New transcription offering makes HulloMail’s voicemail service better than ever

I’ve always been a fan of voicemail transcription services. I simply cannot, CANNOT stand seeing a list of voicemails and then having to click through them in a panicked manner, wondering just what is waiting for me.

Visual voicemail does fix this a little bit — but for the longest time I’ve wanted the ability to quickly scan the list of incoming messages to identify the most urgent. That’s precisely the functionality that the team at HulloMail has just added.

I’ve been using HulloMail for ages. I’ve also been following them for the longest time. Indeed if you want proof, just do a search for ‘HulloMail’ and you’ll probably find the first video with one of the company’s founders back in — I don’t know — 2009? Something like that.

Across the years Andy and his team have steadily iterated HulloMail to the point whereby today I consider it to be one of the best third-party voicemail systems out there. It’s way, way more advanced than Apple’s standard offering and if you’re unlucky enough to use an operator who doesn’t bother enabling visual voicemail, HulloMail is about a billion times better than clicking the voicemail button and having your phone call your operator’s creaking (and frankly, rubbish) voicemail system. (See this post for the background).

The latest HulloMail iteration now adds voice transcription — with a difference. It only transcribes the first 10 seconds. There are a few reasons for this.

Here’s Andy to explain why:

Over several years we have been testing different ‘fully’-automated transcription services that have fallen short of the mark. However, in Nuance we have found a partner that provides a balance of accuracy and quality of service for a highly competitive rate. And because it’s fully automated, we have been able to keep the cost as low as possible for our subscribers. We will be evolving our transcription product range over the coming months, so watch this space for updates.

It’s a smart fix. You need a heck of a lot of processing power to transcribe a 3 minute voicemail. But you can transcribe 10 seconds of voice really easily — especially given the first 10-seconds of most messages should, hopefully, be reasonably audible and therefore easier for the machine to understand. It also enables HulloMail to charge a single monthly fee for the facility, rather than cost-prohibitive per-message transcription fees.

You only need to glance at this screenshot featuring transcription enabled to see the difference:

The context afforded by the transcription is hugely, hugely valuable in determining what messages to prioritise.

You can turn on 10-second transcription in HulloMail for just £1.49 per month, billed to your iTunes account.

Right now this update is just for iPhone but expect it for other platforms soon. Get it in the app store.

Here’s the full release:

HulloMail™, providers of the award-winning voicemail mobile application for smartphones, has today incorporated a new voice-to-text transcription technology, Scribe™, into its SmartVoicemail™ mobile applications.

Hot on the heels of the launch of the Access Control hacking prevention tool, the first Scribe™ product, Get The Gist provides users with a 10-second ‘snapshot’ of their voicemails in text format within the app, therefore giving an indication of what the voicemail is about before playing back at a more convenient time.

The voicemail transcriptions are fully automated and use proven voice-to-text transcription technology that has been integrated in partnership with Nuance, a leader in voice and language solutions, including the Dragon Dictation application.

Get The Gist is today initially launching on HulloMail’s iPhone app, with the planned launch on its Android app scheduled within a matter of weeks.

Andy Munarriz, founder and CEO of HulloMail, commented on the launch; “Over several years we have been testing different ‘fully’-automated transcription services that have fallen short of the mark. However, in Nuance we have found a partner that provides a balance of accuracy and quality of service for a highly competitive rate. And because it’s fully automated, we have been able to keep the cost as low as possible for our subscribers. We will be evolving our transcription product range over the coming months, so watch this space for updates.”

John Pollard, vice president and general manager, voice-to-text services, Nuance Mobile said; “We’re very excited to work with HulloMail to bring innovations like Scribe to market. Consumers love the flexibility of being able to read their voicemails as text, and quickly decide whether to ignore, call back or simply respond with a text message. It’s voice messaging innovation that keeps people connected anywhere, anytime.”

Pricing and Availability:
The new Get The Gist service is initially available for iPhone users for a monthly subscription of £1.49GBP in the UK, $1.99USD in the USA and €1.59EUR in Ireland. This is for a maximum monthly allocation of 50 messages. The service will launch for Android devices soon – further details will follow shortly.

The full HulloMail SmartVoicemail™ apps are available to download from the iTunes store for iPhone, via Google Play for Android and the BlackBerry’s App World store for an annual fee of £5.99GBP UK, €5.99EUR in Europe and $5.99USD in the USA.

For more information regarding HulloMail, visit www.hullomail.com.

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  • http://www.mobileindustryreview.com Ewan

    I tried it a few months ago and had ok results — strange given it’s supposed to power Siri.

  • http://whatleydude.com James Whatley

    If this ever hits Windows, I’m in. 

  • Paul Brocklehurst

    Looking forward the Android version….

  • http://yorksranter.wordpress.com/ Alex

    Isn’t the first 10 seconds usually “[silence]…uh, Errmmm, ah, is this Alex, er [mental click] [start gabbling]“?

    If you’re not going to transcribe the whole thing, you might do better sampling 10 seconds at random.

  • http://wirelessworker.net Ben Smith

    Based on a similar product I was involved in it’s a whisker under 50% of the average message length.

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