Movistar and SpinVox Bring Speech-To-Text to Latin America

Voice-to-text service is now available in Latin America, thanks to a new partnership between SpinVox—a provider of voice-to-text services—and mobile phone operator Movistar Chile.

Movistar Chile subscribers will have access to the services of SpinVox, making Chile the first Latin American country to provide the voice-to-text messaging service.  

"[This partnership] is very important for us," said Tony Carter, a spokesperson for SpinVox. "It puts us smack dab on another continent using a Latin American version of Spanish. We do conversions in English, Spanish, French, and German, and we are up and running with Vodaphone in Spain. But that’s not the same as Spanish in South America. So we’ve developed a special language queue for it and this gets our foot in the door on our fourth continent."

SpinVox captures voice messages, converts them to text, and then delivers them to the recipient’s mobile device in the form of a text message or, in some cases, email. Subscribers are also provided with caller identification and have the option of returning the call via text or phone.

SpinVox will be available to all Movistar Chile subscribers on contract. The service will be available either as a monthly bundle of 10 or 20 voicemails, or as a message-by-message service.

According to Carter, reaction to the speech-to-text service—which he calls "one of the fastest growing services for in-carrier that we’re seeing in each of our markets"—has been positive in Chile.

"It has just been offered to the public," he says. "Within one or two hours of putting the news out—we had a demo number, what we call an echo number, where you can call and speak a voice message and have it sent back to you as an SMS to your phone—we had about 500 people within a couple of hours that had already hit the number. That was pretty impressive. We were putting the number out there just so people could give it a try and see if they liked the results."

And, Carter is optimistic about SpinVox’s future in Latin America. "One thing that we’ve introduced and we’re selling it with Vodaphone in Spain is a service called Missed Call Messenger," he says. "In a lot of Spain and a lot of the western European countries they don’t have voicemail. They find it, for lack of a better word, culturally offensive. We’ve created a product or a service that capitalizes on the phenomenon."

Missed Call Messenger allows users to eliminate voicemail messages. Users simply hit a soft key on their mobile phones and speak a text message. The speech is converted to text and then delivered as an SMS.

"I think that product in South America is very good for us," Carter says. "I think that’s a huge market for us in South America."

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