Talk to Your Email, and Have Your Email Talk Back

logoAs a web worker, I’m typically attached to my laptop. But there are times when using the computer isn’t particularly practical, like when I’m driving. Checking my email on the road is significantly easier if I don’t have to type anything — such as with Voice on the Go. The service allows you to check email, schedule appointments, send text messages and complete many other tasks just by placing a call on your cell phone.

Handling email through Voice on the Go is a relatively simple process: Once you dial into the system, you can have it read individual emails to you, as well as transcribe any replies you want to send. You can forward and compose emails with equal ease. The voice recognition software used by the system is fairly reliable — I’ve yet to find one that was completely without fault. In particularly noisy places, the system does have some issues, but you do have the option of using the keypad to give the system instructions.

Voice on the Go interfaces with most web-based email accounts, as well offering the option of accessing your email through POP3 or IMAP. The company has also gone to some lengths to provide encryption and security for email and other data. The price tag on a Voice on the Go account is $5.99 per month, plus taxes, and the site makes note that your calls are subject to normal carrier rates. In comparison, Jott offers a similar service for prices ranging from $3.95to $12.95, but has some limitations as to how much you can record.

There’s also some disparity between the services available from Jott and Voice on the Go that may tip the balance in favor of Voice on the Go. Jott does not offer an easy transition between checking your email and making a phone call, while Voice on the Go allows you to break into an email currently being read and have the system call a phone number in your address book. Voice on the Go also offers you the ability to access traffic, weather and travel information, along with news, through the same system that you use for email and text messaging.

It does seem like a smart move to invest in a headset if you don’t already have one, but what hardware you use is up to you. Even if you have the most basic cell phone, it will work just fine — you can even call into Voice on the Go from a landline if you need to or through Skype if you use a Skype-enabled phone.

At this time, Voice on the Go has local access numbers for approximately 40 U.S. area codes, as well as almost 20 Canadian phone numbers. There are also 25 international numbers available, for such countries as Australia, Mexico and even South Africa.

What’s your current in-car setup for handling calls, emails, etc? Do you think a voice over solution is something that you will make regular use of?


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