Avaya puts voicemail into written words

Avaya introduced software to convert voicemail messages to text and send both in an e-mail message.

Avaya will let enterprise workers leave voicemail messages and combine them with e-mail, giving both callers and recipients new options for retrieving and saving their communications.

The telephony infrastructure vendor is offering a system that can convert spoken voicemail messages into text, use that text in a message in any e-mail system, and optionally send the voicemail itself as an attached audio file. The product was introduced Monday at the VoiceCon trade show in San Francisco.

This frees recipients to read their voicemail instead of listening to it, if they are in a setting where it's hard to hear or awkward to listen to a message, Avaya said. It also means that voicemail, in the form of text, can be stored, searched and read just like any other kind of business communication. That can help companies comply with disclosure laws, the company said.

Avaya's system, which it calls Speech to Text, uses the SpinVox Speech to Text messaging service and the EVM1 (Enabled VoiceMail) gateway software from Mutare. It's available now for use with the Avaya Modular Messaging voice and fax platform.

Avaya is one of the largest purveyors of unified communications, a set of technologies designed to let people manage their communications as they like and be contacted in the best possible way given where they are and what devices they have on hand. But the concept, which is built around making everything into packets on a single IP (Internet Protocol) network, also opens up new possibilities for merged forms of communication.

Avaya already has a system based on Mutare's software for one-stop access to voice and fax messages from an e-mail inbox. EVM delivers voicemail as audio attachments, and the addition of Speech to Text adds the written version. Avaya claims it is the first such system for enterprises.

SpinVox already offers a speech-to-text service for sending voicemail among mobile users as e-mail or text messages. The U.K. company has offered the service in its home country since at least 2005, and carriers including Alltel, Canada's Rogers and Australia's Telstra offer services based on it.

Avaya's Speech to Text system is aimed primarily at helping mobile users keep in touch. It can work with any connected mobile device, according to the company.

The system is available in North America through Avaya's channel, and it can handle English, French, German and Spanish messages. The company was not immediately able to provide pricing information.

Also at VoiceCon, Avaya said it will include a variety of additional software free with its Avaya Communication Manager 5.0 Enterprise Edition software platform for IP Telephony. Among other features, the Avaya Unified Communications All Inclusive package includes the Avaya one-X Communicator softphone; the Avaya one-X Portal for Web-based telephony, messaging contacts and conferencing; and Avaya one-X Mobile, client software for more than 500 mobile devices that brings desktop phone features to mobile handsets.

The All Inclusive package is available now in North America, Europe, the Middle East and Africa, and will be available worldwide by January. New buyers of Avaya Communications Manager 5.0 Enterprise Edition and those upgrading to it will get the All Inclusive package free. Users of Communication Manager 5.0 Standard Edition can get the additional features for US$50 per user license, Avaya said.

Avaya also announced that Avaya one-X Mobile is now available worldwide, in a release that supports languages including French, German, Italian, Swedish, Dutch, Finnish, Russian, Spanish, Brazilian Portuguese, Japanese, Korean, and simplified and traditional Chinese.

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Stephen Lawson

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