Phonecall Transcripts

Idea: Telephonic communication has become integral part of everybody's life. Many ideas are discussed, appreciated, and discarded (and forgotten) during these calls. A lot of business conference calls carry very important information which either needs to be noted down or recorded manually. What if when you place a call or receive a call, your cellphone (or service provider) provides you with an option to record the conversation. If you select that option, the other party gets notified and can either choose to continue with the call or hang up. This way, all the important calls can get recorded and get stored either on your phone (with iPhone you have upto 8GB storage, and hence space should not be an issue), or in your account at service provider; which could later be retrieved either on your phone in form of a voicemail or an audio-clip which can be downloaded and stored.

Reward: With ever increasing cheaper storage, you can record all your conversations for (i) taking notes, (ii) gathering evidence, (iii) cherishing old memories, or (iv) pure fun.

: You can get to use the words, "your call may be monitored or recorded to insure quality of service". Also, you can use Speech-to-text on your phone conversation and record the entire conversation in a text file.

Brave New Interview

Idea: In United States, typically one goes through a couple of rounds of telephonic interview before one is called on-site for a full day interview. While this is sufficient for a high-tech position, has serious shortcomings for a management position since it require dealing with human factors more than the other jobs. e.g. teamwork. We could communicate a short project detail beforehand and call a bunch of candidates for the positions involved in carrying out this project. These candidates can collaborate and decide upon an action plan before they're all called together on-site. They'll be given a week to carry out their project. And at the end of the week, you decide if everybody did their part well. Of course, help should be provided before they appear on-site and also during their interview week. But this will give employer a very clear idea about how exactly the candidate is going to be useful at the company. The small project can range from doing a roadshow for IPO to preparing quarterly financial results for a press release, making arrangements for an upcoming company conference to devising a new mutual fund.

Reward: True assessment of a candidate. Avoid a lot of hiring mistakes like this.

Bonus: (Almost) free employees for a week. No reference checks necessary!

Voice to Video

Idea: I was configuring Microsoft , and that's when it occurred to me. We all talk to many people on daily basis, and the talk often includes narration of a scene where two or more people are conversing. The best the narrator can do depends on how well he narrates or rather how effectively he creates the character who are conversing in his narration in his audience. A video aid here would help tremendously. The way I see this working is as follows: The narrator starts talking about a conversation which took place between Alice and Bob. The video aid could create two animated characters on the screen. By catching a few action verbs like walk, slap, hand-shake, move, fall, smile, cry, etc., the characters on the screen could be animated. Now if in the middle of that conversation Charlie walks in, a third animated character could walk into the screen. Leaving a little to imagination, video aid can be used really effectively.

Reward: You can become a very good presenter because now you're able to convey exactly what's going on in your mind. You can literally "speak your mind out"!

Bonus: You can combine text to speech and speech to video, and start making small animated movies just based on a written transcript. I bet "filming" of could easily be done using this technology.

Social networking in flights

Idea: A flight journey may it be a long one or a short one, it's boring. Considering the capacity of the modern planes, a flight journey is a perfect candidate for social networking. A poor man's approach to this would be to distribute a questionnaire to each passenger asking them their name, occupation, interests, etc; and then match up (i.e. make them sit together) people with similar interests. Good news is technology comes to our aid now, and we have internet facility in flights. We can develop social networking applications (something like for flights) or gizmos for this small subset of people, and in the end everybody leaves happy (not bored!) and maybe with a couple of new friends. People can share their travel experience, business class people hold a mini-conference, the possibilities are endless.

Reward: An interesting flight journey.

Bonus: Group games also might be possible here. e.g. Mafia, Poker, Quizzing, Two truths and a lie.

Staircase or floor?

Idea: How about a floor that converts a portion of itself into a staircase? We could leverage the weight of the portion of the floor and the weight of the person using the floor/staircase to push the staircase down. A lot of multi-storied buildings have staircases in them which get used only in event of emergencies. With floor converting itself into a staircase, we could reuse the space for day-to-day activities. Of course, there will be work needed to optionally empty the space to be used by staircases in event of an emergency.

Reward: A rough estimate is that staircases occupy 10% of the building space. With this idea, we could add that 10% back for regular use of office-space.

Bonus: The use of the staircases can now be regulated, which could be very useful to manage the rush in event of an emergency.

Flying ringtone

Idea: A couple of days ago, I read an article about flying alarm clock. This clock would just make your life miserable in the morning if you're not willing to really wake up. You can find the original article here. This got me thinking, what if we could design our cellphones like this. As soon as you receive a call, you phone (or better yet your bluetooth headset) should come flying to you. As soon as you catch it, and click "stop flying" button, it can stop, and you start talking.

Reward: No need to carry cellphone or bluetooth headsets while at home.

Bonus: Your flying headset could make different shapes in air (or fly differently) depending on the caller.