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The death of voice mail is coming: MIT professor

06/05/2015 06:30 EDT | Updated 06/05/2016 05:59 EDT
Is it the beginning of the end for voice mail?

American bank JP Morgan has decided to get rid of voice mail for all employees who don't directly serve customers and it's not the only company to make the cut. A Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) professor thinks it's a sign the service's days are numbered.

Michael Schrage, with the MIT Sloan School's Centre for Digital Business, told Saskatoon Morning host Leisha Grebinski that many enterprises are re-evaluating voice mail.

He says that's because many people don't bother checking voice mail. Instead, they look to see who called, then return the call, or respond through a text message. Listening to a voice mail message is a "pain in the rump," he said.

"Voice mail is sort of like a dodo bird or a dinosaur. It fit an ecological niche at one time, but now it's rapidly on the verge of extinction, and I'm afraid in economic terms, rightfully so," Schrage said.

Getting rid of voice mail isn't just about the costs of the service itself, but also about the value of people's time.

"The overwhelming majority of people, particularly under the age of 35, have really come to recognize voice mail is not worth their time," he said.

For most people, it's more convenient to email or text someone to leave them a message, he said.

Get used to it: Schrage

Schrage said those who are less technologically inclined and tend to resist changes like this one, will not be as efficient or effective.

"That's sort of like you telling me in 1995 that you'd rather use a typewriter than a personal computer, and that you want your organization to support your typewriter and replace your ribbons, rather than your laptop or your desktop," he told Grebinski.

Like the typewriter, voice mail isn't the most efficient tool anymore. Schrage believes the service's days are numbered and soon, organizations won't support technologies that are a waste of time and money.

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