Features – visit this for complete feature set – ribbit has whole set of APIs like you can create a flash application which can accept or make calls. The calls can be to actual phones or your flash application to which Ribbit assigns a number which uses your computer microphone and speaker to act as fully functional phone. Most interesting part is that depending on who is calling and other parameters like time, or any other condition you can think of in your code you can execute a programatic event. Of course it could be limited by what can be done from Flash.So things like remote controlling the content playing in class from my mobile phone could be possible. Or switch off my fridge connected to flash device by making a phone call should be possible. You can create applications that can send text messages to either your ribbit phone or any number in US. Other features are transcription services that is you can convert your voice messages to text.
Is it all free – no. But if you have developer account you can do many of the things for free. Developer account are given access to dial anywhere in US for free. I tried my hands on building a quick application using this to call someone in US and save my bills but in my first attempt could not do it. Will give it a try later on again in few days. From discussions in forums here are the limits for a developer account- 10 calls per day (US Only) – 10 minutes per call – 10 text SMS messages per day (US Only) – 10 sub-accounts – 0 voicemail transcriptions (unless requested). But going through the forums looks like even if you exceed this limit for the time being they are fine.
There are two stages of trying out ribbit – when you are building the application is when it is considered developer account and when the application goes live. The pricing comes into picture after application goes live.
Scenarios – first thought here are the scenarios I can think of for eLearning. There are nothing which cannot be done by some of the existing methods except that it brings so much fun to the learning.
- I create a eLearning course. The course has a “give me more ideas” button which is actually a ribbit appliation. Distribute it to my groups from whom I want more feedback. There could be 2 stages of my course completion – I have created a draft version and I have lot of time on my hand. In that mode if someone clicks “give me more ideas” then he would be routed to voice mail where he can leave his voice message. The transcription would come into action by converting the message to speech and sending me report at the end of day which I can incorporate into my course. Next stage is when I need the comments urgently in which case it would be a direct call to my mobile. At this stage I can incorporate their comments quickly.
- Similar situation could be I create a course and I put “answer this question” button which would accept calls from only a fixed set of numbers. This could be achieved by programatically analysing the caller ID which would be maintained in a database. Further on they could be given password to speak. If it matches then the voice is sent for transcription and I can test and rate their answers. Otherwise call is not accepted. And my application can be programed to analyse the responses also and send SMS to the course takers about whether they passed or failed. This could be very relevant scenario for mobile learning.
- Or the simplest of them is make a call or send text message to my friend using the eLearning course and have fun.
With some free talk and text time for developer accounts I would go and try out some of the features. And use Adobe Captivate 4 widget framework to create some working widgets.