Cisco Unity Connection is a feature-rich voice messaging platform that runs on the same Linux-based Cisco Unified Communications Operating System that is used by Cisco Unified Communications Manager. Connection scales to support enterprise organizations with up to 100,000 users. For organizations with up to 500 users, Connection is available in Cisco Unified Communications Manager Business Edition (CMBE), a single-server solution that includes a co-resident Cisco Unified Communications Manager, which further simplifies installation, support, and maintenance.
Connection includes the following features and components:
There are two ways in which users can interact with Cisco Unity Connection by phone:
Phone keypad keys—Users press keys on any touchtone phone to respond to prompts or select menu options.
Voice commands—Users speak into the phone handset, headset, or speakerphone, and Connection responds to their voice commands.
Note that users who are configured for the voice-recognition conversation have the option to press keys on the phone keypad for a primary set of commands rather than say a voice command.
The users can also press a key to toggle between the voice-recognition and touchtone conversations (by default, users press 9 to toggle between conversations, though you can use the Custom Keypad Mapping tool to assign a different key or keys). If users are assigned to the voice-recognition conversation and press 9 while in the main menu, they are switched to the touchtone conversation, and vice versa.
The Connection conversations can be customized both by administrators and by end users to maximize company and individual productivity. Users can configure the system to manage calls and messages in the way that is most comfortable and convenient for them, which makes messaging more efficient for “power users” and occasional voicemail users alike. In addition, for users who are accustomed to third-party voicemail conversations, Connection offers multiple conversation keypad mappings that can be further customized, as well as the option to create a new conversation by using the Custom Keypad Mapping tool.
To maximize the productivity of mobile workers, consider enabling the speech-activated voice command interface. This interface allows users to browse and manage voice messages and to call other Connection users or personal contacts by using simple, natural speech commands.
The phone interface also allows for access to Microsoft Exchange calendars, contacts, and emails, and to Cisco Unified MeetingPlace.
Note Microsoft Exchange calendars and Cisco Unified MeetingPlace cannot be configured simultaneously for a Connection user.
Automated Attendant Functionality
Cisco Unity Connection includes a full-featured automated attendant that is customizable to suit the needs of your organization. Connection provides a number of different call management elements that you can combine to customize how your system handles calls and collects input from callers. You can use the default configuration to play a company greeting to callers, allow them to enter user extensions or reach a directory of users, or reach an operator. Or, you can add and customize elements to create complex audio-text trees that can ask callers a series of questions and record their responses, offer tiered menus of product information, route calls to a support queue during working hours and to a mailbox after hours, immediately play legal disclaimers or “snow day” recordings to all callers before allowing them to interact with the system, and so on.
For information on call management in Connection and the various elements that make up the Connection conversation such as call handlers, directory handlers, interview handlers, call routing tables, schedules and holidays, and restriction tables, see the System Administration Guide for Cisco Unity Connection Release 9.x . Also in that guide is information on creating a call management plan, how outside callers and users interact with the Connection conversation, and how administrators and users can customize the Connection conversation. The guide is available at http://www.cisco.com/en/US/docs/voice_ip_comm/connection/9x/administration/guide/9xcucsagx.html .
Speech Connect for Cisco Unity Connection
Cisco Unity Connection includes a speech-enabled enhancement to the automated attendant functionality, called Speech Connect. Speech Connect uses voice-enabled directory handlers that allow both employees and outside callers can say the name of an employee and instantly be connected, without having to navigate an audio-text tree, and without knowing the extension of the employee. For easy access for employees, you can configure a Speech Connect speed dial on user phones.
If multiple employees have the same name or if Speech Connect does not have a perfect match for the name spoken by the caller, it presents numerous name choices for the caller and can include additional information such as the employee location or department. Speech Connect also plays the recorded name of the employee in his or her own voice, if available, making it easier for the caller to choose among multiple names.
Dial Plan Flexibility: Partitions and Search Spaces
Dial plan flexibility is supported through the use of partitions and search spaces, with which you can segment the Cisco Unity Connection directory for both dialing and addressing. For example, partitions and search spaces can be configured to allow for overlapping extensions, abbreviated dialing, or multi-tenant configurations.
If a user in a partition sends a voice message to another user in some other partition and both the users belongs to the same search space and share the same extension, then the called party partition gets replaced with the calling party partition. To resolve the overlapping of dial plan:
Use E.164 numbers with both the calling party and called party extensions.
Disable Identified User Messaging in System Settings of Connection Administration to disable the Phone Number Resolution and users will see only the phone number of the called party and not the phone number of the calling party who left the voicemail message.
When multiple languages are installed, you can configure the language for system prompts that are played to users and callers. Separate greetings can be recorded for users and call handlers in each language that is installed on the system. Routing rules can be configured to set the language for a call based on how the call reached the system.
In Cisco Unity Connection, you can configure Connection to synchronize voice messages in Connection user's mailbox with the user's Exchange mailbox configured on Microsoft Business Productivity Online Suite (BPOS-Dedicated) environments as well as other third party hosted dedicated Exchange environments.
Note Third-party hosted Exchange solution provider is responsible for the qualification or testing of the third-party Exchange environment to ensure proper integration with Cisco Unity Connection.
Bandwidth and latency requirements are identical to the bandwidth and latency requirements for on-premise Microsoft Exchange environments. The following attributes of BPOS-D environments are identical to the attributes of on-premise Microsoft Exchange environments:
In Cisco Unity Connection, you can also configure Connection to synchronize voice messages in Connection user's mailbox with the user's Exchange mailbox configured on Microsoft Office 365. For more information, see
Access to Calendar, Meeting, and Contact Information
When Cisco Unity Connection is configured for a calendar integration, users can access calendar and meeting information from Cisco Unified MeetingPlace, Cisco Unified MeetingPlace Express, and Microsoft Exchange, and can import Exchange contacts for use by rules created in the Personal Call Transfer Rules web tool and for use by voice commands when placing outgoing calls.
Note MeetingPlace Express is not supported with Cisco Unity Connection 9.0(1).
For more information, see the applicable document:
Web Inbox —The Web Inbox is an application that enables users to play, compose, reply to or forward, and manage Connection voice messages by using a web browser. The Web Inbox replaces the Messaging Inbox web tool that was available in the Cisco Personal Communications Assistant in earlier releases of Connection.
Cisco Unified Messaging with IBM Lotus Sametime —Cisco Unified Messaging with IBM Lotus Sametime integrates Connection voicemail into the IBM Lotus Sametime instant messaging application, allowing users to play their voice messages within Lotus Sametime. A list of all voice messages, including the caller name or number and the date and time, are displayed in a panel on the client window. Users simply click to play their voice messages. They can also sort and delete messages directly from the Lotus Sametime application. For more information, see the Release Notes for Cisco Unified Messaging with IBM Lotus Sametime at http://www.cisco.com/en/US/products/ps6509/prod_release_notes_list.html .
Visual Voicemail —Visual Voicemail is part of the Cisco Unified Communications Widgets suite of applications. Visual Voicemail allows users to view, listen, compose, forward, delete, and respond to voice messages from their Cisco Unified IP Phone display without having to dial into their Connection mailboxes. Visual Voicemail provides enhanced functionality compared with Connection Phone View, an older application that provides limited access to messages from the phone display. We recommend using Visual Voicemail rather than the older feature. For system requirements and information on installing, configuring, and using Visual Voicemail, see the documentation at http://www.cisco.com/en/US/products/ps9829/tsd_products_support_series_home.html .
RSS Feeds—As an alternative to checking messages by phone or by using the Web Inbox, an IMAP client users can retrieve voice messages by using an RSS (Really Simple Syndication) reader. When a user marks a message as read, the message is no longer displayed in the RSS reader, but a saved copy is available in the Connection mailbox of the user. For more information on configuring Connection to supply RSS feeds, see the “Configuring Access to RSS Feeds of Voice Messages in Cisco Unity Connection 9.x” section in the “Messaging in Cisco Unity Connection 9.x ” chapter of the System Administration Guide for Cisco Unity Connection Release 9.x, at http://www.cisco.com/en/US/docs/voice_ip_comm/connection/9x/administration/guide/9xcucsagx.html .
Accessing Voice Messages Using SMTP-based HTML Notifications
Cisco Unity Connection allows you to deliver embedded HTML notifications for a new voice message via SMTP to the end users. The HTML notifications on the computer support both Web email clients (such as Google Mail or Yahoo Mail) and desktop email clients (for example, Microsoft Outlook and IBM Lotus Notes). However, the HTML notifications on the mobile support only Web email clients.
Unlike the text-based SMTP notifications, the HTML notification functionality makes listening to your voice message just a click away. Once the user clicks on the play option in the new HTML-based notification email, the Mini Web Inbox browser-based client application is loaded to play that notified voice message. The HTML notification is also an alternative to traditional Unified Messaging and IMAP messaging, which allows integration with not only Exchange and Domino, but with Gmail as well.
The content and format of the HTML notifications received via email can be customized through a notification template, custom variables, and custom graphics. Cisco Unity Connection Administration and the Cisco Unity Connection Provisioning Interface (CUPI) APIs can be used to work on notification templates. The administrator need to follow a checklist and must take care of few steps while working on notification templates.
The Connection users are also allowed to set up an HTML notification device and configure the other settings using the Connection Messaging Assistant Web Tool of Cisco Personal Communications Assistant(PCA). The user can access the notified voice message by clicking the hyperlink given in the email for launching the Cisco Unity Connection Mini Web Inbox. With Connection Mini Web Inbox, the user can play, reply, reply all, forward, or delete the voice messages using a phone or a computer. On mobile, the Connection Mini Web Inbox is supported via telephone record and playback (TRAP) connections on the native browser.
The new HTML-based notifications functionality provides user with a new set of the Cisco Unity Connection Imaging Interface (CUII) APIs. In addition, there are certain set of activities that can be performed by the administrator and the user with some new introduced set of CUPI APIs.
For more information on how to manage notification templates using the Cisco Unity Connection Imaging Interface (CUII) and Cisco Unity Connection Provisioning Interface (CUPI) APIs, refer to the Cisco Unity Connection APIs .
Cisco Unity Connection SpeechView provides transcription of user voice messages. Users can view transcriptions of their messages by using an IMAP client that is configured to access their Connection messages. The transcription text can also be sent to an email address or mobile device.
In Cisco Unity Connection, based on your requirements, you can select either standard or professional SpeechView service to read the voicemail. The standard SpeechView service is a fully automated transcription service. However, professional SpeechView service involves automated transcription as well as human assistance in converting speech to text and delivering the text version of the voice message to your email inbox.
Cisco Unity Connection supports access to voice messages from Windows mobile phones, RIM BlackBerry devices, and Symbian OS phones through Cisco Unified Mobility Advantage and Cisco Unified Mobile Communicator. Cisco Unity Connection also supports Cisco CIUS tablet as client. Apple iPhones with Connection are supported via Cisco Mobile.
Cisco will no longer be selling Cisco Fax Server after May 2011; however, support for Cisco Fax Server will continue until May 2014. Users can send a fax to a fax machine for printing (users can specify the fax number by phone), download a fax from a supported IMAP client, and forward fax messages to other Connection users. When used in conjunction with fax detection on the Cisco IOS gateway, users can have a single number to receive both voice calls and fax calls, with voice calls forwarding to Connection and fax calls forwarding to the Third-party Fax Server. For more information, see the " Third-party Fax Servers Integration in Cisco Unity Connection 9.x" chapter.
Cisco Unity Connection can integrate with the following Third-party Fax Servers to support fax messages:
Users can send a fax to a fax machine for printing (users can specify the fax number by phone), download a fax from a supported IMAP client, and forward fax messages to other Connection users. When used in conjunction with fax detection on the Cisco IOS gateway, users can have a single number to receive both voice calls and fax calls, with voice calls forwarding to Connection and fax calls forwarding to the Third-party Fax Servers. For more information, see the " Third-party Fax Servers Integration in Cisco Unity Connection 9.x" chapter.
Cisco Unity Connection provides a set of tools for administrating, monitoring, and troubleshooting the system. These tools, some of which are also used by Cisco Unified Communications Manager, are designed to offer a consistent experience and to streamline the ongoing management and operation of the system.
Cisco Unified Serviceability —A monitoring and troubleshooting tool for serviceability that is shared with Cisco Unified Communications Manager. This tool allows you generate reports, enable alarms, set trace information, activate or deactivate services that are generic to the platform, and configure simple network management protocol (SNMP) operations.
Cisco Unity Connection Serviceability —A monitoring and troubleshooting tool for serviceability that is used only by Connection. This tool allows you generate reports, enable alarms, set trace information, manage a Connection cluster, and activate or deactivate services that are specific to Connection.
Real-Time Monitoring Tool —A tool that runs as a client-side application. This tool can monitor system performance, view system error messages, and collect trace log files.
Cisco Unified OS Administration —A tool that you can use to change operating system settings (for example, IP address or NTP servers), view hardware and software configuration information (for example, the amount of memory or the Cisco Unified Communications Operating System version), manage SSL certificates, upgrade Connection and the operating system (they are upgraded together), and enable remote access to the Connection server.
Cisco Unity Connection Administration —A tool used for most administrative tasks, including specifying settings for users and implementing a call management plan. Connection Administration provides access to several other tools including the Bulk Administration Tool, Custom Keypad Mapping, Task Management, and tools for importing and migrating user accounts.
When end users are given access to the browser-based Cisco Personal Communications Assistant (PCA), they can also be granted access to the following web tools:
Messaging Assistant—Allows users to quickly and easily change and manage personal settings such as voicemail options, passwords, personal distribution lists, and message-delivery options.
Cisco Unity Connection Personal Call Transfer Rules—Allows users to create call transfer rules that forward and screen incoming calls based on caller, time of day, or calendar status. (Personal Call Transfer Rules are supported only when Cisco Unity Connection is integrated with Cisco Unified Communications Manager phone systems.)
Web Inbox —Allows users to send and access voice messages.
Note Users can directly access the Web Inbox by going to http://<Connection host name>/inbox.
Cisco Unity Connection includes several Representational State Transfer (REST) application programming interfaces (APIs) that provide provisioning, messaging, and telephony access to Connection. These APIs provide the ability to integrate Connection features into existing enterprise-wide provisioning management systems and messaging clients.
The APIs are REST interfaces that standardize operations such as add, delete, view, and modify.
The Cisco Unity Connection Provisioning Interface (CUPI) API provides access to the most commonly provisioned data on Cisco Unity Connection systems—users, contacts, distribution lists, and call handlers.
By using CUPI for administrators, the following can be accomplished:
Create, read, update, and delete class of service settings, schedules, user alternate names, unified messaging services, private lists, user templates, routing rules, distribution lists, call handlers, contacts, partitions and search spaces, and users and user configurations
Import LDAP users
Import users from Cisco Unified Communications Manager on a Cisco Unified Communications Manager Business Edition (CMBE) server
By using CUPI for end users, the following can be accomplished:
Update transfer options (basic transfer rules), unified messaging account passwords, and user passwords and PINs
Record greetings and voice names
Create, read, update, and delete private lists and private list members, alternate names, and user-defined alternate extensions
Read SMTP proxy addresses. basic user information (for example, alias, display name, and DTMF access ID), class of service information, and administrator-defined alternate extensions
Cisco Unity Connection Notification Interface (CUNI) API provides notification for one or more users. CUNI is designed for use in server-to-server applications where receiving notifications for many users over a single connection is required. CUNI is designed to handle a small number of clients that are each subscribing for notifications on a large set of subscribers. CUNI requires administrative credentials, making it inappropriate for browser applications to use directly.
In Cisco Unity Connection, licenses are only required for users and features, which includes SpeechView, SpeechView Pro, and SpeechView Connect.The licenses for Connection are now managed by the Enterprise License Manager (ELM) server. To use the licensed features on Connection, the valid licenses for the features must be installed on the Enterprise License Manager (ELM) server and Connection must communicate with the ELM server to obtain the license. The ELM server provides centralized, simplified, and enterprise-wide management of user-based licensing. For more information on the ELM server and its configuration, refer to ELM user guide at
If you are using a supported LDAP directory for your corporate directory, Cisco Unity Connection gives you the option to synchronize a small subset of user data in the Connection database with user data in the LDAP directory. In addition, if you configure directory synchronization, you can have Connection authenticate user access to Connection web applications against Active Directory credentials. You can also configure Connection to periodically resynchronize Connection user data with user data in the LDAP directory.
Connection LDAP directory support does not require directory schema extensions, and access to the directory is read-only.
Connection also supports standalone users and users imported from Cisco Unified Communications Manager via AXL. Both standalone users and users imported from Cisco Unified CM can be converted to LDAP users at any time.
Cisco Security Agent —Connection includes Cisco Security Agent, a host-based, intrusion-prevention application that looks at the behavior of the traffic to and from the server, and at the way the applications are running on that server. If something is considered abnormal, Cisco Security Agent prevents that activity from occurring. For example, if a virus is trying to install a software package on a Connection server and that is something that has never happened before, the virus would be prevented from installing.
Single Sign-On —The single sign-on feature allows end users to log in once and gain access to Cisco Personal Communications Assistance, Web Inbox, Cisco Unity Connection Administration, and Cisco Unity Connection Serviceability applications. The single sign-on feature uses Active Directory and OpenAM simultaneously to provide single sign-on access to client applications. For more information, see the "Single Sign on in Cisco Unity Connection 9.x" chapter of the Security Guide for Cisco Unity Connection at http://www.cisco.com/en/US/docs/voice_ip_comm/connection/9x/security/guide/9xcucsecx.html .
Messages that are marked secure are stored only on the Cisco Unity Connection server, thereby disallowing secure messages from leaving an organization. Users cannot make local copies of secure messages. Message aging policies allow administrators to control how long secure messages are retained before they are archived or permanently deleted.
Secure messages can be played only by using the following interfaces:
Cisco Unity Connection ViewMail for Microsoft Outlook
Cisco Unity Connection ViewMail for IBM Lotus Notes
Cisco Unified Personal Communicator (CUPC)
Cisco Unified Mobile Communicator and Cisco Mobile
Cisco Unified Messaging with IBM Lotus Sametime Plug-in
Secure messages are streamed securely to these interfaces and do not leave the Connection server. When Connection servers are networked together in a Connection site, users on one system can send secure messages to users on another. In that situation, secure messages are encrypted with SMIME while they are in transit between servers.
The following interfaces do not support playback of secure messages:
Third-party IMAP email clients other than Cisco Unity Connection ViewMail for Microsoft Outlook
Note that when a customer configures a Cisco Unity Connection cluster (active/active high availability), two Connection servers are required:
The publisher server, which publishes the database and message store.
The subscriber server, which subscribes to the database and message store on the publisher server.
Note Both servers can service call traffic and client/administration traffic.
Voice Recognition is also supported on the Connection servers. For capacity planning for voice recognition, see the Cisco Unity Connection Supported Platforms List .
Supported Phone Systems
Cisco Unity Connection natively integrates with Cisco Unified Communications Manager and with Cisco Unified Communications Manager Express through Skinny Client Control Protocol (SCCP) or through a SIP trunk.
If the customer integrates Connection with a circuit-switched phone system, additional hardware is needed:
Cisco Unity Connection Clusters (Active/Active High Availability and Redundancy)
Cisco Unity Connection supports a two-server active/active cluster to provide high availability and redundancy. Both servers in the Connection cluster run Connection, and both accept calls, HTTP requests, and IMAP requests. If one server in the Connection cluster becomes inactive, the other server continues to provide the end-user functionality including voice calls, HTTP requests, and IMAP requests. In this situation, a lower port capacity will be available for taking voice calls. For more information, see the “Cisco Unity Connection 9.x Clusters (Active/Active High Availability)” chapter.
Intrasite and Intersite Networking
Each Cisco Unity Connection server (or cluster) has a maximum number of users that it can serve. When the messaging needs of your organization require more than one Connection server or cluster, or you need a way to combine multiple Connection directories or to internetwork Connection with Cisco Unity, you can link Connection servers or clusters together to form sites, and link a Connection site with another Connection site or with a Cisco Unity site to form a Cisco Voicemail Organization.
Cisco Unity Connection supports Voice Profile for Internet Mail (VPIM) version 2, which allows the exchange of voice and text messages with other messaging systems. You can use VPIM Networking to network Connection with other voice messaging systems, including Cisco Unity, Cisco Unity Connection, Cisco Unity Express, or any third-party voice messaging system that supports the VPIM version 2 protocol.
The Compatibility Matrix: Cisco Unity Connection and the Software on User Workstations includes the supported version combinations for Cisco Unity Connection and the software installed on user workstations, including browsers and versions supported for each browser when using the Cisco Personal Communications Assistant and Cisco Unity Connection web tools, supported IMAP clients, and information on the versions of Microsoft Outlook that are supported with ViewMail for Outlook and ViewMail for Notes.
The SCCP Compatibility Matrix: Cisco Unity Connection, Cisco Unified Communications Manager, and Cisco Unified Communications Manager Express includes the supported version combinations for SCCP integrations with Cisco Unity Connection, Cisco Unified Communications Manager, and Cisco Unified Communications Manager Express.
The SIP Trunk Compatibility Matrix: Cisco Unity Connection, Cisco Unified Communications Manager, and Cisco Unified Communications Manager Express includes the supported version combinations for SIP trunk integrations with Cisco Unity Connection, Cisco Unified Communications Manager, and Cisco Unified Communications Manager Express.
Deploying the ViewMail for Outlook (VMO) Windows Installer File (MSI) is supported through any software distribution package that supports the Windows Installer File (MSI) format. For more information, see the Release Notes for Cisco Unity Connection ViewMail for Microsoft Outlook , available at http://www.cisco.com/en/US/products/ps6509/prod_release_notes_list.html .
Release Notes for Cisco Unity Connection
Release Notes for Cisco Unity Connection contain information on new and changed requirements and support, new and changed functionality, limitations and restrictions, open and resolved caveats, and documentation updates.