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Voicemail "Dead Air" Information

You may already know about the situation we’re experiencing with the Aura Messaging (voicemail) system, but I wanted to provide a few details for those who don’t know.

The situation that occurs, manifests as “Dead Air”; that is, the messaging system provides no audible prompt or message when calls come in. After a number of seconds of dead air, the call is disconnected. The situation typically lasts about 2-3 minutes, after which normal function returns. Occasionally, though, the dead air event has lasted longer, prompting us to restart the messaging system to restore normal function.

Since many lines on campus are fronted by IVR-type menus, which are built in the Aura Messaging system, the dead air events affect more than just voicemail access, and can appear to be phones that are not working. This is the case for calls from both inside and outside the system.

We recently upgraded the Aura Messaging system to release 7.0. Part of the messaging application is a speech recognition/text-to-speech engine from Nuance, and Aura Messaging 7.0 comes with the newest 64-bit version of the Nuance speech engine. The Nuance component is apparently what hangs, resulting in the Dead Air event. This information has come from Avaya, which has escalated this problem to its highest level of application engineers.

The University of Montana also upgraded to Aura Messaging 7.0, and they are experiencing the dead air events much more frequently than we are. Avaya has reproduced the situation in various lab systems, so they know the problem is not site-specific. Avaya is working closely with Nuance to identify the root cause of the problem. They believe they know what is happening, but have been unable to ascertain why it happens. New logs are pulled every time we experience an event, in an effort to find what triggers the problem.

At this time, there is no need to contact the Service Desk whenever you or your users experience a "Dead Air" event. We appreciate your patience with this issue and will notify you when information changes.

Thank you,

David Zeter
Communication Services Manager
University Information Technology

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University Information Technology
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