Global Voicemail

Paul Finnigan - Tokyo 1986

Paul Finnigan - Tokyo 1986


The initial successes for Voicemail resulted in rapid growth of services provided from the Voicemail Center in Santa Clara, California.  And with Voicemail's success with several major airlines and movie production companies, a second Voicemail Center was opened in Los Angeles.  Additional licensed Voicemail centers began offering Voicemail service in Denver, CO, Portland Or and Newark, NJ.

The opportunity for Voicemail was worldwide and Voicemail eventually made contact with Radio Suisse, a subsidiary of Swiss Telecom, who marketed advanced telecom services. Radio Suisse was offering a regional paging service that covered most of Western Europe and recognized the opportunities of Voicemail messaging and information services.  

The first European Voicemail Center in Bern Switzerland began service in 1983 offering English, French and German language vocabularies and providing subscribers with Touch-Tone dialers. Shortly thereafter, Voicemail held an seminar in Luzanne that was attended by major airlines throughout Europe that soon followed the Voicemail path of U.S. Airlines.

By 1987, thirty five public Voicemail Centers were operating in fourteen countries in Europe, Scandinavia and the Pacific Rim plus nearly an equal number of Centers were operated by information providers worldwide. Voicemail held a virtual monopoly in the Voicemail Service industry, was the favored choice by Public Telephone companies and was a top candidate for supplying its technology to the Bell Operating Companies who were poised to introduce Voicemail services throughout the U.S.

At the International Telecommunications Conference in Geneva Switzerland, Voicemail demonstrated its latest step forward by sending messages between voicemail systems in Santa Clara CA and Bern Switzerland. Further, messages were exchanged between five participating vendors' systems located around the world. The interoperability was achieved by the adoption and compliance with standards developed by the newly formed International Voicemail Association (VMA) and approved by the CCITT international standards association. 

VMA Chairman René Beusch and President Paul Finnigan had organized service providers in the "Club of Berne", sponsoring annual conferences throughout Europe and Scandinavia since 1983.  The VMA continued the focus on sharing of ideas and experiences  in marketing and technical matters between members eventually representing two hundred telecom operators and equipment manufacturers.