That mind-curdlingly geeky expression ‘Web 2.0’ is normally enough to give an insomniac narcolepsy, but a new Web 2.0 service I discovered recently has made me wake up and pay attention for once.
Web 2.0, so we can get this out of the way, is a boring way of categorising websites that perform a service rather than just display information. And perform a service is what US-based evoca.com does, with bells on. Evoca is quite a hard concept to grasp, at least it was for me, but essentially, it’s an online sound archive on which you can record notes, reminders and interviews, dictate letters, leave audio segments for your blog (if you really must) and so on.
You can place sound clips on the site straight from your computer, or from your mobile phone, or record them from a Skype conversation, or download them from a pocket digital recorder. These bits of sound can be designated either for private use only or for public listening.
Best of all, Evoca offers a transcription service, whereby a highly trained (and infinitely patient, I would think) person in India takes your audio (be it a letter or en email dictated on the fly, a recording of a business meeting or, as I have done, a two-hour interview) and turns it within a couple of days into a full transcription in a Word document.
Transcriptions cost $US2.50 a minute, which sounds a bit steep on first hearing, but even though that works out at £75 an hour or so, it can save you or an assistant a full day’s hard labour. And, of course, a letter, dictated from your phone while you’re on the train or in an airport lounge, would cost no more than a pound or so.
If you don’t need to keep more than 15 minutes of audio in your web archive at one time, you can use Evoca free for recordings, although obviously not for transcriptions. If you just want Evoca to, say, send audio messages or reminders to yourself or other people, you never need spend a penny on it.
Evoca isn’t just a consumer service, either. The basic technology being in place, it can be used for heaps of commercial purposes too complicated to go into here, but well explained on Evoca’s website. Newspapers, for example, have begun using Evoca as a means for letting readers leave spoken messages and comments.
Evoca is one of those super-flexible services that are, without wanting to descend too much into marketing waffle, limited only by your imagination. So reading this, it may well spark in you an application I (or Evoca) wouldn’t have thought of.
What I find fascinating about it, above all, is that it is what I would call a gadgetless gadget. What’s happening is that Web services such as Evoca (and also the amazing Google Mapping facility on the Apple iPhone) are more and more making it so that your super smart phone is the only gadget you need to carry around.
For example, if I had to do an interview unexpectedly (or was holding a business meeting I wanted minuted) all I’d now need to do if I didn’t have a digital recorder about me, would be to set up my iPhone (or any decent mobile) between me and the other party, open a call to Evoca and record away. A day or two later, I’d have a full transcript of the meeting.
I’m sure there are plenty of other Web 2.0 applications already around or in the pipeline that can similarly help cut down on the amount of technology we need to have rattling around in our jacket pockets and flight bags.
blog comments powered by