This week my technology item is PhoneTag.
PhoneTag is a fee based system to receive voicemails as a written email.
While on a business trip to Los Angeles in 2003, James Siminoff was out to dinner with friends. Before they could sit down, William had to sort through a 20 minute backlog of voicemails gathered during a day filled with meetings. Jesse commented to James, "Wouldn’t it be easier if you could just read your voicemail?" At the time, James was working with voice recognition technologies and had a creative idea on how to build a system that would enable people to stop listening to voicemail and READ IT. …and with that, PhoneTag was born.
A person calls and leaves a voicemail. That voicemail is transcribed and then sent, along with a .wav file, to your email.
The fee ranges from about $0.35 for each voicemail up to $30.00 for a flat rate with unlimited voicemails per month. The lower rates have a flat fee and then a cost for each individual voicemail over the flat rate mails.
For me this has value in several ways: I don’t have to use minutes calling to check my voice mail, I don’t have to spend the time calling and checking voicemail, I get a written note of the call which goes into my client notebook, and I have a more permanent record of the call which goes into the case file.
You don’t get charged if the message is “unintelligible,” and the message still gives you the phone number of the person who called.
If you are a Vonage user, Vonage has the same concept. They charge a flat 10 cents per voicemail. So far I have found PhoneTag transcriptions better than Vonage.