Chapter 14. Unified Voice Mail Server

When we first started demonstrating VOCAL at trade shows and other promotional meetings, we realized that we needed an attention getter. Nobody was going to get excited about authentication and security, never mind making and receiving phone calls with IP phones. We needed a feature that was simple to operate and immediately useful, as well as being a novel, fun thing to play around with. Voice Mail seemed to satisfy these requirements.

There was only one small problem: we didn’t have a Voice Mail system. Writing a system from scratch was too much of a distraction. So, we did what any self-respecting organization would do: we hired a contractor. Basically, between the contractor and ourselves, we hacked together this little Voice Mail system without ever intending to use it in a real-life situation. We assumed that other companies were building unified messaging systems, and eventually, systems that were vastly superior to anything that we could build in six months would be on the market.

As we wait for a superior system to appear, we keep fixing and improving our system. And even though it was never meant to be a commercial-grade, usable Voice Mail system, it works, and we have deployed it in our own offices with about 70 users. Before you get too excited, it is our duty to inform you that the code for this system is held together by the proverbial chewing gum and baling wire; in other words, it ain’t pretty. By including this system within VOCAL, ...

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