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Voice2Text: you had voicemail

SpinVox plans to make listening to voice messages an activity of cavemen and hermits with the Australian release of their Voice2Text messaging service.

Credit: SpinVox

If you're like us, you hate dialling in to listen to your voicemail, especially when the messages consist of people asking why you're not answering you phone, or worse, why you haven't paid your bill.

UK company SpinVox plans to make listening to voice messages an activity of cavemen and hermits with the implementation of their Voice2Text messaging service, which not only converts spoken messages to SMS, but also cleans them up to remove pauses, "umms and ahhs", repetitions and irritating accents.

We're looking forward to testing out the system, which can "learn" new words by sending audio clips of phrases it doesn't recognise to quality control operators who then enter the correct conversion into the database for future use.

General Manager for SpinVox in Australia and New Zealand, Andrew Cantle, told about some of the future applications of their Voice-to-screen technology. These include the ability to send a voice message as text to a pre-determined distribution group, and to blog and update social network sites by speaking your entries into a designated message-bank for your blog space. Goodbye RSI -- I'm throwing away my keyboard after I finish typing this.

After providing Speech-to-Text in Europe for the last three years the service is now available exclusively to Telstra business customers with a view to a wider release for Telstra customers and to future partnerships with the other Australian mobile carriers throughout 2008.

As a premium message service the real question is: who pays? Telstra customers at the moment can choose to pay 55c per message they receive or the option to subscribe for a bulk message package. However, a variation to the service called "Messenger", introduced to Spanish Vodafone customers recently, sees the caller choosing to foot the bill before leaving the message. Not only does this seem like a fairer payment model to us, it'd also be a handy deterrent to drunk friends who insist on calling in the middle of the night to yell at you, then apologise, then tell you how much they love "youse".