BigHand, the digital dictation workflow systems market leader, today announced what it believes to be the most advanced and complete set of mobile dictation capabilities yet available within the digital dictation market. The update is the 3rd iteration of BigHand Mobile and now offers the most comprehensive and flexible suite of smartphone features when set beside competing solutions. Jonathan Carter, BigHand's client solutions director, commented “This 3rd edition is the only offering within the market that truly extends the power and flexibility of an enterprise DDS workflow product onto the mobile platform.”

Features that have been added to the core BigHand Mobile functionality include:

•    BigHand Mobile (BlackBerry Edition) now includes live status updates on whether work is in-progress (and who with) and whether it has been completed. Multiple priority options and unlimited send options also extend full enterprise DDS workflow to the BlackBerry platform. In addition ‘one click recording’, recording when the SD card is fully encrypted, multi-language support including American English, British English, French and German, ability to deploy password from BES, improved default keys for reduced keyboards (eg BlackBerry Pearl), ‘Send All’ option, and full support for the BlackBerry Bold.

•    BigHand Mobile (Windows Mobile Edition) now includes the non-RIM specific enhancements above as well as an extended set of screen resolutions for a variety of Windows Mobile devices.

•    In addition to the previously announced unique support for .caf and .aiff format allowing dictations to be submitted from an iPhone, BigHand Mobile now offers full support for various .amr formats allowing dictations to be sent from any e-mail capable Smartphone such as Palm (eg Palm Treo 680 Smartphone) and Symbian devices (eg Nokia E71, Samsung D900). The update also includes enhanced processing of multiple attachments, logging if no attachment is included, and superior fail resilience.

•    The BigHand Web Client has now been updated with automatic selection of appropriate language setting with ability to override (American English, British English, French and German), VPN with AD authentication, and support for IE8.

•    Finally the new System Administration console now includes advanced mobile user mapping, licensing for and information about mobile users, as well as instant user/email association.

Comment: Although the market perception has always been that Bighand are great at marketing but only so-so at technology (a view probably stemming from the fact the original Bighand TotalSpeech 1 product back in the 1990s was primarily middleware based around Philips technology) the company has been steadily – but very quietly – upping the ante on its inhouse technology capabilities. For example, since the launch of Bighand 3.0 in early 2005, the company – under the guidance of software 'Chief Architect' Graham Wright – has been moving over to the concept of being an “agile development shop” that is able to add additional functionality to its software offerings (such as the latest mobility suite release) without having to keep rewriting the whole core product from scratch. And, since 3.1 was launched in 2007 (the latest iteration is 3.2.3) Bighand's DDS has been solidly based around the Microsoft .Net 3.5 platform.

Wright makes the point that if you get the core technology in place, you don't need to keep rewriting to evolve and cites the example Microsoft Word. This has never been rewritten from scratch yet the latest version (2007) retains very little of the code of earlier versions.

In otherwords, Bighand is firmly within the DDS 2.0 world – it just hadn't spelled it out in those terms before. And, talking about not broadcasting their achievements to the world, Bighand marketing director Dan Speed has also drawn this information to our attention… “The evolution of our BlackBerry Edition is a great example of how working with alliance partners and learning from them can boost internal knowledge in new areas of technology. Back in May 2007 we jointly released the first BlackBerry Dictation product in the legal sector in conjunction with PaperIQ. As leading BlackBerry operating system experts PaperIQ (now known as DevelopIQ) were instrumental in accelerating our internal knowledge of the BlackBerry platform, and we still have a great relationship with them. However that strategic relationship ended in Jan 2008 and complete with internal expertise we were at that point able to take the BlackBerry dictation component inhouse. Since we made that decision we have been delighted with how the second more advanced iteration has been received and we have seen the product installed across firms such as Lawrence Graham, as well as many many other sites both in the UK and internationally.”

Tune in later today for more digital dictation news.