Telephone Message Enunciation Assist
Original Publication Date: 2002-Mar-13
Included in the Prior Art Database: 2003-Jun-20
When people leave messages on telephone answering machines/systems, they sometimes do not enunciate clearly, or they mumble, or they speak during background noise. Thus the message is inaudible or very hard to understand. In normal conversation this is not such a problem because you can ask them to repeat what they are saying. But when this occurs in an answering machine/system message, the receiving party does not have a chance to ask the caller to repeat the message. This invention uses speech recognition technology to try to understand what the person is saying when they leave an answering machine message. When the speech recognition program can not decipher the words, the answering machine/system asks the caller to please speak more clearly and repeat the message before they hang up. Since speech recognition technology is currently best at understanding spoken numbers (numerals), this invention's initial implementation could be focused on ensuring that a callback telephone number is properly recorded. This way the person recording the messages would only be asked to repeat a phone number (or string of digits) if it was not properly recognized by the speech recognition system. This callback phone number could be stored in the answering system so that it could be automatically dialed, at the receiver's option, by the telephone or cell phone when the message is received. This callback number could be optionally compared to the phone number captured by a Caller ID system, so that if they were the same the number would only be stored once. The key to recognizing phone numbers is to look at the syntax. For instance, in the United States, an indicator of a phone number is a sequence of seven numbers (no area code), or a sequence of ten numbers (with area code included), or a sequence of "one" followed by ten numbers (1-area code-number), where the device recognizes the sequence of numbers but one or more of them are not clear enough to be properly recognized. Another indicator of a possible phone number is a sequence followed by a pause and some unrecognizable sounds with one or more digits mixed in. Recognizing that these conditions indicate a possible phone number, the answering machine/system would ask the caller to please repeat the number.