An E-Book Idea
Another cool idea that is probably already being developed by someone else for release in the next 6 months.
But just in case it isn’t…
What do you get when you cross an eBook, voice recognition software, a business form template program, and a GPS touch screen?
You get a wonderful way for doctors, dentists, policemen, and contractors to quickly and easily fill out forms and reports and bids and lots of stuff. You get a true beginning to a paperless society. One where forms are easier to fill out electronically than manually.
Consider: What if an eBook could have a report/form with blank areas that filled in via the voice recognition software. Further, a touch screen area could display QWERTY keys for corrections, navigation icons for cursor placement, report selection, etc. Further, it would be very cool if the voice file could be saved for later corrections by staff, or, archived for reference. Police could even use it for interviews and evidence.
Why an ebook and not a tablet PC or a Netbook?
Forms and reports don’t need color screens and computing power; e ink draws less power (longer battery life); ditto that for flash hard drives; and with less hardware it would hopefully price out in the $200 range (if you want to sell 40 million units in the first year)(or $500 if you want to use current business plans for new product introduction).
As I contemplate the logistics of this idea, it seems to me that most every technology needed is already mature enough to be appropriated for production except for the voice recognition part. While speech to text has come a long way (indeed OCR has too), there is still the problem of individual variations in pronunciation, dictation speed, and ambient noise if the microphone is too far away. I suggest the following workarounds:
• Drop down menu’s that offer standard multiple choice insertions. Pop-up QWERTY keyboard for those that don’t.
• Voice “template responses” embedded in the business form software similar to those used in “customer service” voice software used by utility companies in their telephone service centers.
• SD Card slot for a person’s voice profile to be inserted. This allows someone to use different eBooks without training each one. This idea is my favorite. PS - If we really got snazzy, we could imbed it on the magnetic strip of a credit card and instead of entering a PIN at the ATM, we’d just speak our password.
• Make the eBook Bluetooth compatible and speak your insertions via your cell phone or ear dongle (these already have filters for ambient noise)(and take one step closer to becoming part of the Borg Collective).
• I suppose one could have a “drawing pad” either as part of the eBook or as an accessory. Then one could hand write the information and the OCR program would enter it on the form. But if it came to that, I would probably return to paper forms and scan them in.
• Remember, though, if you can save the voice file, everything can be checked later by a transcription checker. I’m a big fan of redundancy, especially electronic redundancy.
• Oh, if I’m doling out a few more useful features, make the eBook so it could download additional forms/reports and upload completed documents. Do a school version for tests, reading assignments, and homework! A travel version with maps and POI descriptions. (“You don’t need no stinkin’ GPS.” You just need a phonebook that can bring up maps.)(Paid advertising could make this eBook free. Did you hear that Mr. Yellowpages?) A bi-lingual version which will hear in one language and enter in both languages.
And, for my finale… have eBooks that are available in either just text format OR text format and oral reading by the original author. There’s something about a text read by the one who wrote it. I can’t tell you how many people who know me tell me that they can hear my voice when they read my words. Well, to be sure, when I read what I wrote, my intonations communicate additional meaning. (And in case you missed it, it’s also a good feature for the vision-impaired AND would make filling out forms finally possible.)
Those of you familiar with copyright and patent law are familiar with the significance of “independent development” and idea inception dates. Don’t worry. I’m too old to care if someone else uses one of my ideas. Truth be known, I’d rather make nothing and see a good idea be taken to market than wait for someone to pay me a million for a killer idea (which never happens). BUT, because a savvy businessman will want exclusive rights to an idea before he/she sinks millions into development and marketing, I am holding this idea hostage rather than allowing it “free usage” rights like my eBay idea (which also happens to be a killer idea). Don’t worry. I can be bought off cheap. Instead, what you will need to impress me is true ability to ramp up production should it take off as expected and brand-name recognition for efficient market introduction and distribution.
It’s a pity that you don’t know how I have saved and certified the date of this idea. I’d contact me if I were you just to be safe.