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Telecel’s New Onhold Music Player

Man on headphonesWhile competition drives some restaurants to be super nice to customers and place rose petals on tables, it has now seen Telecel adopting an IVR music player into their system. The service essentially plays music while you are on hold. You first dial 350 and then you go through various choice messages before you get to navigate to your choice of music:

Press 1, to listen top ten songs

Press 2, to listen to dedicate a song

Press 3, to listen to your favourite artist

Press 4, to choose between various categories

Press 5, to listen your personalised album

Press 6, to dedicate a song.

Well I personally like option number 6. That’s a fine way to dedicate music.

Hearing music onhold is not something new though. Dialling 111 with an Econet line you will hear “Buddie” music before the operator answers. Plus Econet has its BuddieBeatz function which plays music for the caller before call is answered. Netone plays their “World in one” tune when you dial for help. However Telecel (we have to give it to them) is the first in Zimbabwe to use this feature exclusively for music i.e. not during calls, just dialling 340 for music.

Before applauding Telecel however I have to say the sound quality is not too great. And also my choice of music is narrow. I’m the “Hillsong/Jesus Culture” kind of guy. I know I may be in the minority here but a lot of people I know desire to listen to specific songs. But then again, there are other times when you say anything goes. You switch on the radio. Radios are everywhere nowadays, phones have them, even ball point pens.

I should say this new feature is a lot comparable to sites like Jungo. Jungo lets you choose the artist and then immediately starts playing the artist’s songs and other related tracks from other artists. The difference here is that you type-in the artist’s name yourself. Over the phone it’s difficult to choose a specific artist. You have to listen to all the names of artists in the service provider’s database before you find the one you want. My potentially unrealistic idea is that Telecel should incorporate a speech recognition system that hears my favourite artist and then automatically plays the artist’s music. But then again, that is difficult even Microsoft’s speech recognition is heavily flawed.

The feature in reality can only provide very limited choice. Because the caller has to listen to many voice commands before he/she can narrow down to the desired track. It is hard to make people choose artists from the illimitable number of artists that is out there without making the system long and boring. So my question is, will this new feature excite a lot of people out there? I don’t know.

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