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Three voice apps we could really use right now

 I wasn't able to get down to ETel down in Burlingame, Cal. last week.
Written by Russell Shaw, Contributor

I wasn't able to get down to ETel down in Burlingame, Cal. last week. But if I had, you most certainly would have found me at the  First Ever Telephony Mashup Contest.
The Contest's goal was to create a voice application that could offer practical functionality. Or, OK, that was cool. These Mashups needed to use telephony infrastructure (ex: IP PBX, IVR, VoiceXML, SMS, etc.), employ multiple services or content sources, and could be recreatable without, say, a crew of telecommunications engineers drawing high salaries.
Here are the three finalists: 

First place - AfterHoursDoctorsOffice  - by Thomas Howe - http://howethomas.backpackit.com/pub/975351 - using Amazon Mechanical Turk & Strikeiron SMS to transcribe office voice mail left by patients for doctors, into text, which is then sent via SMS to the doctor. At the top of this post, that's a grab from the PowerPoint of Thomas Howe's demo.
Second place - FishLign - by Claire Umeda & Dharmesh Desai of LignUp - using Strikeiron Driving Directions & LignUp Recording, TTS & Personalization to perform Click2Call and customize a users web and voice experience.
Third place - RoboCal - by Ted Gilchrist of Botcast Network - using 30 Boxes & Google Calendar  - http://www.robocal.com - Enables users to listen to events listed in 30 Boxes or Google Calendar. Can also save voice messages to your calendar.
I'd say FishLign is the most appealing of these applications, and has the most potential widespread use. Yet if we are talking about compelling need, AfterHoursDoctorsOffice wins hands down.
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