Spinvox – not as confidential as you might think

by Jeff Wiener on August 5, 2009

spinvox_logo.jpegWhen I first heard of Spinvox some time ago I was mesmerized with the technology. Spinvox converts your voice mail message to text and emails the voice message to your email address saving the user from having to call into, or listen to the actual contents of the voice mail message.

On the surface it seems like brilliant technology. Quite a few major manufacturers, Avaya for example, and service providers, Rogers, Telus, Sasktel, Cincinnati Bell and many others, use the Spinvox technology as a pay per use service for their clients.

Spinvox is, in many respects, a very large service bureau offering a subscription service. And, Spinvox is, to a great extent, a technology company. I imagined racks and racks of servers in multiple data centers processing, and providing speech to text of the voice mail messages. That’s why, after reading Techcrunch’s review of Spinvox I was left somewhat disappointed.

Let me explain.

Apparently, according to the article, Spinvox will use a completely automated method of processing the voice mail message and converting the message to text IF the message is easy to decipher. In that case the process is entirely automated. If the message is not easy to decipher and the automated system cannot process the message for whatever reason then the message is sent to a live operator to transcribe the message in its entirety. I often wondered how the system could decipher those heavy accents. Now I know. It’s NOT !

The article continues to explain that the call center staff are background checked, can not bring recording devices into the room … but, the process does have a human interfering with, and listening to someone’s confidential voice mail message. Rogers should advise clients of this. So should Spinvox – there should be a very clear disclaimer on their web site. Imagine the liability of CEO of a large publicly traded company using this service who receives a voice mail message from the CFO, SEC … the contents of which are extremely confidential. For example – “Hello Bob. Just to give you a heads up. The division ABC will report a slight increase in sales, but XYZ will disappoint the markets during our morning announcement”. Should this message be heard by anyone other then the sender / recipient?

The natural presumption is that a voice mail, or email message, is confidential. But, it might not be. I think the company using this service should state on their outgoing announcement “You have reached Bob Smith. Please leave a non confidential voice mail message at the tone as this message may be transcribed by a human prior to reaching my inbox”.

My guess is – the wrong voice mail message will end up in the wrong person’s hands someday. The end result will be messy. I think all providers, Spinvox included, MUST disclose this fact in the sales process otherwise it’s somewhat misleading.

[cb type=”company”]Spinvox[/cb]

{ 2 comments… read them below or add one }

GT August 5, 2009 at 4:42 pm

See http://www.spinvox.com/terms_conditions.html

“Content, may involve (a) transmissions over various networks; and (b) changes to conform and adapt to technical requirements of connecting networks or devices; and (c) single or multiple human review.

Jeff Wiener August 5, 2009 at 5:27 pm

Thanks for the update. Looks like there is something there. Not sure that most people read the small print, but, at least they do have this disclaimer.


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