To spin or not to spin …

24 09 2009


Spinvox have developed a system which, among other products, offers a speech to text voicemail service which is ideal for deaf people who want to be able to use voicemail, such as business owners. I activated the service on my Blackberry and it works very well. When someone phones me, I don’t bother to answer it but let it ring. The phone picks up the message and Spinvox converts the voice message into an email or a text message, and sends it to you. It’s been really useful, especially as it also leaves a link to a voice recording of the message so you can ask a hearing person to listen to it if the email was unclear (lots of people mumble!). Spinvox also prints the caller’s number so you can call them back.

My Spinvox service is paid for by Access to Work. It costs £5 a month for the subscription service and 30 pence for each message converted. There is no software to download.

Spinvox won’t work with a Pay As You Go phone, it must be on a contract phone. It’s very simple to set up although their website is a bit of a nightmare. Spinvox are currently running a promotional offer, free voicemail until the end of 2009. They will convert your messages into emails for free (not text – shame!).

However. There are rumblings …. humans compromise service confidentiality (who cares? I’m deaf. I NEED a voice to text service) …. the company is up for sale with a pre-tax loss of £30 million in 2007 (what about the future?) … basically, they seem to be hiding certain issues.

Which is a great shame, as they scored a major deal with Telefonica who will roll out its Voice Message Conversion System (VMCS) across 13 Latin American countries this autumn. Spinvox say they are the only speech-to-text service in the world that is available in six languages – Spanish, English, French, German, Portuguese and Italian. But at what cost?

I’m not going to go into all the ins and outs of this issue as I’ve had one of those rare weeks. Meh. I’m just bringing it to your attention. For an interesting commentary on all this spin, check out this post after the jump and this post on Spinvox’s demo day.



9 responses

25 09 2009

I love SpinVox. I use it in Canada, and I don’t have to worry about missing a phone-call or not understanding the voicemail.

Although I do wish they don’t have a cap on voicemails longer than a half a minute.

26 09 2009

Let’s hope someone manages to salvage the company and sort out the mess. It’s a great service to have.

25 09 2009

hmmm – that sounds interesting – what a pity I only have a pay and go phone!! still it is at least an iphone which does make me feel far more connected to people through facebook and twitter not to mention the ability to use chat sites on the go!! (providing the internet connection is good enough of course!)

26 09 2009

Hi Sam – there is an application called ShoutOUT for the iPhone, this was reported as a planned application in March and may lead to voicemail to text functionality. There are a number of applications coming out so something suitable may appear soon. See

26 09 2009
Jeremy Freeman

I’ve been following this story closely via Mobile Industry Review.

26 09 2009

Thanks for the link Jeremy.

20 10 2009

I can get this on my Blackberry, through Rogers. I haven’t tried it yet but maybe I should. I suppose part of me is hoping to hear on the phone again but it would be useful. How long does it take the message to come through?

20 10 2009

@mog – It takes a few minutes for the message to come through. I have it on my Blackberry and love it.

5 05 2011

Ive tried the SHOUTout but find it endlessly frustrating – gets it wrong and jsut seems to freeze teh iphone – any other similar apps you guys know of?

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