Feeds

back to article SpinVox carcass laid bare in final accounts

Dragon's Den TV star Julie Meyer described SpinVox as "the first major technology success story out of Europe", but the company's final accounts show a business running at a huge loss, spending heavily, and with interest payments alone exceeding income. The accounts also show that CEO Christine Domecq repaid the company a six …

COMMENTS

This topic is closed for new posts.
Anonymous Coward

Good riddance!

The poor quality of the transcriptions caused me *major* grief one time. I left (what I thought) was a voice message for my partner. (We live in Spain, and my Spanish ain't great, so whatever prompting they gave me went over my head). A few minutes later, my other half (let's call her "Maria") phoned up demanding to know who the hell "Michelle" was. Not until I got my hands on her phone and saw the message myself was I able to figure out what was going on and convince her that I wasn't having an affair.

0
1
FAIL

Gasp

I'll just go and put my shocked face on.

0
1
WTF?

Bollocks

"the first major technology success story out of Europe"

That is bollocks of course. Just think of Skype, Kazaa, Spotify, Last.FM, Cambridge Silicon Radio, and that is just from the last few years. If we are looking at technologies instead of companies we also have ubiquitous GSM/GPRS/UMTS and Bluetooth as clear European success stories.

2
0
WTF?

Last.FM? Not likely

LastFM. has never made any money. It swallowed up VC cash, now it's dragging down CBS. It costs a fortune to run.

They just found a bigger idiot to buy it - like SpinVox.

0
1
Gold badge
FAIL

SpinVox gone. Now what about Phorm

They are definitely about due.

2
0
Silver badge

A great way to wreck a nice beach

You sing calm incense.

The prime example that one of my uni lecturers gave of how voice recognition does not and cannot work without an understanding of context. Voice mails by default are short, personal and rely on an unknown context-factor.

0
0
Thumb Down

The Webmaster...

...left before taking down their site.

0
0

Patent

>> "Because human operators are used instead of machine transcription, voicemails are converted accurately, intelligently, appropriately and succinctly into text messages (SMS/MMS)," founder Daniel Doulton wrote in a 2004 patent filing. <<

The 2004 GB filing spawned a divisional application, which the Examiner thought unpatentable. At hearing, the main claim considered was (note step (b): "A method of providing voicemail to a mobile telephone, in which a caller initiates a voice call to the mobile telephone, but that call is diverted to a voicemail server, with the caller then leaving a voice message on the voicemail server; the method comprising the steps of: (a) playing back the voice message to an operator; (b) the operator transcribing the original voice message into a computer to generate a transcribed text message, the transcribed text message not being a word for word transcription of the original voice message but instead a succinct, intelligent rendering of the actual message; (c) sending the text message to the mobile telephone; (d) displaying the text message on the mobile telephone."

The Hearing Officer refused the patent application as a mental act: "A human operator, listening to a voicemail message and transcribing that message into text form is a mental act. The changing by that human operator of a message so that it is not a word for word transcription but instead a succinct intelligent rendering of the message is also purely a mental act which, I might add, secretaries have been performing for generations."

1
0
Coat

usual management

all they really needed to spin (or even actually implement) was that the manual transcripts were part of the training of the recognition software.....

0
0
Anonymous Coward

I was a 'Turk'

Hi everyone. Here's my story: In 2008 I was looking for a job( I live in Mauritius) and got one as a 'voice transcription agent' at a company which I shall not name here. Now I had been reading a few business blogs as well as the Reg and I noticed a few weird things: the company i worked for was a subcontractor for Spinvox but they made us sign NDA's with Spinvox's name all over them without mentioning my employer's name on any of them: alarm ONE. Next said subcontractor had only two departments each one working for a SINGLE company: alarm TWO, never open a business to service a single customer. All I want to say is that Spinvox (and my ex employer by extension) but yeah, Spinvox was the most disgusting company and the most disgusting LIARS I had ever worked with (I hear Homer Simpson say: 'Till now...'). The patents mention that the messages clients got were 'succinct renditions of the original message...' Noooo my friends, they really want word for word transcriptions. Privacy? All night ( yes NIGHT! What were you thinking?) I listened to very horny people disclosing their fantasies over an unsecured electronic network, bored Rogers and Bell employees 'testing the system' ( " I wonder if i talk really fast like this... or if I sing a song like this... "), credit card numbers, bank account numbers, weird people saying where they had left their house keys for visits, very hysterical people in weird situations like being drunk or having their siblings knocked unconscious either by things they consumed or accidents. And they kept telling the same crap they told you: the system is intelligent enough to transcribe substantial parts of messages... But I think what we got was what lazier 'agents' could not convert ( it's a dog eat dog world ). the end result is: i don't ever want to work for British people again, or any European as a matter of fact. IMO Europeans are technologically and ethically doomed (yes you've got a bad name now... And I BLAME CHRISTINA!!!). Their Tenzing software was nothing more than a wrapper around Media Player in .Net for audio speed control and word or phrase completion. I've started writing a clone now, just for fun. I may finish it next week. Intellisense is not so obvious to program. All my time working for the 'Vox I focused on only one thing: converting messages accurately enough (which means 100% perfect) to be of sensible value to the people who thought I was a machine. All agents working from Mauritius until July 2009 had the same focus on quality: we were the best. But everything that has a beginning also has an end Neo, even NDA"s. Poor Nuance... 100M is too much, maybe 25M would have been enough. For the record I've been programming since I was twelve. I think that Microsoft succeeded not because they were evil or had more marketing power, they just put a BASIC in every product they shipped. Check it... The legacy of the Commodore C64 lives on. But that's another story. One more thing: don't EVER think that because you are white and the person you're dealing with is of a darker colour it means that you are in any way superior. You would be very , very far from the truth.

0
2
Thumb Down

Ha Ha

Spinvox what a joke! About as credible as The Moller Skycar.

0
1
This topic is closed for new posts.