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MyCaption: 'Poor Man's' Mobile CRM

Cutting back on what you spend on enterprise mobile applications? A startup called MyCaption is pitching a lower-priced way to speech-enable e-mail and calendar items on BlackBerry devices.

MyCaption claims that its hosted software application solves the technical challenges plaguing current voice-to-data technology.

The company said the new service enables multi-tasking, and helps business users use their voices to "speak" and send e-mail, input voice memos, tasks, contact notes and calendar entries. It's plug-in service synchronizes with enterprise applications such as Outlook and converts the user's voice into data they can use to manage their lives.

"We're focused on the enterprise business user who wants to be productive," MyCaption founder and CEO Vipul Bhatt told InternetNews.com. "We are the poor man's CRM (customer relationship management)."

MyCaption's $6.95 monthly service provides users three minutes of dictation time per e-mail and offers edit and spell check functions. Bhatt said competing products offer much shorter recording time, are not as accurate and don't offer unique functions such as message review.

MyCaption arrives at a time when applications for mobile handsets are exploding in popularity, but amid a sputtering economy that has enterprises slashing costs.

Still, vendors such as BlackBerry's parent company Research in Motion are (NASDAQ: RIMM) are spending millions to spur application development on their platforms and devices.

MyCaption's service is aimed at the BlackBerry Bold, Pearl, Curve, 8700 and 8800 smartphones. It's also stepping into a crowded market for voice-enabling text applications, with players such as Jott and Vlingo offering similar services for mobile users.

Two-year-old Jott deployed its own BlackBerry application this past Spring. It also offers a free mobile notepad application for Apple's iPhone and Jott Feeds, service that lets users listen to RSS updates. Its Jott Basic service starts at $4 a month.

Vlingo released a free BlackBerry application in June, and the two-year-old startup plans to expand support for more devices and operating systems by year's end. Just last month it updated its BlackBerry software to support Facebook and Twitter status updates and provide full text message read back.

Then there are the really big players, such as IBM's voice-to-text offerings. In August, Big Blue announced it was offering its speech recognition engine to clients and partners that are developing consumer and enterprise applications for smartphones and other mobile Internet devices.

In addition, communications software giant Avaya pioneered voice-enabled mobile applications and offers enterprise customers a medley of approaches to "hear" and "speak" e-mails.

Bhatt, however, isn't fazed by the competition.

"There is a long list of companies doing this but there is huge potential with the technology and room for multiple players," he said. "Our distinct difference is that we fully address productivity as we view voice as the keyboard."

MyCaption can compose and reply to email by clicking on a small icon and dictating their voice message responses. Users can review and edit the message before sending.

Bhatt said his services uses both automation technology and human editing for greater translation accuracy, while most competitors rely on automation alone. The company is planning to expand its service to other mobile smartphone platforms within the next six to nine months.