nail_in_coffinWhen I joined Microsoft back in 2001,  Exchange 2000 was the latest and greatest in messaging, Windows Mobile was something you would hang in a baby's bedroom and having your emails read out to you was 'Star Trek stuff'.  How things have changed over the last 6 years.

Back then,  I had a lot of 'deadtime' during which I would be away from my desk and therefore unable to deal with the emails that were flowing in.  Don't get me wrong,  its not that I needed to be connected to my email because the world would stop revolving is someone wasn't able to get hold of me,  its more that I wanted to keep it under control by deleting and filing emails that didn't require a response from me.  Along comes Windows Mobile (or Smartphone in those days) to the rescue.

I got my first Smartphone,  an 'Orange SPV' or 'Canary' back in 2002 and started to use it with Exchange 2000 (with MIIS) and then Exchange 2003 to sync my email.  When I sat on the train into London or had a few spare minutes while waiting for the bus I could sift through my email,  delete any 'spam' (stuff I am cc'd on but don't need to keep),  read my daily news summaries and catchup on any communications sent from Redmond during the night.  When I finally sat down at my desk I could start work straight away rather than spending the first hour of the day doing mailbox maintenance.  With an average of 1hr spent on mailbox maintenance (from my own experience),  260 work days a year and 5 years gone by,  its saved me 1300 hours or 54 days worth of time.  This is great,  but there is still one more place where 'deadtime lived',  until now.

The car has always been one of those places where,  for obvious reasons,  its not been possible to read email.  This has instead been the time traditionally when people have scheduled conference calls or just simply sat stuck in traffic while traveling into the office.  Traveling in the car has always been deadtime for me and even if I didn't want to sort through my email during this time,  it been impossible to phone people without the risk of using the phone manually and breaking the law.  This has all changed now as I have access to Outlook Voice Access.

Outlook Voice Access enables me to do a few key things while driving to work in the car:-

  1. Delete email that I don't need to read when I get into the office
  2. Read my daily emails,  I receive an email once a day with Microsoft related news items in it,  by the time I get into the office this has already been read
  3. Phone people in my contacts or the company directory

I have only been using it for a while but it has already been comfortably inserted into my daily routine and I know that when I get in the office,  my inbox is in a state where I can get on with my work.  That combined with the fact that I can safely and legally phone people from my phone means I would never want to go back to not having OVA.

Hello OVA,  Bye bye deadtime!