The past hundred or so years brought us the telegraph, the telephone and radio communication. But it was back in the past 25 or so years...

Share story

The past hundred or so years brought us the telegraph, the telephone and radio communication. But it was back in the past 25 or so years when someone got the bright idea of combining the radio and telephone technologies. That gave us the cellphone, which is fast becoming the most popular personal communications device of the 21st century.

And, of course, there’s the Internet. The cellphone and the Internet make up a major portion of the personal-communications pie today.

Now it seems the next big thing is coming up with ways to combine the cellphone and the Internet. After all, look what happened when we combined radio and the telephone. So now we’re seeing some interesting results.

Voice-over Internet Protocol, or VoIP, is one example of how we can speak over the Internet rather than just type something. Services like Skype and Vonage are continuing to grow rapidly.

Using a computer and the Skype software, for example, you can make free long-distance calls to other computers connected to the Internet running the Skype software. Other services, such as Vonage, make telephone connections using the Internet for considerably less cost than traditional switched telephone services.

Seattle company

But there are many new companies finding some alternative, clever ways to utilize the power of the cellphone and the Internet together. One of these is called Jott, from Seattle-based Jott Networks.

The basic premise of Jott is a simple one: You speak into your cellphone, and Jott converts what you say into text. Now let’s expand on that simple premise, and you’ll see how that single ability lets Jott offer a wide variety of services.

The basic service takes anything you say into your cellphone, converts it to text and sends it off to the recipient as an e-mail. I’ve tried it, and it’s amazingly accurate.

I’ve since come to discover how Jott does it. You begin by first setting up a free Jott account at www.jott.com. Then call its toll-free number (866-JOTT-123). Jott knows who you are by the Caller ID information and asks you to begin speaking.

When your message is finished, the audio file is passed through their automated speech-recognition software. Then if they think it might need extra tweaking, it’s passed along to their quality-assurance team to clean it up.

Jott assures that its teams don’t know who you are or even where the message is going. It works in a clean environment, much the same way as medical and legal professionals use for the transcription of highly confidential documents.

Once it’s passed, the message gets e-mailed to whomever you have set up within your account, which could be one person, a group or even yourself.

Plenty of uses

Depending on how you’ve set things up within your Jott account, the transcriptions can be used as e-mails; to-do lists; reminders; inserted into appointment calendars; used in Amazon, Twitter and Blogger links; as well as in Facebook and a variety of other feeds.

The best way to see all of the options is to go to Jott’s Web site. Many of the services are offered for free, while others come with a charge. Jott even offers a free iPhone app on iTunes that streamlines the whole recording and sending process.

Combining the cellphone and the Internet is where the next big thing will come from, so while you’re giving Jott a try, be sure to keep an eye out for it. And don’t forget to feed your carrier pigeon tonight.