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Blackberry Mobility Featured Article


December 07, 2009

Optus Launches New Voicemail to Text Service

By Patrick Barnard, Group Managing Editor, TMCnet


Optus, the second largest telecommunications company in Australia and a wholly owned subsidiary of Singapore Telecommunications, has launched a new voicemail to text service for its mobile subscribers.


This new service, powered by SpinVox’s Voice Message Conversion System (VMCS), also known as D2, converts voicemail messages into text and sends them as a text message to a subscriber’s mobile phone.

This helps save time, as the user doesn’t need to dial into their voicemail and listen to messages. Instead, they can read the message on their mobile phone’s screen, thus allowing them to “skim” the message and get its meaning more quickly. It’s also useful for when a subscriber is in a noisy environment – such as a crowded nightclub, a sporting event or on a subway train – which makes it difficult to listen to voicemail.

Once read, a message can be replied to, forwarded or saved. The caller’s number is presented as the sender of the text, making it simple for subscribers to reply with a voice call or text.

“Optus’ Voice to Text service is the simple and convenient way to receive a message when you miss a call,” said Jim Jaques, marketing director, Optus Consumer, in a release. “Whether you’re in a business meeting or you’ve got your hands full with children at the supermarket, sometimes you just can’t answer the phone and instantly reading an important message on your mobile can make life much easier.”

In the rare instance SpinVox’s (News - Alert) advanced speech recognition technology can’t translate a particular word or phrase, the VMCS system will automatically send the voicemail to a live agent, who will handle that part of the transcription manually. SpinVox claims more than 30 million people worldwide use its VMCS. The company claims the self-learning system now contains more than two billion words and phrases, derived from the equivalent of 72 years of audio training.

So users can differentiate the voicemail to text messages from regular text messages, they will appear within quote marks and will carry the “spoken through SpinVox” tagline.

Currently Optus is offering a promotion wherein small and medium sized businesses, as well as government agencies, can trial the new service for 14 days for free. After that the service costs $6.99 a month for unlimited messages.

Voicemail to text is becoming popular among consumers and businesses alike. It is increasingly becoming a standard feature of service providers’ “visual voicemail” offerings.

Visual voicemail lets mobile subscribers view their voicemails in “list form” by way of an email-like interface. By presenting voicemails in list form on a mobile device’s screen, a user can prioritize which voicemails he or she wants to listen to first. This saves time, as the user no longer has to dial in and listen to all voicemails in chronological order and slog through tons of audio that is of little or no importance. According to a survey of 1,700 mobile phone users in the United States and Canada commissioned by Comverse (News - Alert) earlier this year, 81 percent of mobile phone users are interested in using visual voicemail.

Patrick Barnard is a senior Web editor for TMCnet, covering call and contact center technologies. He also compiles and regularly contributes to TMCnet e-Newsletters in the areas of robotics, IT, M2M, OCS and customer interaction solutions. To read more of Patrick's articles, please visit his columnist page.

Edited by Patrick Barnard


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