Comcast Brings Voicemail to the Web

Digital cable TV, Internet, and phone service provider Comcast today announced plans to launch the SmartZone communications center, which will give its 12 million broadband Internet service customers free access to a unified messaging platform to manage voicemails, emails, contact lists, instant messages, and other calling functions, such as call history and call forwarding, through one Web-based portal.

The service, which can be accessed through Comcast's Web site, www.comcast.net, is scheduled to begin rolling out later this year. With it, Comcast customers will be able to go to one central location to send and receive email, check voicemail online and forward voicemails to anyone as an email attachment, send and receive text and video instant messages, and manage a new smart address book. The SmartZone communications center can be personalized with other features like weather, news reports, and video clips.

"With the SmartZone communications center, we continue to provide superior value to Triple Play customers by putting a suite of communications tools right at their fingertips. From one central dashboard, they will now be able to manage all of their communications needs as well as customize their experience," says Greg Butz, senior vice president of product development at Comcast.

SmartZone will initially be offered to new subscribers and will eventually be available at no extra charge to subscribers of Comcast's Digital Voice Service. The company also envisions a day in the not-too-distant future when it will offer similar services on TVs.

Butz calls the SmartZone "an exceptionally simple and intuitive communications application that will enable our customers to keep in touch with anyone, from anywhere."

Key partners involved in the project include Hewlett Packard, which will design, build, and manage the communications center; Plaxo, which is providing the address book application; and Zimbra, a provider of next-generation unified messaging and collaboration software. Comcast's SmartZone communications center will also incorporate anti-spam and anti-phishing software from Bizanga and Cloudmark, and Trend Micro's anti-virus software.

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