ReadyCom Inc. is bringing voice-mail messaging to wireless communications with ReadyTalk, a single unit that uses the cellular network to deliver voice mail service to a portable handset.
Comcast Cellular Communications Inc. will be the first carrier to offer ReadyTalk, with plans to roll out service initially in areas of Pennsylvania, New Jersey and Delaware by late second quarter 1995.
This voice-messaging receiver is “voice mail in your pocket,” said Brian Kinahan, ReadyCom’s chief executive officer.
Measuring 2 inches by 4.5 inches, ReadyTalk is capable of storing up to 30 minutes worth of messages and features a two-way acknowledgement attribute to ensure a message is received.
To use the service, a caller dials a particular ReadyTalk number, reaches a personalized greeting and leaves a message, as with most voice-mail systems. The message is stored in a mail box and is transmitted over the cellular network to the user’s pager-sized portable unit. As the message is received and stored, the unit alerts the user with a quiet ring, vibration or light. The user is then able to play the message, with adjustable volume for privacy, and can record a response to send back to the caller.
ReadyCom has not yet decided on a procedure for confirming message receipt. Carl Nordgen, vice president of marketing for ReadyCom explained the likely scenario: Once a caller leaves a message on the voice mailbox, a voice prompt will assign a number to that particular message. In a matter of minutes, the caller can redial, follow a series of touch tone prompts and reach confirmation.
In describing the evolution of technologies that produced ReadyTalk, Kinahan explained that “paging was the pioneer, helping us understand the benefits of being in touch while we were in motion.” Cellular service brought “the power and clarity of voice to the mobile mainstream, and the recent cellular growth is dramatic proof that the human voice is the preferred means of communication in every environment.”
ReadyTalk first will be introduced to professionals such as real estate agents, tradespeople, sales and distribution companies, health care professionals, transportation workers and small businesses.
ReadyTalk is capable of storing up to 30 minutes worth of messages and features a two-way acknowledgement attribute to ensure a message is received.
However, like many new innovations in mobile communications, ReadyTalk is designed not only for business people, but for a broader consumer market to use for safety and convenience.
Consumer markets to be targeted include parents who want to keep in close contact with their children, adults on the go and older Americans who want the comfort of knowing they can communicate with anyone, anywhere.
“For anyone who would want the convenience of a pager with the sophistication of cellular voice messaging, this product is the ideal choice,” noted Donald Harris, Comcast Cellular’s president.
According to ReadyCom, the non-realtime nature of ReadyTalk provides economic advantages over other cellular devices. First, messages will be compressed and queued, allowing cellular carriers to transmit short bursts of voice messages over what otherwise would be their unsold inventory of unused airtime.
“We serve the cellular carrier by selling the seconds between the calls, the airtime that is wasted today,” explained Kinahan.
ReadyCom plans to take the service nationwide, and currently is negotiating with different parties about equipment supplies, as well as a number of cellular carriers across the country who could deliver ReadyTalk service.
ReadyTalk will cost users approximately $20 per month, including equipment rental, the company said.