New York businesses and residents displaced or left without phone service by the Sept. 11 attacks on the World Trade Center can now get back to business and stay in touch with Verizon Unified Communications Service (UCS), an innovative offering from Verizon and uReach Technologies.
The service enables customers to set up a virtual communications hub in minutes, accessible from any location, providing access to voice mail, e-mail, faxes and common files.
"During this difficult time, many New York City businesses are still without permanent offices and are struggling to rebuild while working from multiple locations with limited access to communications services," said Rich McCusker, director of retail messaging services for Verizon. "Residents also are displaced.
"We're expediting the introduction of a version of our unified communication service to help our New York customers stay in touch, wherever they are," he said
The company had planned a trial of the service later this year, but changed plans to help those displaced by the Sept. 11 attacks on New York.
"For displaced New York City customers, Verizon will provide Unified Communications Service free of charge for the first month, with a monthly recurring charge for subsequent months," McCusker said.
The Verizon Unified Communications Service unifies a customer's communications at a single, toll-free number and Web address, bringing together voice mail, e-mail, and faxes - all into one universal mailbox. Customers can be reached wherever they are -- whether in a hotel, a temporary office or at home. It also gives them and their co-workers access to files via a virtual filing cabinet on the Web.
Consumers, especially those with home offices and small businesses, today are managing several message boxes - home voice mail, office voice mail, wireless voice mail and various e-mail accounts. With Unified Communications, Verizon customers will receive a personal UCS toll-free number and e-mail address which will help them customize how they receive and respond to their calls and messages.
Here's how the Unified Communications Service works:
- Phone Service: Customers give their clients and associates a single, personal toll-free universal number to reach them or to send them faxes. Calls to the toll-free number can be automatically forwarded to up to four existing wireline or wireless numbers in the sequence of the customer's choice. Through a secure Web site, customers program and make changes to where and when their calls are forwarded so that no important calls are missed. If they are unable to answer the call, the service will take a message. Voice mail and e-mail messages received in the universal mailbox -- as well as calendar events and address book items -- can be accessed from a phone, the Web or a personal digital assistant.
- Virtual Filing Cabinet: Files can be stored in a secure data center and retrieved using a Web browser, enabling customers to store and access files no matter where they are working. Files also can be attached to e-mail and voice mail messages.
- E-mail: A new e-mail account is provided and many existing e-mail accounts also can be accessed using the service. Customers also can listen and even reply to e-mail messages using a phone through text-to-speech technology.
- Message Notification: Customers can program the service to alert them of incoming messages, calls and e-mail via their wireless phone, pager or Instant Messaging.
- Virtual Fax Machine: Faxes are sent to the toll-free universal number. Fax messages can be forwarded to any fax machine or personal digital assistant and can be read with a Web browser. Customers also can be notified by phone, pager or Instant Messaging when a fax comes in. In addition, customers who do not have access to a printer can send their documents to any fax machine to be printed.
In response to the disaster, customers who order Verizon Unified Communications Service by Oct. 31 will receive the first month at no charge. They also will receive 60 minutes of inbound and outbound calling from their toll-free number at no extra charge. After the first month, three packages will be offered: $12.95 for 30 minutes of inbound and outbound calling time, $16.95 for 75 minutes and $25.95 for 200 minutes.
Bundles of additional minutes can also be purchased. Initially, orders must be placed online at http://www.verizon-ucs.com.
Earlier this month, Verizon and uReach Technologies entered into an agreement to offer Unified Communications Service to Verizon customers sometime later this year.
Verizon Communications (NYSE:VZ) is one of the world's leading providers of communications services. Verizon companies are the largest providers of wireline and wireless communications in the United States, with 125 million access line equivalents and approximately 28 million wireless customers. Verizon is also the largest directory publisher in the world. A Fortune 10 company with about 260,000 employees and more than $65 billion in annual revenues, Verizon's global presence extends to 40 countries in the Americas, Europe, Asia and the Pacific. For more information on Verizon, visit www.verizon.com.
uReach Technologies, Inc. has developed solutions that simplify the way in which people communicate in today's increasingly virtual and information-rich world. The company's Unified Communications solution, which has been market tested for two years by 800,000 subscribers, enables any information - in any form, such as email, voice mail, faxes or paging messages -- to be accessed from any device. UReach's carrier-class Enhanced Services Framework enables wireless, wireline and broadband service providers to quickly deploy Unified Communications solutions that complement their core services and provide an unparalleled communications experience for their customers, while generating new recurring revenue and retaining valuable customers. Based in Holmdel, N.J., uReach is a privately held company. For more information, visit www.uReachCorp.com.