Audacity Audio has released a new version of the Audacity PDA-based dictation software that allows the user of a Palm Treo 600 SmartPhone to dictate on their cellular phone and immediately transmit the file over the cellular network with the touch of a button.
The Audacity DVR (Digital Voice Recorder) Professional Edition is targeted towards mobile professional dictation applications. From the record screen the author can specify where he wants the file sent and where and when he wants it returned. If the author is dictating from his office, the file is automatically sent during the next HotSync, but if the author is mobile, he can send the file through the cellular network at the touch of a button. Our desktop LAM (Local Audacity Manager) application handles the automatic file transport through the HotSync process. The cellular transport is handled by a service called Audacity AudioMail. It is an FTP site and includes additional items of Audacity software. Audacity Audio will also help Enterprise customers set up there own facilities.
Skeptics might say “Why don’t I just record the file on a telephone capture device from my cell phone or why don’t I just e-mail the file from my cell phone”. Those are both valid points; I will address each. Cell phone service is very useful, but not perfect. There are still dropped calls, areas of poor coverage, and times of poor or nonexistent service. With dictation, there is no feedback; no one on the other end asking you to repeat that, I didn\’t hear what you said. Transcriptionists, normally, will not allow an author to dictate from a cell phone. It simply is not consistent enough.
E-mailing an audio file does work, but consider this. A one-minute audio file in a standard audio format (PCM 8 kHz) is 950k. With today’s cellular networks, it takes about 6 minutes to transmit that file. That is a long time. With the Audacity solution, the same file is compressed into either of two formats. The smallest is under 50k and the larger, higher quality one, is less than 90k. The file is transmitted much quicker and with less chance for problems. The FTP site software will decompress the file, if required, for recipient playback. The largest vertical for dictation/transcription is medical. Security is an issue, but Audacity can encrypt the file during recording and decrypt on the receiving end.
Who will use this? Certainly medical and legal come to mind. Doctors make up the largest commercial user group for PDAs. Doctors are also the largest dictation user group. They are an obvious choice, but there are many more. Among them: law enforcement, insurance, media, real estate, and construction–basically, any mobile professional. One application that is not mainstream, but one I like, is a construction industry inspector. He travels from site to site reporting on progress and problems. The job is hot, sweaty, and on-the-run. He carries a clipboard and stops to take notes periodically. His notes get all wet and sweaty, and he has no place to sit down and write a thorough report. It is much easier to dictate into a Treo 600. He doesn’t have to stop, he doesn\’t need his clipboard, and his report is more complete as it is just easier to talk than write. As he travels to his next location, he sends the file to the office secretarial pool. When he arrives back in the office at 4:00, the reports are all typed and ready for review. Since this all took place in the same day, any problems are still fresh in his mind and easy to fix. If he needs to review a fact, the complete file is still on his Treo. A great application of technology improving productivity.
The Audacity DVR Professional/LAM-S package is available now at the Audacity Audio web site, www.AudacityAudio.com. Details about ordering the optional Audacity AudioMail Service can also be found on the Web site. The service is $ 9.99 monthly for existing or new licensees of the Audacity DVR Professional software. A free software upgrade is available to existing users. Audacity Audio also rents the software with AudioMail Service for $ 14.99 with a one-year commitment or $19.99 with a six-month commitment.