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Voice Broadcast Technology that could help in organizing family get togethers or just keep the Family up to speed on what’s happening

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(I guess this will be a study in extremely long post titles (?))

Recently I’ve been looking at many companies that provide voice broadcast services. This is where you record an audio message and then can have it sent to many phone numbers. Political Campaigns and other organizations use this for get out the vote efforts and the like and I’ve had some business uses which is why I was researching these voice broadcast services. As I’ve been researching it though I’ve been thinking of the many different kinds of uses that this technology has. Some people call it a voice broadcast, others say voice blast, I’ve heard it called robocalls… I guess it is essentially like sending an email to everyone on your contact list, only it’s a voice mail message. It’s interesting that they’re so easy to do these days and I was thinking about how the family genealogist might make use of them. Family reunion season I guess probably peaks in the summer, so you may have to save this idea for next year, but how about making the calls to let your family know about the next get together, or make updates to the scheduling?

I know some clubs and organizations that use similar services to pass along news of the passing of a member or former member and I imagine the family genealogist could take advantage of it for this use as well. Of course, there are times that it’s better to have a one on one conversation. One thing that I have liked about using voice broadcasts is the amount of time they can save me. I have primarily used them for cancellations. When I have to cancel an afternoon of appointments with 6-8 people. Of course, these days they have home numbers, work numbers, cell phone numbers and if I’m canceling piano lessons with younger students, then….. I have 2 parents to contact because I’m not sure which parent may be bringing them this week….. So that’s 5 numbers(!) each(!)

Now, I don’t have to cancel often, but when I do it’s usually because I’m sick or we’ve got a bad weather situation. However, the time I made best use of a voice broadcast was canceling lessons for the birth of our second son. This is another way the family historian might make use of this technology, to keep those interested in new arrivals to the family quickly updated.

So… how much do these things cost? They can actually be very cheap. I found one service that can make calls for free to up to 25 numbers (phonevite). I think they are limited to 30 seconds although I’m not certain. I use voiceshot (did a voiceshot review when I first tried them out and you can find a more detailed voiceshot review that covers their other services.) The pricing for voiceshot and several of these other services is pay as you go. For me it was as easy as paying $5 from a credit card to “charge” my account and then I added a list of numbers, recorded a message and was able to launch a test call VERY easily. They calls were about 12 cents per successful call. I was able to track through the web interface the progress of the calls and whether they were picked up by a live person or answering machine. I also tested several variations, voicemail, live pickup, answering machine and it (voiceshot) handled them all quite well.

If you like you can get fancier with these services, even including the ability to use this as a survey (press 1 for option a and press 2 for option b). (Wish I had that when I had to do marketing surveys for classes in college!)

I’m sure you might be thinking of other uses you can put this technology to, certainly not everyone has email and so sometimes that makes getting the message out to family a little more challenging, but the phone is universal these days and these kinds of technology make it as easy to send multiple voice messages as email can send multiple text messages.

Anyway, I thought you might enjoy

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