With the advent of smartphones, and largely driven by the market-defining success of the iPhone, the way in which we employ these devices has changed. The telephone and the mobile phone were designed so that we could speak to each other with distance being no object. Nowadays, we increasingly email, text, iMessage, twitter, facebook or google. We are using mobile phones to talk increasingly less. Despite this, an app called Wavedeck Voice Messenger PTT makes it easier to communicate than, say, texting.
What is it, What does it do?
To give it it’s proper title, Wavedeck Voice Messenger PTT (Wavedeck) is a lightweight app for your iPhone, iPod Touch or iPad, that allows you to communicate in a similar way to iMessage (texting) but using your voice. It is often quicker and easier to speak than to write, and Wavedeck turns this to your advantage.
Think of Wavedeck as short voice messages rather than short text messages. Sure, there are advantages to iMessage that allows you to send hyperlinks, photos, videos, music or files. Sometimes, though, you just need to communicate quickly, and voice is quicker and easier than resorting to written communications.
How does it work?
The PTT in Wavedeck stands for Push To Talk. The concept is similar to two-way radio communications such as shortwave radio or walkie-talkies. You literally push to button to transmit your voice.
That’s where the analogy ends with Wavedeck since the voice transmission is not real-time, it then takes on the analogy of SMS for voice and you message is sent and awaits your recipient’s reply.
Wavedeck is a free, small 8MB download available from the iTunes app store. Installing Wavedeck is a straightforward process:
- accept push notifications (required to alert you to new voice messages)
- enter your mobile telephone number (to identify you and send authenticating SMS code)
- enter the verification code to authenticate Wavedeck
- permit Wavedeck to access your contacts (necessary for functionality. Wavedeck needs to know who messages are being sent to and received from.)
On completion of these short steps you will be presented with the Wavedeck inbox.
If you have set up Wavedeck for the first time, Wavedeck will check your contacts to see if any of your friends or colleagues are already using the service. Those that are will appear in your Wavedeck contacts. Those that aren’t can be invited from the app. This is done by SMS, though you may wish to personalize the SMS so that it is not interpreted as spam when your friend receives your invitation. If none of your contacts are using Wavedeck, ask them to sign up at the same time.
Sending a Message
To send a message simply hold the large blue button whilst you talk and release when you finish. It might take practice, but if you mistakenly tap the button you will get a friendly reminder message.
If you have not already selected a person to whom to send the message, you will prompted to select from recent contacts, all contacts and groups. From this screen you may also use Wavedeck to send an SMS to invite others.
Receiving a Message
Depending upon how you have configured your iPhone, you will be alerted to new Wavedeck messages by a push notification and a sound. To access your message, just swipe the notification and, if necessary, enter your iPhone unlock code to be taken straight to the voice message in Wavedeck.
All of your incoming messages are saved in your Wavedeck inbox. To listen again, swipe across the message to the right. This also reveals a History option that displays interactions in an iMessage layout style, Star — to mark a message as a favourite and an Export option — to email a .wav file to yourself or someone else.
Sending Messages to Groups
For occasions when you wish to send the same message to more than one person there is a group send option.
Create a new voice message, click on the Groups tab and then select the group to which the message should be sent. If you have not yet created any groups, select the members for the new group and then give the group a name. This new group will then appear under the Groups tab next time you send a voice message.
Why Should I use Wavedeck?
Telephoning people can be a real bind, sometimes. Interminable ringing or leaving messages on voicemails is a real time waster. Likewise, texting or emailing takes time to compose and check before sending. Often, it is easier and quicker just to say something.
Wavedeck allows you to send short voice messages, a process that is quicker and more streamlined than sending texts.
Can Wavedeck be Improved?
Participation and Invitation
The biggest potential improvement would be the ability to send voice messages to non-Wavedeck users — perhaps by attaching a soundfile to an MMS, or better, texting/iMessaging them a link to the message. At present, the invitation is a text message that invites your friend to download the app and, unless you personalise this message, it is easily mistaken for spam.
Perhaps a little unfair to criticise the app for this as it is likely a restriction from Apple, it the would be great to tell Siri to send a voice message to a contact to make things even quicker.
It’s a fact of life that some of your friends and colleagues will not have iPhones. For this, it would be great to see ability to communicate with Android users, thus making Wavedeck even more useful.
OS X Integration
In the same way that you can now send iMessages from your Mountain Lion Mac, it would be great to have a lightweight Wavedeck app on the desktop.
We live in a Web 2.0 world, so Wavedeck could be further enhanced by sending voice messages to social networks such as Twitter, Tumblr and Facebook.
In it’s current form, Wavedeck is a slick app that works extremely well. It facilitates communication quicker and easier than that allowed by text, email or even conventional phone calls and it is an easy way to collaborate with colleagues and converse with friends.
The biggest obstacle to Wavedeck is getting people on board. This sort of app only becomes useful once you have a number of your contacts on board, so you may need to convince some of your friends and colleagues to sign up.
In terms of functionality and aesthetics of the app, I am struggling to be critical. It works smoothly and is well designed. It does what it is designed to do extremely efficiently and this is an app that I recommend you download and recommend to your friends if you value your communications being as frictionless as possible.