Web & communication software

Jott Voicemail to E-Mail

Jott is one of my favorite on-the-go productivity services. The voice-to-text transcription service is a convenient tool for recording memos, reminders, and ideas with your cell phone (or any phone, for that matter) while you're in motion. Using a combination of technology and people, Jott quickly transcribes your musings and e-mails them to you.

That's just one way to use Jott. Now there's another: Jott Networks recently added a voicemail-to-text transcription service to its portfolio. Called Jott Voicemail, the new service costs $10 per month for up to 40 message transcriptions (after that, it's 35 cents per transcription).

With Jott Voicemail, calls that come in when you're unavailable or on the phone are redirected away from your provider's voicemail service and sent to Jott. Once received, your messages are transcribed into text and e-mailed to you (and/or sent by test message). The e-mail includes the transcribed text; an MP3 file of the original voicemail is attached. The e-mail also includes a Listen link that takes you to Jott's site, where you can play the original message.

I tested Jott Voicemail, and it adds some useful features to the voicemail-to-text arena. There are a few places where it could be improved, however.

What I Like

Transcriptions are accurate, usually. Jott Voicemail did a good job correctly transcribing callers' messages into text. Understandably, when someone called me from a noisy environment, such as an airport departure gate, the transcriptions weren't as accurate.

It's fast. I received voice messages transcribed and e-mailed within 1 to 8 minutes after the caller had finished recording. Most of the time, the turnaround was just 2 or 3 minutes.

You can create a callback reminder. A link embedded in the e-mail transcription takes you to your Jott account online. From there, you can create a Jott reminder to follow up. The reminder will be sent to you as a text message, an e-mail, or both, at a time of your choosing.

Alternatively, if you've called into Jott to listen to your voicemail, you can create a reminder once a message is finished playing. You create the reminder over the phone through voice prompts. Given how easy it is to forget to call someone back after listening to messages on the go, this is one of Jott Voicemail's most valuable features for mobile professionals.

Messages can be up to 90 seconds long. Jott Voicemail can record callers' messages for up to 30, 60, or 90 seconds (30 seconds is the default setting). However, Jott transcribes only the first 30 seconds of a voicemail.

Room for Improvement

Callers can't flag urgent messages. At the end of a recording, callers have four choices: Press 1 to listen to the message; press 2 to re-record; press 3 to cancel the message; and hang up to send.

Transcription is limited to one phone number. It would be nice if Jott Voicemail allowed you to have voicemail from cell phone, office phone, and home phone numbers transcribed and e-mailed, even if it cost extra. (A Jott spokesperson said this feature may be added in the future.)

The service is a tad expensive. While $10 a month is competitive with other voicemail-to-text services, $7 to $8 feels a bit more comfortable to me, given the dire economy.

By the way, Jott Networks discontinued its free, ad-supported Jott service as of February 2. That's an unfortunate but understandable turn of events, given the company's pressure to become profitable.

Worth It?

Jott Voicemail is a useful tool for mobile professionals, especially those who are already using Jott's other services. Before signing up, however, you might want to consider alternatives such as GotVoice and PhoneTag (formerly SimulScribe). Jott Voicemail and PhoneTag offer one-week free trials; GotVoice gives you two weeks to try the service free.

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