The History of Voice Mail
The Invention of Voice Mail
Voice mail was the brainchild of Gordon Mathews, a successful
entrepreneur that held 35 US and foreign patents at the time of his
death on February 23, 2002.
In the late seventies Matthews began working on
the technology that would eventually be called "voicemail." In
1979, Matthews took his technology and formed a company called VMX, which stands for Voice
Message Express. He then applied for a patent in 1979 for his voicemail
invention and sold the first system to 3M. His wife, Monika,
even recorded the first greeting on this first commercial voicemail.
A few years later, in 1982 the
patent for his invention was awarded. His "Voice Message Exchange"
managed electronic messages in a digital format.
Matthews eventually left VMX in 1989. The company had hit
rough financial waters and VMX was later sold to Octel
Communications, which in turn was bought by Lucent Technologies and
spun off into a new company called Avaya. To this day, there
are companies that still use VMX systems to meet their voice mail
Voice Mail for the Masses
For the first few years after voice mail had been introduced to the
world, not many companies could take advantage of it. The
VMX systems were very expensive and consequently voice mail was only
available to the largest corporations. The playing field was
leveled with the introduction of PC-based voice processing boards manufactured by
companies like Dialogic Corporation. Dialogic Communications
Corporation was founded in 1982 and quickly became an industry
leading manufacturer of voice processing equipment. Their products
allowed software developers to create voice mail software that would
work on industry standard personal computers. This development
significantly lowered the cost to manufacture a voice mail system
and led to an explosive growth of voicemail.
Today, voice mail has become an integral part of operating a
successful business. Companies large and small rely on
voicemail to efficiently and effectively communicate with
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of customers believe that an 800 number connotes high quality
products or services."
Atlanta Business Chronicle
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