We’re one step closer to taking down Automated Phone Trees once and for all. Fonolo, a startup that won the top prize at today’s GigaOM Mobilize Conference, provides users not only with a way to bypass the irritating and inefficient trees, but also a central hub to help monitor previous conversations for future reference. Fonolo is currently in private beta so you’ll have to hold out a while longer, but we’ll be keeping close watch for its public launch.
The site’s primary function is to let you skip phone trees entirely. Fonolo presents a nested path menu for each supported company, which you can browse through until you find the person you’d like to call. The service then dials the number for you, using audio detection in real time to ensure the menu hasn’t changed. Once it arrives at its destination, it calls your phone and immediately connects you. In August, we wrote about Direct Line, an iPhone application that does nearly the same thing (though it doesn’t let you identify exactly which department you’d like to speak to).
What differentiates Fonolo is its online hub, which allows users to view their call history and add notes. Perhaps most useful is the service’s recording function – Fonolo will automatically record all of your calls for future reference, so you won’t have to worry about jotting down a Customer Service Representative’s name or a confirmation number.
Here’s a video of the company’s presentation from iPhoneBuzz: