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Toshiba Launches Unified Messaging For Small Businesses

Toshiba America Information Systems introduced entry-level unified messaging server hardware for small to medium-sized businesses.

Strata Messaging is compatible with TAIS' Strata CIX family of Internet-based business communications systems. The new product, which is available through the company's dealers nationwide, is marketed as offering unified messaging to SMBs at a "very affordable price."

"In the past, small to medium businesses had to purchase expensive equipment for unified messaging features," Ron Hunsaker, senior product manager for TAIS' telecommunications systems division, said in a statement.

Strata Messaging is sized and priced for TAIS' smaller voice over IP systems, the Strata CIX40 and CIX100. The new product supports two to eight ports of voice mail, up to 400 mailboxes and has 300 hours of storage. The base system package offers two voice mail ports and 10 seats of unified messaging.

Strata Messaging, introduced Tuesday, is deployed on an external Linux-based appliance that connects to the Strata CIX through IP channels.

A major advantage of unified messaging is having one repository for e-mail, fax, voice mail, instant messaging and even video conferencing. The technology is particularly useful to companies that depend on staying connected, since a unified messaging system marries asynchronous applications such as store-and-forward e-mail with real-time applications that incorporate unified communications.

Today, implementation of unified communications platforms have been complicated by the tug of war between the types of devices employees want to use and the pragmatic concerns over security in running a business. With the iPhone, Macintosh computers, Linux PCs and social networking sites such as Facebook and Twitter infiltrating the workforce, most enterprises are looking for ways to support the diversity of systems and devices.

In approaching the problem, Bruce Morse, IBM's VP of unified communications and collaboration, recently advised attendees of VoiceCon 2009 in San Francisco to look for solutions that incorporate collaborative technologies as an important part of business communications.

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