a new UM dial plan as it does not allow you to assign the UM dial plan to a server. But still this is a step in the right direction and the more separation of duties in a large organization the better they will be allowed to manage work load among staff without giving full admin rights to a user who’s only responsibility is UM.

All in all it looks like some nice improvements have been made in Exchange 2010. Next steps for me is PBX integration and native MWI setup. Should be interesting.

CIPTUG Technology Forums

This year due the economy, Cisco IP Telephony User Group is going local rather than a national conference. This year they are having one-day technology forums at Boston, Seattle and Atlanta. It only costs $75 for non-CIPTUG members to attend and $50 for current CIPTUG members. The agendas cover Cisco VoIP and partner technology. For an up to date agenda please refer to the website.

I will be posting updates over the next few weeks. Seattle is due to have their forum on October the 21st at the Intel DuPont site.

Please feel free to email directly if you’re interested in knowing more at

OCS Response Group in Action

I am a big fan of the response group application. Although this by no means replace a full blown call center application, what it does provide is a low cost replacement for ACD applications that are housed usually on messaging systems like Unity and Octel. In my case these ACD’s are housed on an Octel that is no longer manufacture supported and we need a replacement solution. Not only do response groups replace what was available on the Octel voicemail system but it extends the functionality by being able to use group mailboxes and presence to contact agents. It also allowed the employees to be free from the TDM system they were on and now they can work remotely.

This real life response group ties together a few things I have talked about here on the blog, such as nesting workflows and using a group mailbox for voicemail. The reason the second workflow was required is that if someone rings out of business hours (OOBH), customer support still wants the user to be able to make a choice of either calling the enterprise help desk that is supported 24x7 or just to leave a message for direct product support. Doing it this way opens more options down the road for the customer as far as routing out of hours.

The group was extremely happy with the outcome of this application because they see it reducing their response times to out of hour’s requests and better managing their workload between staff members without having to spend a lot of money on a more complex call center application.

We Provide Support for E911

Recently I received a comment about OCS E911 support from a vendor. He said that the company he represented now supported OCS and E911. So I thought I would go look at the website of not just his company but all the companies providing E911 solutions for VoIP. I found it interesting that most companies don’t list the PBX’s they support. Some did, like E911Enable. However, most wanted you to call them to talk about your solution requirements. For me this is a bad marketing strategy. I know that every enterprise solution is different and whether it’s because there is some cost in displaying the logo of a vendor you support is the question here I am not sure but if I were looking to a new E911 solution provider having what vendors you support on your webpage is what I consider pretty important.

As for OCS support. I found only one vendor mention Microsoft solution support although I know others are out there. So all in all I was somewhat disappointed by the strategy and don’t really understand it. Having to call to find out what vendors you support in my eye loses some of your credibility before I make that call. So if you’re a E911 vendor and read this post don’t be scared to show the vendors you support on your home page, whether you just list them or show a logo it’s nice to know before the call is made.