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Exchange 2010 Play-on-Phone

This is just a quick heads up on the Play-on-Phone feature in Exchange 2010. I was testing several of the new UM features in my lab and one that had me scratching my head was Play-on-Phone which allows a UM user to play messages at their internal extension or any number they choose, providing the dialing rules and policies are in place to allow that. This is a useful feature for connections that might not provide audio functions, such as a kiosk or corporate desktop. This is also useful when privacy is needed. Users can simply click on the button and dial their internal or external extension and have the messages played over the phone.

In Exchange 2007 OWA, for example, you would normally see the Play-on-Phone button located at the top of the preview pane and would simply click on this button to initiate dialing a number. Well, in Exchange 2010 things have changed slightly. Aside from the virtual UnifiedMessaging directory being deprecated in 2010 in lieu of the EWS virtual directory, the Play-on-Phone feature only seems to be available when you open the message instead of just previewing it. I confirmed this with another professional who also saw this behavior in their lab. This seems to only affect OWA clients. The fat Outlook client still displays the Play-on-Phone in the preview window.

In the OWA preview pane there is no more Play-on-Phone button available.

UM-Voicemail1

Opening the message in OWA reveals the Play-on-Phone button.

UM-Voicemail2

I don’t know how many people may be used to this particular feature but I thought it might be useful to know that administrators and support staff may need to update their instructions and notify users of this cosmetic change for OWA users. I’m not quite sure why MS decided to make this change but perhaps this was by popular demand as do some of their feature enhancements that make their way into final release of the product.

There are quite a few great new features in Exchange 2010 UM like call answering rules, rights management for voicemail messages and voicemail message preview. One note about voicemail preview is that if the voice connection isn’t clear or Exchange doesn’t quite understand the words spoken in the message, the preview text can be incorrect and potentially confusing or even embarrassing. My test message in the voicemail sample above was supposed to read, “Hi Ryan, it’s Erik. Give me a call.” Not a major problem considering this was a test but far from the message I left.

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