NEW YORK - You can't teach an answering machine new tricks, but voice mail is another story. Verizon home and business voice mailboxes now can alert customers on their Verizon Wireless phones that someone has left a message.
Verizon voice-messaging customers in Florida, North Carolina and South Carolina now can add a feature that sends a text message to any Verizon Wireless short text messaging-capable phone with an alert that a new voice message has been left in the customer's landline voice mailbox. Customers in New York City and New England got the new feature in June.
"One more barrier to efficient communications has fallen. One more gap in the continuum of efficient communication has been closed," said Rich McCusker, director of product development for Verizon. "Voice messages don't have to lie dormant, waiting for someone to look for them; now they shout out, 'I'm here, whenever you're ready for me.'"
Verizon voice-messaging customers who also have Verizon Wireless digital service can request the additional feature from Verizon's landline home and business representatives when ordering voice mail service or by calling the Verizon service center number on their bill. There is no charge for receipt of the SMS (Short Message Service) alert where the service is available.
"This new feature enriches an already valuable service that millions of customers use for staying in touch," McCusker said. "The reliability and versatility of our voice messaging products is proven time and again, day after day. From personal reminders you deliver to yourself to multiple mailboxes, it all works even when the power's out, because it's built into our network."
When a caller leaves a message on the regular phone line, customers who choose the service will get an alert on their wireless phone that reports a message is waiting at the home or business line's voice mail access number. Multiple work and home mailboxes can all report new messages to the same wireless phone, since the access numbers for message retrieval will be different for each.
The new service uses technology that supports communication between otherwise parallel networks, technology that is already employed by Verizon's iobi call-management product line. Customers in the Northeast and elsewhere can use various versions of iobi to manage all their messaging from a single platform, including using a computer screen icon to direct calls in real time as they come in.
"Some call it convergence, some call it integration, but we think our customers will call it 'helpful,'" McCusker said.
In participating markets, Verizon home and business customers also can get a single bill for their landline and Verizon Wireless bills. Called ONE-BILL, it is available for free for customers whose accounts are current.
With more than $71 billion in annual revenues, Verizon Communications Inc. (NYSE:VZ) is one of the world's leading providers of communications services. Verizon has a diverse work force of more than 214,000 in four business units: Domestic Telecom provides customers based in 28 states with wireline and other telecommunications services, including broadband. Verizon Wireless owns and operates the nation's most reliable wireless network, serving 47.4 million voice and data customers across the United States. Information Services operates directory publishing businesses and provides electronic commerce services. International includes wireline and wireless operations and investments, primarily in the Americas and Europe. For more information, visit www.verizon.com.