Invariably, whenever you dial into a conference call, someone is always late. Everyone waits until the last minute to call, and then it takes forever to find the email with the dial-in number and the passcode, and by the time you get through the voice prompts, you’ve already wasted five or ten minutes. A new service launching today from Ditech Networks called PoketyPoke tries to make conference calls easier to join. The first 100 people to sign up at the website will be invited into the private beta.
All you do is forward the conference call email invites with all of the dial-in and calendar information to PoketyPoke. It will then automatically dial into the conference call at the right time and simultaneously place a call to your phone, bridging the two calls. So instead of you dialing in, it calls you. PoketyPoke also works for two way calls.
You can record and transcribe the calls as well. PoketyPoke uses the PhoneTag/Simulscribe voice-to-text transcription service which Ditech Networks licensed exclusively for $17 million. The service comes out of Ditech Networks Labs, which is run by Simulscribe founder Jamie Siminoff, and will be free during the private beta period. PoketyPoke is meant to showcase some of the Ditech Networks APIs, which could be used to build the feature directly into conference call services.
On the backend, PoketyPoke uses a combination of automation and humans to make sure the calls get through. It can automatically dial through the major confernce call systems. If it encounters a new conference call service, the call gets kicked to a human operator who will dial through the prompts to train the system. The next time PoketyPoke encounters that system, it should be able to handle it automatically. The same approach is taken for extracting the dial-in and calendar information from the email. If PoketyPoke’s computers can’t figure it out, a human takes over.