After speaking to SpinVox about the potential advantages of its blogging technology, some bright spark at Journalism.co.uk thought it would be a good idea to test it out ‘in the field’.
So I did – or attempted to – from yesterday’s conference on widgets in Brighton, the idea being that I could phone in updates to the blog providing instant reaction and a way to record my notes on the day in draft form.
I thought wanting to compose my post before calling it in would be the biggest problem, but you quickly get used to ordering your thoughts in this way.
Instead two major problems occurred:
- I used the service about six times during the day, having to nip out of sessions or make the call in breaks. On four occasions I received text messages after I had returned to the session telling me that my message could not be converted and that I would need to send it again.
This was too late – it wasn’t convenient to leave the conference again to make another call and if I did so it wouldn’t be such a direct reaction.
- Despite boasting a 97 per cent accuracy rate – the two posts that did get through are fairly nonsensical.
There is an option on the SpinVox site to add new vocab to their voice recognition service and this might be a useful preparation tip, particularly at a conference where widgets is the unfamiliar buzz word.
Maybe I don’t enunciate well enough and I can forgive it not recognising certain technological terms, but confusing ‘in’ and ‘and’ is surely the basics.
Aside from these issues, there also seems to be no way to assign a headline to the blog post over the phone – this requires going in and editing the blog, which defeats the point.
Another thing – the length of post you can leave through the service is severely limited – about two minutes – so it really can only be used in a Twitter style. (In which case I’d rather just use Twitter).
This is an emerging technology – so if we can get it sorted I’d like to try it out again as I’m not sure I got the whole experience.
As a plus point, the service didn’t pick up any background noise from the conference space, which is pretty impressive.
SpinVox have built up a business on converting mobile voicemail to text and the Times are already using their blogging software – so was I doing something wrong?
UPDATE – SpinVox have contacted me and are looking into it to see if their might be a problem with my account, so hopefully they can give some advice.
UPDATE – Paid Content’s Robert Andrews is currently using SpinVox to update his Twitter account (though this might not be using the same technology as the blogging service) and it seems to be working perfectly.