Magazine article Information Today

SimulScribe Offers a Text Solution for Voice Mail

Magazine article Information Today

SimulScribe Offers a Text Solution for Voice Mail

Article excerpt

Here's the first of our IT Spotlight series on high-tech companies offering innovative new products and services.


James Siminoff, founder and CEO, started SimulScribe, a voice mail transcription company, in 2003. The company's service first debuted in 2005, followed by an official launch to external customers in 2006.


Most people like the concept of voice mail, since it provides assurance that no phone call is missed. But those same people, including Siminoff, don't typically like taking the time to listen to and to jot down the messages on a piece of paper.

Siminoff's disdain for voice mail grew during a trip to Los Angeles with business partner Bill Wachtel and his son. "Bill was going through 14 voice mail messages that had backed up all day and we wanted to go out to dinner," said Siminoff. "We were talking about how much we hated voice mail. His son said, 'Wouldn't it be great if you could read your voice mail?'"

The next 2 years were spent creating a system that would accomplish that goal. "SimulScribe started out of a complete hate for voice mail and trying to solve a problem we had," said Siminoff. "We thought we had the technical idea of how to solve it. But looking back, we really didn't because it took us about 2 years to get all of the systems working enough where we had a product that I would say was a valuable system."


Siminoff is hesitant to reveal the specifics about the technology that powers SimulScribe. But it's a voice-mail-to-text solution that transcribes traditional audio voice mail messages into text. The transcribed messages can be sent to a user's email account, mobile phone, or PDA.

To use the SimulScribe technology, customers can sign up on the company's Web site. Their phone calls are forwarded to SimulScribe, which receives the messages in its voice mail box. Each message is transcribed and emailed to the user, who also receives an audio file of the message as an email attachment. If a portion of the message is inaudible, a pair of question marks denotes the place of the missing words. A single question mark notes where a word is spelled phonetically (usually a name or place). A SimulScribe message is easily distinguishable in a user's email box. The caller ID of the person sending the message appears in the subject line of the email. Users are charged $9.95 for 40 messages and 25 cents for each additional message. …

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