Voice modems are part of the current communications convergence trend – the merging of voice, data, fax, and even video – which is affecting all aspects of data communications. Consider the Internet, originally a file transfer system, which is now transmitting radio signals, real-time audio, telephone conversations and, for those who have the bandwidth, live video. Now, a number of modem manufacturers have produced modems which can answer phones and record voice messages.
Such multi-purpose modems perform as anything from a simple answering machine (recording messages on the hard disk) to a complete voicemail system with hundreds of boxes, message forwarding, and fax retrieval service. Incoming data or fax calls are automatically directed to the appropriate software module and voice calls passed through to the answering machine/voicemail software.