Wednesday, August 19, 2015

Configuring UM 2007 Play on Phone




Unified Messaging(UM) play on phone is a simple feature for playing voice mails on a phone device. Play on Phone can be very useful, when there is no computer audio available to listen the voice mails. This feature works even if you have computer audio present and still want to listen the voice mail on a phone device and as long as you have a working phone device or a SIP client (audio enabled Lync or Communicator client) to play the messages.

To configure Play on Phone, first configure UM dial plan, second configure the UM mailbox policy and test the Play on Phone by playing a voice mail from Outlook Web Access.
Let's begin with UM dial plan configuration.

Configuring UM Dial Plan


 To configure the UM dial plan, Open Exchange Management Console, go to "Organization Configuration" > select "Unified Messaging".

Sometime you may see more than one UM dial plan, If your organization has created multiple dial plans. In my test lab environment, I have a single dial plan.
A dial plan is associated with one or more UM enabled mailbox, that's how the UM enabled users get voice mail extensions numbers.

Open Exchange 2007 management console

Next, open the property for UM dial plan. 

Open the dial plan property

You many see many tabs on UM dial plan property, dial plan name in my lab setup is "Lync UM 2007". 

Select the tab, "Dialing Rule Groups" and you will get two section

1. In-Country/Region Rule Groups" 2. International Rule Groups.

Exchange 2007 Unified Messaging is to receive voice mails, fax, etc. In all scenarios, it is supposed to receive inbound media and never to call anyone (no outbound calls in Exchange UM) except in some cases such as Play on Phone, playing Auto Attendant prompts to users and Call Answering Rules in Exchange 2010 Servers. If you are not familiar with these terms do not worry about it now.To read more about these features read following articles

New Unified Messaging Features in Exchange 2007 sp1

Unified Messaging 

In Dial Plan property, Select "Dialing Rule Groups" tab

The In-Country/Region Rules Groups and International Groups are those groups who will place outbound calls. We will add a specific Dialing Rule Entry in each Group to allow them to call specific dialing number pattern.
In Dialing Rule Entry, specify the name of the rule, number mask and dialed number.

Type * and allowed all type of number masks and dialed numbers.But in real time that's not the right way to do it. You may want to add some patterns to call specific numbers.

Number Mask can be, for example, 425 xxx xxxx and similarly, Dialed number can be 9xxxxxxxx. Dial string with mask is sent to UM IP gateway for outbound calls.

Note: Unified Messaging has does not support E.164 format numbers in Dialing Rule Entry. (tel:+425 353 2335).

Dialing Rule Entry to allow every number

Next, select Dialing Restrictions tab. Keep the "Allow calls to user within the same dial plan".
In Dialing Restriction tab, select appropriate Dialing Rule Groups which you want to allow.


Select "Dialing Restrictions" tab

Our In-Country/Region rule group is "All Access", select the group.

A Dialing Rule Group for In-Country/Region

Similarly, we can select 'International Groups" such as "All international Access" group.

All International Group

Before moving forward to configuring UM mailbox policy configuration, recheck if your dial plan is properly configured and you did not missed any steps. Close the property for UM dial plan.

Configuring UM default policy

Once again open the Exchange 2007 management console and go to > Organization Configuration"  > Unified Messaging 

Select the UM Mailbox Policy and open the property windows. UM Mailbox policy defines policies related to UM enabled mailboxes.

Select the UM Mailbox Policy tab

In the property windows, select "Allow calls to users within the same dial plan" and "Allow calls to extensions". These options are kind of self explanatory.

Need to select the In-Country/Region and International Rule Groups

In the UM mailbox property allow In-Country/Region and International Rules Groups for Outbound dialing.

In-country Rule groups

Select available In-Country/Region Groups which is "All Access".

International Rule Groups

Similarly, select the international Rule Groups that you want to allow for outbound dialing through Play on Phone.
If you do not add the above groups in UM Mailbox policies then an error message will occur similar to the one below.

Error Message

This completes the configuration of Play on Phone on Exchange 2007 UM server.Test the Play on Phone by playing a voice mail and make sure everything works correctly.

Testing Play on Phone 


Play on Phone does an outbound call using UM IP gateway.You need a hardware or software gateway configured as UM IP gateway in UM environment. In my lab environment, I am using SNOM one PBX as UM IP gateway which allows me to receive voice mail and play them on my soft phone (3CX phone) using Play on Phone feature.
First, log on to the phone device using one of the extensions from PBX. Configuration of PBX is beyond the scope of this article.

Log on to the Phone with PBX extension

Now that we are ready to play voice mail, open an exchange UM-enabled user's mailbox in Outlook Web Access.

Play on Phone option is just above the title of the voice mail. Click on Play on Phone option and enter extension number where you want to play the voice mail. Now this number must pass the dialing restrictions to work correctly.

Enter the Number where you want to play the message.

After you click "Dial" button, you will receive a call from Unified Messaging.

  As soon as you pick up the call, you can listen to the voice message.



Play on Phone is easy to configure, though we do not consider it an important feature. It is still sometimes very useful, if listening to received voicemail is your priority or you have a computer problem that will take time to get fixed and you cannot help but to use this feature.

Play on Phone is available in both Outlook  and OWA clients and however, it does not uses autodiscover service in newer Exchange 2010 server. That would be topic for another article.

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