Implementing a unified messaging system in an environment with traditional telephone systems requires different service servers and service gateways which communicate over a network. The server uses the respective gateway to connect to the various communication systems and ensures messages are processed, unified and made available in a central location. Incoming analogue messages are first digitised. In the case of printed information, this may be done using optical character recognition (OCR). Voice messages are converted to sound files or text files.
Since the introduction of Voice over IP telephony and merging speech and data networks, unified messaging systems can conveniently be made available through the cloud. Basic unified messaging functions are standard in many cloud telephone systems hosted online. Users only need an internet connection to access all of the information made available by the unified messaging system over the cloud. Specific hardware such as gateways or servers are no longer required at the business site.