Skip to content
Subscriber Only

This `Secretary' Really Listens

You answer the phone, and a friendly voice tells you that a colleague is on the line. She asks if you want to take the call. Once, it would have been the assistant sitting outside your office. But that job disappeared in the last downsizing, and besides, you're on a cellular phone in a rented car, 500 miles from work.

This is no futuristic fantasy, but a product that's been on the market since December. Wildfire, from Wildfire Communications Inc. (800 945-3347), is an innovative combination of computer, voice-recognition, and telephone technologies that gives you a sort of virtual secretary--wherever you happen to be. Like a real assistant, Wildfire responds to spoken requests. She (after a few weeks of "conversing" with the female voice that is Wildfire, I find it hard not to call the system "she") is tireless. She places calls for you, directs incoming calls to the number of your choice, and puts through calls you've designated as important, while taking messages for other calls.