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voice-enabled e-mail (voice-activated e-mail)

Voice-enabled e-mail (sometimes referred to as voice-activated e-mail) uses voice recognition and speech synthesis technologies to enable users to access their e-mail from any telephone. In general, the various products available work similarly: The subscriber dials a phone number to access a voice portal, then, to collect their e-mail messages, they press a couple of keys and, perhaps, say a phrase like "Get my e-mail." Speech synthesis software converts e-mail text to a voice message, which is played back over the phone. The user may navigate through options (such as skipping messages, or hearing a list of senders, for example) through voice commands or key selections. Users dictate their replies, which are delivered to the recipients as voice messages.

Voice-enabled e-mail is especially useful for mobile workers, because it makes it possible for them to access their messages easily from virtually anywhere (as long as they can get to a phone), without having to invest in expensive equipment such as laptop computers or personal digital assistants (PDAs). Proponents hope that new services like voice-enabled e-mail and unified messaging will turn out to be the killer apps that will dissolve the perceived barriers between data networks and traditional voice networks.

This was last updated in May 2007

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