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Telecom QuickChat and Versera: ahead of times

By Mauricio Freitas, in , posted: 9-Jun-2006 10:33

Back in 1999 I designed and lead the team who implemented Telecom New Zealand's QuickChat. The idea was simple: since they didn't have SMS capabilities at the time, and to compete with the new "TXT" crazy coming from the hordes of Vodafone users, Telecom thought of a service where anyone could send a 20 seconds voice message to any other phone.

The message would be delivered instantly or a scheduled retry would kick in. Then SMS came into CDMA world, and Quickchat was all but (almost) forgotten. It is still alive (I think) and the web page is still there. I even met some people during some Windows Mobile User Group meetings that actually prefer to use Quickchat than SMS. It's voice after all, with all the impressions and nuances this medium provide, not the cold SMS lingo.

I also worked in another project, for a Latin American telco, where one could send a SMS to any number, and a text-to-speech engine would deliver it as a voice message, with the same scheduled retry idea.

Skip 9 years, and I see this press release:

Glenayre Messaging, a division of Glenayre Technologies, Inc. (NASDAQ: GEMS) and a global leader in providing next-generation messaging solutions and enhanced services, announced that VoiceSMS capability will be available on its leading Versera ICE(tm) next-generation messaging platform in the third quarter of 2006. Versera(r) VoiceSMS combines the fidelity of voice mail with the ease of SMS, which allows subscribers to move beyond the limitations of text messaging and provides a new and richer communications experience. The company will demonstrate Versera VoiceSMS for the first time at the CommunicAsia exhibition in Singapore, June 20-23, 2006. (Glenayre stand 4E3-01).

With VoiceSMS, subscribers simply dial a short code and a destination phone number then leave a voice message in an easier and faster way than typing out an entire message on the mobile keypad. The recipient gets an SMS message notifying them that they have a VoiceSMS message, which can be played by selecting the link provided in the SMS message.



Oh well... Reinventing the wheel, add a couple of bells, and we have a new car, right?




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Mauricio Freitas
Wellington
New Zealand


I live in New Zealand and my interests include mobile devices, good books, movies and food of course! 

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