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e mail Alert System seminar report
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The integration of Internet services and telephony services is a new area for the development of telecommunications services. One example is an e-mail alerting service that uses the telephony network for e-mail notification. The EMA system is a computer telephony integration (CTI) application that checks a userâ„¢s mailbox on the mail server and informs him/her over the phone when new e-mail arrives, elimination the need for permanent Internet connection. The EMA system has a we-based interface, enabling the user to configure service parameters. The EMA system is developed as a distributed and concurrent application. It consists of seven modules: the console, web interface, web handler, controller, voice machine, database and mail checker using communications solutions based on COM technology. The structure of the EMA system, its implementation and advantages for users are described in detail in this seminars

Today we are witnessing fast changes in telecommunications computer and telephone ate two technologies that have made significant revolution in communications, but for technological reasons they were developed separately. Fast development of communication and computer technology lead to the merging of the public switched telephone network (PSTN) and the internet to become global information network of integrated services. Internet services ate becoming a more important way of information exchange and communication, turning telephony and mobile telephony toward internet services.
One of the deficiencies of internet services over fixed and mobile telephony is the availability of service: internet services are available only when connected. The results of our research carried out before the development of the e-mail Alert (EMA) System show that internet users receive on average five to six e-mails every day and 82 percent of these users in the course of their internet connection check their mail box first. Thus there is a clear demand for the development of e-mail alerting systems. EMA system is computer telephony integration (CTI) application that integrates advantages of telephony and the internet by connecting e-mail and phone services. The EMA system will inform users of the arrival of new e-mail messages, which is convenient if you donâ„¢t allow e-mail servers access from outside. On the other side are internet or service providers with a large number of users. To satisfy both groups of requirements, two versions of EMA system are proposed. The enterprise version is developed in order to allow e-mail server access inside intranet environments, while the public version is designed for public service providers. The EMA system is implemented on Win 32 platform using c and c++ programming languages HTML, ASP, java Script and VB Script are used for the Web interface to overcome deference in Web browsers.

Every day, the citizens of the Internet send each other billions of e-mail messages. If you are online a lot, you yourself may send a dozen or more e-mails each day without even thinking about it. Obviously, e-mail has become an extremely popular communication tool.
An E-mail Message
The first e-mail message was sent in 1971 by an engineer named Ray Tomlinson. Prior to this, you could only send messages to users on a single machine. Tomlinson's breakthrough was the ability to send messages to other machines on the Internet, using the @ sign to designate the receiving machine. An e-mail message has always been nothing more than a simple text message -- a piece of text sent to a recipient. In the beginning and even today, e-mail messages tend to be short pieces of text, although the ability to add attachments now makes many e-mail messages quite long. Even with attachments, however, e-mail messages continue to be text messages -- we'll see why when we get to the section on attachments.
E-mail Clients
You have probably already received several e-mail messages today. To look at them, you use some sort of e-mail client. Many people use well-known stand-alone clients like Microsoft Outlook, Outlook Express, Eudora or Pegasus. People who subscribe to free e-mail services like Hotmail or Yahoo use an e-mail client that appears in a Web page. If you are an AOL customer, you use AOL's e-mail reader. No matter which type of client you are using, it generally does four things:
¢ It shows you a list of all of the messages in your mailbox by displaying the message headers. The header shows you who sent the mail, the subject of the mail and may also show the time and date of the message and the message size.
¢ It lets you select a message header and read the body of the e-mail message.
¢ It lets you create new messages and send them. You type in the e-mail address of the recipient and the subject for the message, and then type the body of the message.
¢ Most e-mail clients also let you add attachments to messages you send and save the attachments from messages you receive.
Sophisticated e-mail clients may have all sorts of bells and whistles, but at the core, this is all that an e-mail client does.
E-mail Servers
Given that you have an e-mail client on your machine, you are ready to send and receive e-mail. All that you need is an e-mail server for the client to connect to. Let's imagine what the simplest possible e-mail server would look like in order to get a basic understanding of the process. There are Web servers, FTP servers, telnet servers and e-mail servers running on millions of machines on the Internet right now. These applications run all the time on the server machine and they listen to specific ports, waiting for people or programs to attach to the port. The simplest possible e-mail server would work something like this:
¢ It would have a list of e-mail accounts, with one account for each person who can receive e-mail on the server. My account name might be mbrain, John Smith's might be jsmith, and so on.
¢ It would have a text file for each account in the list. So the server would have a text file in its directory named MBRAIN.TXT, another named JSMITH.TXT, and so on.
¢ If someone wanted to send me a message, the person would compose a text message ("Marshall, Can we have lunch Monday John") in an e-mail client, and indicate that the message should go to mbrain. When the person presses the Send button, the e-mail client would connect to the e-mail server and pass to the server the name of the recipient (mbrain), the name of the sender (jsmith) and the body of the message.
¢ The server would format those pieces of information and append them to the bottom of the MBRAIN.TXT file. The entry in the file might look like this:
From: jsmith
¢ To: mbrain
¢ Marshall,
¢ Can we have lunch Monday
¢ John
There are several other pieces of information that the server might save into the file, like the time and date of receipt and a subject line; but overall, you can see that this is an extremely simple process.
As other people sent mail to mbrain, the server would simply append those messages to the bottom of the file in the order that they arrived. The text file would accumulate a series of five or 10 messages, and eventually I would log in to read them. When I wanted to look at my e-mail, my e-mail client would connect to the server machine. In the simplest possible system, it would:
1. Ask the server to send a copy of the MBRAIN.TXT file
2. Ask the server to erase and reset the MBRAIN.TXT file
3. Save the MBRAIN.TXT file on my local machine
4. Parse the file into the separate messages (using the word "From:" as the separator)
5. Show me all of the message headers in a list
When I double-clicked on a message header, it would find that message in the text file and show me its body.
Nowadays GSM is emerging as the most widely used telephone system. Global system for mobile communication (GSM) is a globally accepted standard for digital cellular communication. GSM is the name of a standardization group established in 1982 to create a common European mobile telephone standard that would formulate specifications for a pan-European mobile cellular radio system operating at 900 MHz. It is estimated that many countries outside of Europe will join the GSM partnership.
Cellular is one of the fastest growing and most demanding telecommunications applications. Today, it represents a continuously increasing percentage of all new telephone subscriptions around the world. Currently there are more than 45 million cellular subscribers worldwide, and nearly 50 percent of those subscribers are located in the United States. It is forecasted that cellular systems using a digital technology will become the universal method of telecommunications. By the year 2005, forecasters predict that there will be more than 100 million cellular subscribers worldwide. It has even been estimated that some countries may have more mobile phones than fixed phones by the year 2000 (see Figure 1).

Figure 1. Cellular Subscriber Growth Worldwide
The concept of cellular service is the use of low-power transmitters where frequencies can be reused within a geographic area. The idea of cell-based mobile radio service was formulated in the United States at Bell Labs in the early 1970s. However, the Nordic countries were the first to introduce cellular services for commercial use with the introduction of the Nordic Mobile Telephone (NMT) in 1981. Cellular systems began in the United States with the release of the advanced mobile phone service (AMPS) system in 1983. The AMPS standard was adopted by Asia, Latin America, and Oceanic countries, creating the largest potential market in the world for cellular. In the early 1980s, most mobile telephone systems were analog rather than digital, like today's newer systems. One challenge facing analog systems was the inability to handle the growing capacity needs in a cost-efficient manner. As a result, digital technology was welcomed. The advantages of digital systems over analog systems include ease of signaling, lower levels of interference, integration of transmission and switching, and increased ability to meet capacity demands.

GSM provides recommendations, not requirements. The GSM specifications define the functions and interface requirements in detail but do not address the hardware. The reason for this is to limit the designers as little as possible but still to make it possible for the operators to buy equipment from different suppliers. The GSM network is divided into three major systems: the switching system (SS), the base station system (BSS), and the operation and support system (OSS). The basic GSM network elements are shown in Figure 2.

Figure 2. GSM Network Elements
Data Communication Functional Elements
Message center (MXE)”The MXE is a node that provides integrated voice, fax, and data messaging. Specifically, the MXE handles short message service, cell broadcast, voice mail, fax mail, email, and notification.
Mobile service node (MSN)”The MSN is the node that handles the mobile intelligent network (IN) services.
Gateway mobile services switching center (GMSC)”A gateway is a node used to interconnect two networks. The gateway is often implemented in an MSC. The MSC is then referred to as the GMSC.
GSM interworking unit (GIWU)”The GIWU consists of both hardware and software that provides an interface to various networks for data communications. Through the GIWU, users can alternate between speech and data during the same call. The GIWU hardware equipment is physically located at the MSC/VLR.

An e-mail service user has to connect to the Internet to check for new messages without knowing if there are any. That can be frustrating if some important message is expected. Also, it is not always possible to connect at any time at any place. The EMA System periodically scans the userâ„¢s mailbox on the mail server when e-mail arrives it activates an announcement machine to inform the user by sending him an appropriate voice message. The user of internet-accessible e-mail account on e-mail server that supports the POP3or IMAP4 protocol.
To satisfy different customer needs, the EMA system has two versions: Enterprise and public (Fig 1). The Enterprise version has been developed for companies with local intranets. The Enterprise version supports up to 5000 subscribers and 1000 active users in the checking process and uses analog telephone lies to the private branch exchange (PBX).The public version can serve up to 50,000 subscribers with up to 5000 active users using E1 integrated services digital network (ISDN)links to the PSTN exchange.
The EMA system fulfils five requirements:
Registration: In order to use the ENA System function, the user must be registered first. Registration will be performed once by either the EMA System administrator using the console, or by the user via a Web interface. The userâ„¢s data will be stored in the system database.
Activation: When registered, the user is allowed to activate the EMA system function over the Web interface. T he user specified up to three mail servers with corresponding logins and passwords, a list of up to 10 target e-mail addresses, which the EMA System has to check, and the function activity period. There is also a choice to make the function inactive (i.e. overnight)
Notification: After activating the EMA System function, user mailboxes are periodically scanned against new target e-mails. When target e-mail arrives, an alert call to the userâ„¢s phone is initiated. If the user received the call and accepts it by typing the acceptance code, the alert call is considered successful. Otherwise, the function will repeat the alert call after a specified period of time

Deactivation: The EMA System f unction can be deactivated in several ways: by selecting the deactivation number on the phone during a notification call specifying a deactivation time on the Web form when activating the function to passive state on the Web: automatically if the maximum number of unsuccessful alert call is reached.
Charging: Charging for the EMA system is available in the public version only .It consists of three parts: a monthly registration fee, a fee proportional to duration of use of the function, and the price of calls initiated by the function.

The EMA system consists of seven modules: a controller, console, voice machine, mail checker, Web interface, Web handler and database.]
Modules are independent and do not necessarily reside on the same host. Network transparency and differences in data representation are resolved by middleware (i.e. any technology that facilitates the process of building distributed applications.) In this case middleware is the component Object Model (COM) or Distributed (COM). COM underneath its surface uses the remote procedure call (RPCO mechanism as a core for distributing tasks over a network. Modules interact through the middleware, regardless of the language used to construct each part. The controller, mail checker, voice machine and Web handling modules have been developed by using the C and C+ + programming languages. The web module is constructed using Java script, ASP, VB Script and HTML. The controller module communicates with the database through ActiveX Data Object (ADO) using SQL queries.
The EMA System processes can be divided into three main layers: presentation, application and data as represented in Microsoft Distribution Internet applications Architecture (DNA) (Fig.2.). This architecture describes technologies that provide the complete, integrated; n-tier development model services developers require building scalable and dependable enterprise level systems on the platform.
The Enterprise version uses Microsoft Access database for data storage and an analog interface to the PBX. This meets the systemâ„¢s capacity requirement for data storage and telephony interface. The Public versionâ„¢s large number of users requires a robust database system. For that purpose Microsoft SQL is used. To support the charging requirement and the large number of users, an ISDN E1 interface to the telephone exchange had to be used.


In Fig 3 the module intercommunication is described. Users can register to become EMA System service users via the When interface or the console. In order to simplify the module intercommunication in fig .3, the Web server and Web handler are integrated into one module (Web handler). User data will be sent to and stored in the database through the Web handler, which will immediately send e-mail with the userâ„¢s personal identification number (PIN) to the user. When the user gets his \her PIN, he \she can activate the EMA System service via the Web interface or the console. Request for activation of service will be sent to the controller, which will pick up user data from the database. Then the controller will send a request to the mail checker to scan the user mailbox (or mail boxes). When the mail checker detects next mail, it will send a message to the controller. From user data the controller will read the userâ„¢s notification phone number and send a request for a user notification to the voice machine. When the user obtains the message from the voice machine he must enter his PIN. If the PIN is correctly entered an appropriate voice message is played. Then the user can decide whether or not to deactivate the service. The EMA System module description is given below.


The EMA System consists of seven modules: controller, console and voice machine, mail checker, Web handler, and Web interface and database.
The controller is the central module in the EMA system. It handles requests from the Web interface through the database, scans the database for new users, sends requests to the mail checker to check the user's mailbox and collects the results from it. If new e-mail is detected, the controller sends the request to the voice machine to initiate an alert call. The result from the voice machine is then sent back to the controller. The controller also verifies entire actions ordered from the administrator's console. As implied, the controller serves as a middleman in all processing in the EMA System. This serves as a great framework for managing other processes, security and system robustness.
The console is an administration tool that enables EMA System administrators to administer the EMA System components. Most actions ordered from the administrator's consol are also verified and handled by the controller. As an integral part of the EMA System, the console works as an independent process. It has methods for local functions and for connections with other modules via the controller.
It enables EMA System administrators to manage actions related to user and changing data, activation and deactivation of the EMA System, and controlling the Web handler, mail checker and voice machine modules. The console allows administrators to perform operations such as.
Starting and stopping the EMA System
Updating the user database: add new user, delete user, view and change user's data
Charging operation: edit charging user's data' edit statistics of the EMA System calls for target user, edit charging archive file with all users, print that charging data, remove old charging data and store them into database.
Viewing and printing log files with all kinds of error and special events that happened on the EMA System modules.
Viewing system load data.
Parameters: change global application system parameters and administrator's login and password.
The voice machine connects the EMA System to the telephony network. The hardware used is integrated to an add-on board with voice processing capability and an antilog or digital (with ISDNsupport) interface. The multiple board configurations allow scaling from two to 64analog channels or up to eight E1ISDN links.
The software part of the voice machine processes requests from the controller and initiates the notifications call on an available channel toward the service user. The notification call is state machine controlled. The call state machine controls voice processing, call establishment, call progress and user keypad input and obtains billing information from the exchange using the installed board. T he call outcome (successful notification, user busy no answer etc.) is reported back to the controller. The call state machine design was tested using Petri nets in the earlier phases of the project to verify the proposed solution formally, particularly the liveliness property, in order to avoid potential deadlocks and possible conflict activities.
The mail checker is designed as an unlimited queuing system with a limited number of connections to mail servers. Currently, it supports up to 20 simultaneous connections to the Internet/intranet, which can be extended to suit particular operator's needs. The preferred communication Protocol is POP3 because of its larger over the Internet and greater flexibility regarding the mail checking process.
The Web handler is the interface to the EMA System database (fig.4) Active Server Pages (ASP) has a server-side script interpreter that enables running Visual operator's needs The preferred communication protocol is POP3 because of its larger spreading over the Internet and greater flexibility regarding the mail checking process.
The Web handler is the interface to the EMA System database (Fig.4) Active Server Pages (ASP) has a server-side script interpreter that enables running Visual Basic scripts on the Web server. This script can make calls to the Web handler and send t he results out through the Web server to Web browsers. An ASP script calls the web handier, which communicates with the database through ADO. The ASP Scrip can then send the data from the database through the Web server to the web client. Each request from a single web client is entirely separate from all other requests.
Web application development is based on Microsoft Visual Inter Dev, ASP and COM working principles, Java Scrip, VB Script and HTML fundamentals are used.
The Web interface is the interface towards the user of the EMA System. From the Web interface the user can register, update parameters, change his/her PIN, be informed about his/her PIN in case he/she forgets it, and send trouble reports to the EMA System administrator. Updating parameters include:
¢ Activation/deactivation date and time
¢ Pass ice Period (i.e. overnight)
¢ Notification phone number
¢ Up to three user mailboxes to be checked by toe EMA System
¢ Selection criteria on incoming mails (the user can define particular target mail addresses in which he/she is interested) and additional criteria for deactivation.

The database stores user data obtained during registration or retrieved using the Web interface. For the Public version of the EMA System, an additional table is used to store charging data. The database is accessed through ADO [ruin the controller or Web interfaces (Fig.4). It enables programming neutrality (different database access using the same code) and ease of use.

As mentioned earlier, the EMA System is developed as a distributed and concurrent application. Concurrence in the EMA System occurs between processes and threads. The EMA System also supports simultaneous database access and hardware parallel ability in the voice machine. (Fig.5)
Multi process concurrence is solved by the operating system .For instanceâ„¢ the controller, the core process in the EMA System, concurrently handles all other processes, receives requests from the Web server, initiates database actions, sends a request to the mail checker to check the userËœs mailbox, and sands the request to initiate an alert call to the voice machine (fig.3) All actions ordered from the administratorâ„¢s console are also verified and handled by the controller.
The simultaneous database access concurrency problem in the Enterprise version of the EMA system, is solved by using ADO. It ensures data consistency when multiple data consistency when multiple data accesses are initiated from the controller process, Web handler or console client by locking the appropriate MS Access database record (fig.4). The Microsoft SQL server used in the EMA System Pubic version ensures transaction consistency by its design.
Multithread concurrence within processes is solved using Win32 synchronization objects and COM. An example is the controller process with four concurrent threads: Central Thread, Job Distribution Thread and Job Distribution Thread and job completion Threads. Startup is directed by the console module through COM middleware or through the service administrator. Similarly, concurrent threads are in the mail checker process. Where these threads concurrently check emails (fig5)
A problem occurs when two concurrent threads have to be use the same data. Therefore, Synchronization mechanisms must be used. This means that the thread locks the data when working on it and no other thread is able to access that data.
The EMA System has hardware parallel ability on its Dialogic board controlled voice machine module. This hardware serves as an interface to the telephone exchange. It consists of separate channels and has the ability to perform tasks in parallel.

Specific benefits of EMA, which can be easily incorporated as identified by us are follows:
Potential for quick improvement in productivity and long -term savings by simplifying communications and saving time
No longer need separate programs to get e-mail ,voice mail, and faxes.
Access voice mail, e-mail, and fax (headers and cover sheet) via a phone and forward e-mail or fax to a local printer and \or fax machine in a hotel.
Forward e-mail messages with voice mail or fax attachments.
Embed voice mail in e-mailed, such as in forms, to add clarity or needed instructions.
Add text comments to voice mil to summarize or take notes.
Save choice mail in files or in a contact manager program with other related information
Record calls, such as to a help desk and attach them to trouble tickers for e-mailing g both to an expert.
Add a voice mal "cover sheet" for a fax or e-mail distribution list.
Use the internet more for incoming and outgoing voice mail' fax and save local trunk costs
Fiter, prioritize, archive and forward all messages just like e-mail

The EMA system is a typical example of service for the future telecom world where todayâ„¢s separate networks, the PSTN and data network, will coverage It successfully integrates telephony and internet e-mail service. The EMA system server user can be informed about the arrival of new e-mail over the phone without connecting to the internet. To satisfy different customer needs, the EMA system is offered in two versions: public and Enter prise. The implementation problems solved were integration of computer and telephony, synchronization requirements.
The implementation of new services is planned for the future, such as reading e-mail over the phone, possibly replaying received e-mail , connection to different pager systems and sending short Message service (SMS) messages to a GSM telephone.

¢ IEEE communication magazine feb 2002
¢ PC Quest - Dec 2000
¢ http://fold oc



I express my sincere gratitude to Dr. P.M.S Nambissan, Prof. & Head, Department of Electrical and Electronics Engineering, MES College of Engineering, Kuttippuram, for his cooperation and encouragement.
I would also like to thank my seminars guide Mrs. Sheeba Paulose. (Lecturer, Department of EEE), Asst. Prof. Gylson Thomas. (Staff in-charge, Department of EEE) for their invaluable advice and wholehearted cooperation without which this seminars would not have seen the light of day.
Gracious gratitude to all the faculty of the department of EEE & friends for their valuable advice and encouragement.
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