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Plugging the Communications Time Drain

Two unified-messaging systems--Cisco Unity and Interactive's Communité--can plug the hole.

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Fly Like a Leagle

To investigate enterprise UM products, we developed an RFP based on a fictitious legal-services company called Legal Eagles LLC, or Leagles to its friends (see "Legal Eagles on the Hunt").

Leagles has offices in Boston, Chicago, New York, San Francisco and Seattle and specializes in providing high-quality, low-cost research and information services to law professionals nationwide. But the company feels constrained in its efforts to support clients, office workers and remote professionals with its current messaging infrastructure, which uses separate e-mail, fax and voicemail systems.

The San Francisco office is moving to Oakland to reduce operating costs and take advantage of a more favorable business climate. The Bay Area office leverages Active Directory with a Microsoft Exchange 2000 e-mail system and Captaris RightFax facilities. The legacy TDM (time-division multiplexing) PBX that supports the office's analog phones and voicemail has reached the end of its useful life. The new Oakland location provides QoS (quality of service) for voice and data on a Gigabit Ethernet (TCP/IP) backbone with switched 100-Mbps network connections to every desktop.

Leagles is looking forward to the benefits of a converged network and VoIP (voice over IP), but its immediate need is to get a grip on messaging via an IP-enabled UM system that supports SIP (Session Initiation Protocol). Then Leagles will be able to ride the next wave of Internet multimedia services. SIP will put more intelligence in PDAs and wireless data appliances to improve mobility management and extend true multimedia sessions to remote professionals. Getting a head start on this technology will put Leagles in a good position to increase its multimedia publishing efforts as it pursues possible mergers and acquisitions in the legal-publishing industry. Until then, SIP should improve LAN-based call and session management for a VoIP implementation.

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