Skip to content Skip to sidebar Skip to footer

Who Created Voicemail?

Discover the Inventor of Voicemail - The Man Who Changed the Way We Communicate

Who Created Voicemail?

The Invention of Voicemail

Voicemail is now a ubiquitous part of modern communication, but where did it come from? Let's take a look at the evolution of this technology, from its earliest days to its widespread adoption in the 1980s.

The Early Days of Voicemail

The concept of leaving recorded messages for someone who is unavailable actually dates back to the late 1800s, with the invention of the phonograph. But it wasn't until the 1970s that voicemail as we know it began to take shape. At the time, it was typically used in conjunction with answering machines, which allowed people to record messages when they were away from their phones.

In 1975, a company called Comverse Technology introduced a system that allowed voicemail messages to be stored and retrieved electronically. This was a major improvement over earlier analog systems, which used magnetic tape to record messages. However, this technology was still not yet a standalone product and was mainly used by large corporations.

Answering Machines and Voicemail

The first standalone voicemail system was created by Voice Message Exchange (VMX) in the mid-1970s. The company used computer technology to store and manage messages. This was a major breakthrough that made voicemail much more accessible to small businesses and individuals.

By the late 1970s, answering machines and voicemail had begun to merge. Companies like AT&T and Bell Labs started developing systems that allowed answering machines to record and store multiple messages. These early systems were still limited by the technology of the time, but they paved the way for more sophisticated systems in the years to come.

Voicemail Goes Mainstream

The 1980s saw the widespread adoption of digital voicemail. This technology allowed for more features and functionality than the earlier analog systems. Messages could be forwarded to other people, saved indefinitely, and accessed remotely. This made voicemail an essential part of modern communication.

One of the key players in the development of digital voicemail was Octel Communications, which was founded in 1982. The company created a range of voicemail systems that were used by businesses around the world. These systems could be customized to meet the specific needs of each company and were a major factor in the growth of the voicemail industry.

Today, voicemail has evolved even further. Many systems now offer features like transcription, which allows messages to be converted into text. This makes it easier for people to quickly scan and respond to their voicemail messages.

The Future of Voicemail

As technology continues to advance, it's likely that voicemail will continue to evolve as well. One area that is already seeing innovation is the use of artificial intelligence to improve the voicemail experience. Some systems now use AI to transcribe messages, prioritize important messages, and even suggest responses.

Another area of development is the integration of voicemail with other communication channels. For example, some systems allow voicemail messages to be sent as emails or text messages, making it easier for people to stay connected on the go. Other systems allow voicemail messages to be accessed through apps, putting the power of voicemail in the palm of your hand.

Overall, the history of voicemail is a story of innovation and evolution. What started as a simple way to leave messages has become a powerful tool that is essential to modern communication. And with new advancements on the horizon, it's clear that the future of voicemail is bright.

Was video recording invented earlier? (PILLAR link)

Who Invented Voicemail?

Voicemail has become an indispensable part of our daily communication, allowing us to leave messages for others when they are unavailable. The history of voicemail dates back to the mid-1970s when the first standalone voicemail system was invented.

Gordon Matthews

Gordon Matthews, a Scottish telecommunication engineer, is widely credited as the inventor of the first standalone voicemail system. He created it for his own personal use in the mid-1970s while working in a telecom company in Denmark. Matthews was frustrated with missing important calls and wanted a way to record messages when he was not available. His first voicemail system was created by using an answering machine, a control unit, and a cassette recorder. The system was designed to automatically answer and record messages when he was unavailable, and he could retrieve them later at his convenience.

Matthews' first standalone voicemail system was rudimentary and had many limitations. Voicemail was still a relatively new concept, and there were no standards or protocols for voicemail systems. However, his invention laid the foundation for modern voicemail systems, and he is widely regarded as a pioneer in the field.

Patent Controversy

While Gordon Matthews is often credited with the invention of voicemail, there is some controversy over who holds the patent for voicemail technology. In 1982, a company called Televoice held a patent for "Voice Message Exchange" technology, which described a system similar to Matthews' invention. Televoice claimed that Matthews' invention was an infringement on their patent and filed a lawsuit against Matthews.

The lawsuit was settled out of court, and Matthews was allowed to keep his voicemail patent as long as it did not operate in the United States. Televoice continued to hold its patent in the US and became one of the first companies to offer commercial voicemail services to businesses.

Contributions from Others

Matthews and Televoice played a significant role in the development of voicemail technology, but other individuals and companies made important contributions along the way. One of the key contributors was Octel Communications, a company that was founded in 1982 and became a major player in the voicemail market in the 1980s and 1990s. Octel's voicemail systems incorporated advanced features such as speech recognition and text-to-speech conversion, making them more user-friendly and efficient.

Another important contribution came from IBM, which developed the first computer-based voicemail system in the early 1980s. The IBM system used a central computer to store and manage voicemail messages, making it easier for businesses to manage their voicemail systems efficiently.

In conclusion, while Gordon Matthews is widely regarded as the inventor of voicemail, the development of voicemail technology was a collaborative effort involving many individuals and companies. Today, voicemail has become an integral part of modern communication, and we owe a debt of gratitude to all those who contributed to its development.

Find out who developed the first tractor in history

Who Invented Voicemail?

Voicemail has become an essential part of modern communication. The ability to leave messages for someone when they are unavailable is a convenient and efficient way of staying connected. But who came up with the idea of voicemail, and how did it evolve over time? In this article, we will explore the history of voicemail, from its humble beginnings to the advanced digital systems of today.

The Origins of Voicemail

The first system resembling voicemail was invented in the 1930s by a Danish inventor named Valdemar Poulsen. Poulsen created a machine that could record voice messages onto magnetic tape using a wax-coated paper ribbon. While his invention was ahead of its time, it was primarily used for military and government purposes and did not become widely available to the general public.

Fast forward to the 1970s, and a more user-friendly version of voicemail technology was introduced by a team of engineers at IBM. They created a system called "VMX" that allowed users to record and retrieve messages using a touch-tone telephone. This early version of voicemail was bulky and expensive, limiting its use to larger corporations and government agencies.

The Modern Era of Voicemail

By the 1980s, advances in digital technology had made voicemail more accessible to the public. Two companies, Octel and VMX, were at the forefront of voicemail innovation during this time. Octel introduced the first computer-based voicemail system, which allowed users to store messages on their computer hard drive, while VMX created the first voicemail system that could be accessed remotely.

The 1990s saw a surge in popularity for voicemail services, with companies like AT&T, Sprint, and Motorola entering the market. Additionally, the development of the internet paved the way for voicemail to become a digital service that could be accessed from anywhere in the world. These new online voicemail systems allowed users to access and manage their messages using an internet connection.

Voicemail Today

Voicemail in the Digital Age

Today, voicemail continues to be an important tool for communication. Digital voicemail systems offer even more features and functionality than earlier systems. Many voicemail services allow users to forward and reply to messages, set up personalized greetings, and organize messages by priority.

The Future of Voicemail

As technology continues to evolve, it's likely that voicemail will continue to change as well. Some experts predict that voicemail may eventually be replaced by newer communication technologies. However, given the enduring popularity of voicemail in both personal and business contexts, it's unlikely that it will disappear entirely anytime soon.

The Role of Voicemail in Business

Voicemail is still an essential part of business communication, allowing employees and customers to leave messages and receive important information. Digital voicemail systems, in particular, offer many benefits for businesses, such as the ability to customize greetings, route calls to specific departments or individuals, and receive email notifications when new messages are received.


In conclusion, while the idea of voicemail has been around for a long time, it wasn't until recent decades that it became an important part of modern communication. Voicemail technology has evolved significantly since its early days, and digital systems offer more features and functionality than ever before. While it's possible that newer communication technologies may eventually replace voicemail, it will likely continue to play an important role in our lives and businesses for the foreseeable future.

Learn about who actually invented keys

Related Video: Who Created Voicemail?

Post a Comment for "Who Created Voicemail?"