If you like Twitter, you’re going to LOVE Jott!

Written by Cornelius J. van Dyk on . Posted in Blog

OK, so I’m testing the waters with all this new micro-blogging technology. The question is this… just what benefit, other than being able to spout off something random that comes to mind for your Twitter minions to see, does something like a Twitter have for a professional user. This is what I’m trying to figure out. There are many ways people suggest using it and probably the most notable would be to have private networks that function conversationally. But then again I’m left wondering… what about IM? To really be useful to the mobile workforce, a technology must be on the mobile phone. With the use of tools such as TinyTwitter, you can get your tweets on your mobile phone, but in the private network context, how is that any different from email? Mmm…

Anyway, so as I’m left pondering the value of Twitter, I started working on a pet project for the mobile phone. My endeavor led me to search for a speech recognition SDK for Windows Mobile. Alas, there is no such thing, at least not one that includes recognition components, at the present time. Anyway, my search for the SDK led me to the Windows Mobile Speech newsgroups where I found a reference to a new service called Jott. I checked it out and was immediately intrigued by the possibilities.

What does Jott do?

In short, they provide a service for taking voice and converting it into text as well as the ability to pass said text on to any other service out there.

OK, so that’s very nebulous right? So consider this. Almost anything that is done in text today, can be handled through voice with Jott. Having just found it, I can already identify several time saving options:

  1. Twitter plugin. Jott already has a Twitter plugin so you can tweet to your heart’s content simply by leaving a voicemail. No more typing while driving. Talking on the phone, while still not recommended, it much, much safer and can at least be done hands free and more importantly, heads up and looking outside.
  2. Google calendar plugin. I know, I know. I’m a Microsoft guy and I live in the SharePoint world. Unfortunately, I have not found a good way to keep my personal Outlook calendar and my wife’s personal Outlook calendar in synch. We are rarely if ever on the same network and I don’t have an Exchange server. So I used the Google Calendar Synch plugin to bi-directionally synch her calendar with my Google Calendar and then using the same plugin on my machine, can get updates made between my personal Outlook calendar and the Google Calendar. I never put anything personally into my Google Calendar but always via Outlook which makes it a disconnected solution. So now anytime I make an Outlook calendar entry, it pushes (when connected) to the Google Calendar and then down to my wife’s calendar. The reverse also applies to her making appointments. No more trying to synch calendars manually. Well Jott just took that to a whole new level because its Google calendar plugin allows me to call and setup an appointment via the phone and have it push to both Outlook calendars. I hate typing on my mobile phone, even with the QWERTY keyboard of the Tilt… and now I don’t have to.
  3. Notification groups. OK, so let’s say you have a large group of people that need to be notified of a certain event, such as the birth of a baby or something. In the past, you’d have to spend quite a bit of time notifying everyone individually. With Jott, you can import all your contact and then simply create a group. Then when you call in, you just send the Jott to the group and Jott will automatically notify everyone through either email or text messaging. Pretty sweet and a real time saver.
  4. Replying to text messages or email. OK, all mobile professionals read email on the go right? But if you’re running to make your connecting flight, you don’t have time to stop and send an email or text message. WithJott, simply call and leave a voicemail to take care of it.

Like I said, these are just the first thoughts I have for my own personal use. The service’s voice recognition is pretty darn good too! Even though the text messages could be better, the email even allows you to playback the voice recording and they don’t have any adds cluttering up and slowing down their site or email.

This seems like a good service to me. I’m certainly going to play with it in more depth. I would put them in the same space as Grand Central who, as you know, got bought out by Google recently. The technologies are not competing, but complimentary so I would not be surprised if either Google or Microsoft targets Jott in the near future for a buyout.

OK, so are you ready to check it out? You guessed it… http://jott.com




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Cornelius J. van Dyk

Born and raised in South Africa during the 70's I got my start in computers when a game on my Sinclair ZX Spectrum crashed, revealing it's BASIC source code. The ZX had a whopping 48K of memory which was considered to be a lot in the Commodore Vic20 era, but more importantly, it had BASIC built into the soft touch keyboard. Teaching myself to program, I coded my first commercial program at age 15.

After graduating high school at 17, I joined the South African Air Force, graduating the Academy and becoming a Pilot with the rank of First Lieutenant by age 20. After serving my country for six years, I made my way back into computer software.

Continuing my education, I graduated Suma Cum Laude from the Computer Training Institute before joining First National Bank where my work won the Smithsonian Award for Technological Innovation in the field of Banking and Insurance. Soon I met Will Coleman from Amdahl SA, who introduced me to a little known programming language named Huron/ObjectStar. As fate would have it, this unknown language and Y2K brought me to the USA in 1998.

I got involved with SharePoint after playing around with the Beta for SharePoint Portal Server 2003. Leaving my career at Rexnord to become a consultant in 2004, I was first awarded the Microsoft Most Valuable Professional Award for SharePoint in 2005, becoming only the 9th MVP for WSS at the time. I fulfilled a life long dream by pledging allegiance to the Flag as a US citizen in 2006. I met the love of my life and became a private consultant in 2008. I was honored to receive my ninth MVP award for SharePoint Server in 2013.

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