It goes without saying that all enterprise BlackBerry users are looking for ways to increase their uptime (although we’re sure that even enterprise users wouldn’t mind sweet ringtone action to go along with their uptime). For those among us who face long commutes to work or other car travel, those tiresome hours stuck behind the wheel can be an uptime/productivity killer.
Fellow Canadians Voice on the Go offer hope for wearied travelers with their hands/eyes-free solution that gives users voice access to their email, calendars, and contacts while driving. We’ve wanted to get our hands on Voice on the Go for a long time (and so have our readers), so check out our full review below.
Because Voice on the Go functions by allowing subscribers to dial in over any voice line and use voice commands to manage their email, calendar… etc., there’s no actual VOTG app to install on your BlackBerry; rather, all set up is handled via the wonders of the Internet. The first step is to create an account at www.voiceonthego.com, where you’ll be asked to input your mobile phone number and email address. While VOTG works with all BlackBerrys, you’re going to need to make sure that you’re using a POP3 email account. There is also an Exchange/Lotus solution for company-wide rollouts of VOTG. From our experience as a stand-alone user, signing up via the website was simple and painless, although the fact that you can only use one email per account did sting.
Once you’ve created your Voice on the Go account, the next step is to tailor VOTG to your needs with calendar and contacts support. For Outlook 2003 & 2007 users, VOTG features a Plug-in with two-way sync for Calendar entries, and one way sync for contacts (from Outlook to VOTG).
No such luck, however, for non-Outlook calendar users.
All other users can add new contacts individually or through a .csv import, as well as set up text/email alerts for important messages and edit your account settings, all through VOTG’s web interface. Familiarity with VOTG’s web interface is basically a necessity, because unfortunately you can’t simply sync with your BlackBerry’s contacts and calendar.
Once you have your VOTG tailored to your likings, it’s time to learn more about how to use the voice-based solution. Voice on the Go is by no means overly complicated, but it does require the user to learn specific commands, and for users inexperienced with voice-based content management systems, the variety of options VOTG offers right off the bat can seem a tad overwhelming. Thankfully, the folks at Voice on the Go have taken the steps necessary to ensure that their customers have the tools necessary to quickly learn how to use their solution, as well as providing support for those who get stuck.
Voice on the Go’s web-based Support Centre offers Flash demonstrations on how to use the solution, FAQs, a downloadable Quick Reference Guide that can be printed out, and a live operator for direct support. Within the application, the first three times users dial-in to Voice on the Go they are given the option of hearing a brief VOTG tutorial; users can also at any time simply say “help” to be prompted with their options (handy for when you’re driving and can’t quite remember the proper command you need). One of the things we liked best about Voice on the Go was their willingness to ensure the best possible user experience. Here’s a pro-tip from BlackBerry Cool HQ, however: make sure you have your local VOTG access number saved as a contact in your BlackBerry — you’ll be calling it often.