As telephony services, mobile services and internet services continue to converge, the prospect of providing Unified Messaging and even Unified Communications becomes increasingly achievable. This paper discusses the growing importance of IP-based networks to Unified Messaging developments and examines some of the key services and protocols that are likely to make Unified Messaging more widely available. In this initial paper, we limit ourselves initially to the unification of text-based messaging using SMS and Email. The approach we make is based on the existing Internet Email framework but will take cognisance of the need to add voice and other non-text based messaging and communications at a later stage. Ultimately, the research project aims to build a working prototype of a generic messaging model that works for both non realtime and real-time communications. This model will provide a framework into which existing and future messaging protocols can be plugged. This paper originated from an applied research project which examined the integration possibilities for various messaging and communications protocols