Carriers Vs. Start-ups; Is the Current Technology Flexible Enough?

By Ericka Chickowski  |  Posted 2008-02-05 Print this article Print

Emerging voicemail-to-text technologies offer flexibility and conveinence for busy professionals, but is the market headed toward mass consumption? Will mobile and Internet carriers be a barrier or a benevolent player in this technology’s ascension?

Tony Rizzo of The 451 Group predicts that the model most likely to survive will probably be one similar to SpinVox’s current track.

“On the consumer side the carriers themselves will deliver these services over time, and render third party vendors unnecessary--as it should be; this needs to be a core network offering,” said Rizzo, who is research director for the firm’s mobility group. “In the enterprise, as VoIP services become prevalent, and as the old tethered business phone gives way to mobile phones through VoIP, we'll see these sort of services become an inherent part of core business communications offerings.”

Before this happens though, Rizzo believes that the current crop of technologies still need to address several concerns. Top on the list is performance.

“They all require more or less hijacking your carrier inbox--'redirecting' is the more polite way of putting it--which ultimately leads to sluggish performance,” said Rizzo.

Stern of SpinVox agrees that such redirecting can definitely cause performance issues, which is why his company has chosen to work closely with the carriers rather than going it alone.

“That is why we are working with equipment vendors and carriers,” said Stern. “When you go direct to consumer it can muck up the plumbing a bit.”

Rizzo also believes that current technologies need to up the ante in the flexibility department.

“Simply converting voicemail to text - going to either a PC-based inbox or to a mobile device is not very useful... I want to simply be able to (either) choose, as an option, if I'm already listening to voicemail, to push a voicemail out to text as an option for that voicemail,” Rizzo said.

Rizzo continued: "Even better, I want to take the visual voicemail capability that AT&T and iPhone delivers, and be able to convert any listed voicemail into an email, either immediately or after going through the process of listening to one.” said Rizzo. “As part of these I want to also be able to pre-set what voicemails might automatically be either forwarded or converted to text email, for example, always send a voicemail from my CEO to my email inbox or convert to text and send as an SMS message to my phone.”

If the start-ups in this market can respond with this kind of flexibility, Rizzo agrees with Stern’s estimates that voicemail-to-text has the potential to become prevalent within two years.

“There is absolutely a huge demand for such flexible services - especially in the enterprise,” said Rizzo. “I expect to see this become a far more robust and essentially ubiquitous offering as we head into 2009.”


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