IMAP and Cisco Unity Unified Messaging

Answered Question
Apr 20th, 2012

Hi All,

My employer is currently using Cisco Unity Connection with exchange mail accounts for a small number of their staff so that they receive any new voice mail in their e-mail as a ".wav" attachment. However, the majority of the staff are non-exchange users that are currently using IMAP accounts on our domain that are not configured for Unified Messaging.

The company would would like to offer Unified Messaging to all of our staff but are unsure of the implementation. I am under the impression that configuring Cisco Unity for their IMAP e-mail accounts will work but will effectively "break" their MWI lights. Is this true?

Am I correct in saying that the MWI works by using a Exchange "connector" to access the e-mail accounts of each user to check for read/unread messages and sets the light accordingly?

To get to the point, is there any way that a regular IMAP user can have Unified Messaging and MWI synchronization?

Thanks in advance!

I have this problem too.
0 votes
Correct Answer by William Bell about 1 year 12 months ago

Rock,

First, we should understand the different message handling features available in Unity Connection. Briefly:

1. Voicemail Only:  Unity Connection (CUC) accepts the call, records the message, and stores in locally. Standard notification actions are followed (e.g. MWI).

2. Relay: CUC accepts the call, records the message, and relays it to another email system using SMTP. No local copy of the message is saved. No notification actions are taken.

3. Accept + Relay: CUC accepts the call, records the message, stores a copy, and relays it to another email system using SMTP. Notification actions are taken. But, there is huge potential for user confusion since there is no sync between the local message store and the remote email system.

4. Integrated Messaging: CUC accepts the call, records the message, stores a local copy, and follows normal notification actions. Just like Voicemail only. The only difference is that a user can leverage an IMAP client to access the message store remotely. MWI status is synchronized in this case. So, if you read a message via IMAP, the MWI light is removed. A new voice message will light MWI. If you mark a read message as unread, it toggles the light (on). In many ways, the experience is similar to UM. The most notable difference is that it is another IMAP connection from the client perspective so emails and voice mails aren't in the same "Inbox" per se.

5. Single Inbox / Unified Messaging: CUC accepts the call, records the message, stores a local copy, and then pushes a copy to Exchange. CUC keeps message sync using EWS (Exchange 2007, 2010) or WebDav (Exchange 2003, 2007). You delete the message in Outlook (for example), your light is turned off. You receive a new message, light is lit. You read it, MWI light is turned off. You mark it unread, MWI is lit again. Etc. etc.

So, back to your question. Yes, you can have a deployment where you mix and match all of the above message handling features. You can have a few user mailboxes provisioned for Single Inbox/Unified Messaging and another group of users set up as Integrated Messaging (i.e. IMAP) and still another set of users as voicemail only.

Yes, you are correct that CUC is using an API (or "connector") to sync messages. Either EWS or WebDav.

Yes, regular IMAP users can have a Unified Messaging experience and MWI synchronization BUT Integrated Messaging and Unified Messaging are not the same thing (strictly speaking). With Integrated Messaging, there is one copy of the message on the CUC host/cluster. With UM/Single Inbox, CUC maintains a sync between the local message store and the Exchange message store.

I hope that clarifies things.

HTH.

Regards,

Bill

blog: http://ucguerrilla.com

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Correct Answer
William Bell Fri, 04/20/2012 - 18:34

Rock,

First, we should understand the different message handling features available in Unity Connection. Briefly:

1. Voicemail Only:  Unity Connection (CUC) accepts the call, records the message, and stores in locally. Standard notification actions are followed (e.g. MWI).

2. Relay: CUC accepts the call, records the message, and relays it to another email system using SMTP. No local copy of the message is saved. No notification actions are taken.

3. Accept + Relay: CUC accepts the call, records the message, stores a copy, and relays it to another email system using SMTP. Notification actions are taken. But, there is huge potential for user confusion since there is no sync between the local message store and the remote email system.

4. Integrated Messaging: CUC accepts the call, records the message, stores a local copy, and follows normal notification actions. Just like Voicemail only. The only difference is that a user can leverage an IMAP client to access the message store remotely. MWI status is synchronized in this case. So, if you read a message via IMAP, the MWI light is removed. A new voice message will light MWI. If you mark a read message as unread, it toggles the light (on). In many ways, the experience is similar to UM. The most notable difference is that it is another IMAP connection from the client perspective so emails and voice mails aren't in the same "Inbox" per se.

5. Single Inbox / Unified Messaging: CUC accepts the call, records the message, stores a local copy, and then pushes a copy to Exchange. CUC keeps message sync using EWS (Exchange 2007, 2010) or WebDav (Exchange 2003, 2007). You delete the message in Outlook (for example), your light is turned off. You receive a new message, light is lit. You read it, MWI light is turned off. You mark it unread, MWI is lit again. Etc. etc.

So, back to your question. Yes, you can have a deployment where you mix and match all of the above message handling features. You can have a few user mailboxes provisioned for Single Inbox/Unified Messaging and another group of users set up as Integrated Messaging (i.e. IMAP) and still another set of users as voicemail only.

Yes, you are correct that CUC is using an API (or "connector") to sync messages. Either EWS or WebDav.

Yes, regular IMAP users can have a Unified Messaging experience and MWI synchronization BUT Integrated Messaging and Unified Messaging are not the same thing (strictly speaking). With Integrated Messaging, there is one copy of the message on the CUC host/cluster. With UM/Single Inbox, CUC maintains a sync between the local message store and the Exchange message store.

I hope that clarifies things.

HTH.

Regards,

Bill

blog: http://ucguerrilla.com

RockCrayfish Mon, 04/23/2012 - 05:07

Hi Bill,

Thanks for the quick, and very informative, response. I have looked for some Cisco documentation on Integrated messaging and haven't found much. From your description it sounds like the user would just be adding another mailbox to there desktop mail client (Outlook). A mailbox that would have to communicate to each individual employee to add manually.

What I mean to say is, is it possible for the user to access their VMs in their regular IMAP e-mail inbox via a web client? There are quite a large number of users that are not exchange and access their regular IMAP e-mails through a web client and not a desktop client, say Outlook. I assumed it would be as easy as configuring the CUC user's account with their non-exchange e-mail as the corporate e-mail address in Cisco Unity Connection and synchronize their MWI with some kind of "IMAP connector".

Thanks again Bill!

Tommer Catlin Tue, 04/24/2012 - 08:21

All is well! At Partner Beta in SJ this week…. Well, Im in SJ every week.. ☺

RockCrayfish Tue, 04/24/2012 - 07:46

I realized that "CUC Accept and Relay" can be esily implemented under an individual user's "Message Actions" configuration on Cisco Unity. This will suffice.

Thanks again!

William Bell Tue, 04/24/2012 - 08:24

Rock,

Glad to help. As an aside, with Unity Connection 8.5 and later there is a feature called Web Inbox that you may be interested in.  See the following link for more information:

http://www.cisco.com/en/US/docs/voice_ip_comm/connection/8x/quick_start/guide/85xcucqsginbox.html

In versions prior to 8.5, you could access voice messages using the web portal via CiscoPCA.

HTH.

Regards,

Bill

http://ucguerrilla.com

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Posted April 20, 2012 at 11:58 AM
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