Voicemail (or voice mail, voice-mail, vmail or VMS, sometimes called messagebank) is a centralized system of managing telephone messages for a large group of people.
In its simplest form it mimics the functions of an answering machine, uses a standard telephone handset for the user interface, and uses a centralized, computerized system rather than equipment at the individual telephone. Voicemail systems are much more sophisticated than answering machines in that they can:
- answer many phones at the same time
- store incoming voice messages in personalized mailboxes associated with the user’s phone number
- enable users to forward received messages to another voice mailbox
- send messages to one or more other user voice mailboxes
- add a voice introduction to a forwarded message
- store voice messages for future delivery
- make calls to a telephone or paging service to notify the user a message has arrived in his mailbox
- transfer callers to another phone number for personal assistance
- play different message greetings to different callers.