Wireless Wonders

No news, just comment about mobile phones and services, from a veteran practitioner...3G, GPRS, WAP, Bluetooth, WiFi, etc...

Friday, November 10, 2006

who's left me a message? (idea #106)

People like me often get missed calls. For a number of reasons, I can't or don't always answer my mobile. Eventually a bank of voicemails builds up. One of the most tedious mobile experiences ("anti-experience"?) is the laborious wading through a talking voicemail service - "you have seven new messages and ....... [there's always a a pause here]..... four saved messages". Of course, I already know that because I just got a text message telling me the same thing, so why do I need to hear the same message?

What my voicemail fails to do is tell me who any of the messages are from so that I can jump straight to their message. Is this so difficult? It would be nice to jump straight to a message I want or need to hear because it's from a customer (or the boss (wife) of course). Yes, I know you can skip through messages, but please don't make me do that. Do I have to skip through the first few seconds of each CD or DVD track to get to the one I want? No. Today's mobiles are sophisticated tiny computers with mulitple keys, menus and various other interface capabilities, so why are we still in "linear tape recording" mode for voicemail? That's why! It's a recording, so we have to stick with old recording metaphors. Please Google, Apple, someone...rescue us from this Telco -2.0 drudge.

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At 12:07 PM, Blogger Anders Borg said...

This could easily be solved by sending voice-mails as MMS messages to the phone, so you never would have to call your voicemail, and you could easily browse through your messages (SMS, normal MMS, voicemail MMS etc) in the same Inbox.

Better would be if MMS was scrapped completely, and e-mail was instead used for all kinds of s-n-f messaging on a phone (except simple peer-to-peer ditto), so you could also check your voice mails from a PC.

It sounds simple, and technically it's very simple too.

At 5:46 AM, Anonymous Tom said...

Orange in the UK sends a standard SMS to your phone when anyone reaches your answerphone.

"At 13:15 0779232423 called you, the person left a message/left no message."

It's a shame the phone can't take that number and match it up to your address book so it shows the name. Either way, it's a nice way to avoid listening to your answerphone.

At 2:08 PM, Blogger Paul Golding said...

Thanks for the comments. Yes, it is easily solved. Operators do already send number alerts, as per Tom's suggestion. MMS could solve the problem if the numbers can't be matched to names in the network - the user could be asked to say their name (like some enterprise voicemail systems) and this could be forwarded in the MMS (either as a sound clip or converted to speech, or both). However, it's the frame that doesn't fit here - operators are still in "telco" frame where numbers and dialling are bread and butter - plain old fashioned switching of calls, not connecting people (despite any marketing razamataz to the contrary).

At 2:42 AM, Anonymous Kruno said...

renzoo (www.renzoo.co.uk) service is addressing some of the mentioned voicemail problems. It consolidates voicemails from all landlines/mobiles/voip phones and pushes them to your mobile with the caller ID details and a WAP link. The Voicemail can then be retrieved directly, without complex menu navigation. You can also access and listen to them on the web. The only disadvantage is that you have to forward your unanswered calls to your renzoo voicemail number. However, given the added value I think the cost of call forward is worth swallowing.


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