Just when people started dissing voice mail, saying how they don't check their messages all that often and you should just email them (or SMS or IM them) if you want them to get back to you -- and this from people in the "voice" business!!! -- along comes a company that helps to breathe new life into the space.
GotVoice -- a company launched in 2003 but just coming out the gate with its service (it needed several years of development to make it so seamlessly transparent and easy to use -- and it truly is) -- has come up with a new free voice messaging service that allows consumers to manage their mobile, home and work voice messages online, from a single, unified web interface.
Actually, such changes have been afoot in the enterprise voice messaging space for some time now, thanks to the slow but steady burn under unified messaging technology. But I can't tell you how many times in years past I've heard people say, "This is the Year of Unified Messaging!" -- only to be quite underwhelmed by the offerings or the tepid adoption by the marketplace of even well-developed enterprise solutions. Problem was, businesses didn't want to pay what the vendors were asking, and the benefits were a bit too fuzzy for many.
GotVoice, however, has the potential to popularize so-called unified messaging to the masses -- and truly invigorate the market for all types of UM solutions -- including those of the Enterprise ilk. The developers hail from RealNetworks, Microsoft, Starwave, AT&T, and Corbis, and really seem to have come up with an easy, yet elegant mash up of the Web and voice messaging.
The company's "secret sauce" -- a competitive advantage that will be hard for others to replicate in a short time -- is that it spent four years learning how to seamlessly integrate with all major cell phone carriers, residential lines including those offered by cable and VoIP providers, and corporate voicemail systems – with no carrier or work-place involvement.
GotVoice combines the ease of email with voice messaging, and the company claims that it is the only messaging service that allows users to visually take control of their voicemail without requiring a new number, a forwarded call, or text messaging services.
In fact, the service doesn’t require users to make any changes whatsoever to their normal phone use. To provide the highest level of flexibility, GotVoice leaves messages on the original voicemail system, so users can check their voicemail as they always have, if they choose. Whether users opt to receive voicemail via email or at their personal GotVoice Web page, GotVoice enables them to easily send, receive, create and store all of their voice messages—in the same way they use email. There is no software to install and users don’t even need a phone to access messages.
According to GotVoice CEO Curt Blake, "Voicemail should be as simple to use as email, extending beyond the restrictive options currently available in today’s market. Consumers can now interact with voicemail in any manner they choose; sending, receiving, creating and storing messages on their terms. We believe our service sets the standard for voice messaging offerings, and clearly moves the industry in a direction where voice will be free from the historic restraints that have kept it locked between a pound and star key.”
GotVoice service highlights include:
Access Voicemail Anytime, Anywhere: Gone are the days of calling multiple phone numbers to retrieve messages. GotVoice checks multiple voicemail boxes, such as home, mobile and work boxes, up to 24 times a day, then delivers messages to a user’s email or makes them accessible at the user’s personal GotVoice Web page. Users can also create and send messages using their PC or phone. The service is especially useful when cell phone coverage is poor and users are unable to access messages due to signal loss.
Send, Receive and Create Voice Messages without a Phone: Cell phone battery dead? Hate to use more cell phone minutes to check messages? GotVoice allows users to send, receive, and create voice messages without the need for a phone. Users can create messages with their voice or use a quick text-to-speech feature.
Organize, Save, Forward : With a very simple user interface, GotVoice makes it easy to organize, save and forward important messages, just as with email. It’s easy to sort through important messages and forward them to multiple recipients all at once, without additional call forwarding charges.
Silent Sending: Need to return a call but don’t want to talk? Send it silently. GotVoice gives users the option of sending voice messages without causing the recipients phone to ring - great for late night messages, traveling in a different time zone, or moments when you just don’t want to talk.
One Message, Many Recipients: When the word needs to get out, whether it’s to 10 or 200 contacts, GotVoice can do it all at once. Simply record a message using your PC or phone, and distribute. This is a great feature for busy professionals, families and team coaches.
Personalization: GotVoice makes it easy to create personalized greetings and outgoing messages. Add your favorite MP3 music to your voicemail greeting, choose a custom celebrity voice greeting or select background tracks from an audio library.
The Fun Factor: GotVoice reminds users that voicemail can also be fun. Create your own message by recording your voice over your own music. Users can also forward favorite or funny voicemails to friends, while preserving precious messages from loved ones.