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2/28/2012
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ON Voicefeed Aims To Modernize Mobile Voicemail

Free iOS app, coming soon for Android, offers unique greetings for different contacts, plus social media integration.

Admit it: Voicemail is boring. ON Voicefeed, demonstrated at Mobile World Congress 2012, wants to change that. The mobile app's unique take on digital communications aims to personalize your voicemail communications with friends, family, and colleagues. (Check out Fritz Nelson's video, below, to see how it works.)

We use different styles to communicate with our friends, colleagues, and other contacts. But our voicemail greetings typically treat them all the same. Is it appropriate for a spouse to be greeted the same way as a business partner? The folks behind ON Voicefeed don't think so.

What's so different about ON Voicefeed's smart voicemail? Let's start with the user interface. Most voicemail systems today are audio-only interactions, where users listen to messages in chronological order and press a button on the phone to save, delete, or move on. ON Voicefeed has a clean, visual interface providing a way to quickly scan through the list of voice messages. From the app, users can view and listen directly to messages. A voice-to-text feature also enables the user to read through voicemail messages instead of listening to them.

Everyone has different types of contacts: work colleagues, family members, and close friends, for example. The app's interface allows you to easily group contacts from your smartphone with a very simple drag-and-drop function. The straightforward design ensures contacts get the message you want them to receive.

Once you have set up your groups, recording custom messages takes just a couple of clicks. If you're in a meeting or it's not a good time to talk, simply type your message and select from one of the app's voices to speak your message to callers. Even if you can't record it yourself, contacts still get the appropriate, customized greeting.

Context from social sites can provide useful insights, and another interesting feature of ON Voicefeed is the ability to view what else was going on when a contact left the voicemail. The app's integrated Twitter and Facebook updates may offer clues to what the contact's message might be.

ON Voicefeed is available now as a free iOS app and will be available very soon for Android. An optional $9.99 in-app upgrade provides access to unlimited speech-to-text, unlimited greetings (versus the free app's three included greetings), the ability to indefinitely store messages, and email notifications of new voicemail items.

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