Skype Answer Machine – SAM

December 2, 2004

in Skype Journal

I’ve been experimenting with different Skype Answer Phones. I wrote some specs over a year ago. And the simple answer is a well developed application will be a game changer… The general wisdom is you won’t leave your computer working to handle your telephony needs. An early look at SAM a Skype Answer Machine makes traditional solutions seem old fashioned. This is the second Skype API enabled application that I’ve reported on.

Think about your current phone answer machine. When you come home, you step through the door and hear it beeping away with new messages. You press the playback button… visually you can see how many messages were left but you can’t choose the order. You begin listening. The first caller leaves a message no number.. the second a message with a number…. You search madly for a pen that works and any scrap of paper… the next message is already playing…. Before you know it have to listen to them all again carefully trying to write down numbers and names.

Now what if you had:

  • A solution that not only captured voice messages, it also enables one click return dialing.
  • Notifies each caller with a text message (can be customized) that they reached your answer machine so they can leave a note too.
  • Records the sent text notification and thus retains presence information (online, away etc. for someone who may not be on your buddylist) thus informing you of likely callback success or for making a short text answer for the message easy if all it needs is a one liner.
  • Can select the playback in any order you wish, getting faster to messages that you think are urgent or interesting..
  • Has all the other usual features.

    SAM created by Alex Rosenbaum is still in beta. I had no problems with the install. I know he is still refining it for sound card compatibility. SAM requires the latest version of Skype so download it first. It’s only available in PC format, sorry Mac fans.


    What else may be engineered into this answer phone over time?

  • Smart Rings dependent on the type of call or contact category.
  • Voice Mail retrieval from another PC using the dialpad.
  • Managed Screening. Answer all incoming calls not on my buddylist or on my whitelist with a specific details request message and different text message.
  • Develop for use as a call recorder.
  • Use access to Presence information in new ways to be controlled by the user.
  • Bridge Skype to other telephony applications. Eg call forwarding.

    If you like Skype then try it out. It’s really not a machine, it’s a first step in a set of applications that will help change the way we see desktops. Now if I could just integrate my desktop so it works seemlessly with my mobile phone.

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