For those of you reading this internationally - quick explanation Duane Reade is a chemist (or pharmacy as they call them here), they tend to a be a bit on the mega size (lol - it's Jodie says this is probably the major thing she will miss about the USA when we go home - they have massive alternatives with pretty much every product line at 'supermarket' pricing).
Anyway the reason for this post is - to say yet again, I love technology (lol have i said that enough yet?).
So I'm working in my office this morning and I get a call and there is that ominous 1-2 second dead air pause which means...predictive dialer sales call, but then an automated voice comes on saying "hi from Duane Reade, we're just calling to let you know that one of your prescriptions is about to run out this week and if you head down to your local store at X & Z, that they will be able to fill this for you today - thanks and have a nice day etc etc".
So yeh I know the technology to make database lookups, include the variables for these lookups into a text to speech call and then personalise the information with your local address etc etc are really basic, but how freaking far have we come since Bell said those first words "come here - I want to see you Watson".
Yeh I know this technology can be used for bad (sales calls, unwanted info calls etc) and really nefarious bad (phishing calls using dtmf capture) but when it is something useful like this - way cool.
If you run a business or you think you have some type of business process that can benefit from voice mashups then check out www.asterisk.org which has some really cheap technology to get you started, especially the www.adhearsion.com tool set.
If you run a business and don't have a clue what linux even is then no probs - check out http://thethomashowecompany.com/ which are one of the leaders in the USA for voice mashups.
Either way, welcome to a voice enhanced world.