Voice logging data recovery...

The necessity for the commercial logging of voice communications from telephone lines dates back to the early 1950's although there is evidence of patents for telephone answering and recording devices as early as 1903. The original commercial voice logging devices utilized analog magnetic tape as the recording media. The spools of 1/4” reel to reel tape were 10 1/2” in diameter and mounted on very large stable tape decks.

It is believed the earliest use for these cumbersome devices was used by both military and commercial logging of voice data for air traffic control. Although Magnasync Corporation were one of the early commercial manufactures of these devices the British company Racal became a market leader in voice logging. Racal Recorders designed and manufactured the voice logging systems and Racal Zonal the magnetic tape. Again these early magnetic tape voice logging systems utilized 1/4” magnetic tape on reel to reel spools. Both 1/2” and 1” tape was also used. These wider tapes allowed up to 64 simultaneous tracks of voice to be logged using analog recording techniques.

Up until this time most voice logging was undertaken utilizing analog recording with all its inherent limitations. As the world was changing to digital so also was the voice logging market. The early commercially digital logging devices used hard disk drives and were developed and manufactured by Philips in Eindhoven, Holland with Racal offering a digital recorder a few months later.

Successful attempts were made to record on VHS video tape with 32 voice channels with up to 25 hours logging per tape. This allowed a single tape for each 24 hour day of monitoring. The versatility and reliability of WORM (write once read many) optical disks were also becoming a reliable method of voice logging however the early WORM optical disks have now been superseded by DVD RAM optical disks.

Racal whom spawned Vodaphone in the early 1970's which was spun off as a separate company was acquired by Thompson-CFS and was renamed Thales. Wordnet voice logger was offered to the market in the mid 1990's and was released in 2000 as Wordnet 2 with 128 voice channels utilizing DDS3 tape.

Just as Wordnet 3 was released in 2002 Thales sold its voice logging division to NICE. Wordnet 3 utilizes Exabyte 8mm tapes or DVD RAM optical disks. This product was marketed under both the Thales name as well as NICE.

With the continued increase in capacity, reliability and miniaturization of hard disk drives it is no wonder these devices have now become the current method of storing digitized voice data. As a result data recovery is becoming much more prolific.

For many reasons large libraries of many types and formats of magnetic tape have been archived. These tapes once acclimatized can be interrogated if the legacy hardware exists to read them. Unfortunately it is often the case that the tape readers have passed their sell by date and have been junked. Also legacy tape may fail if not stored in suitable conditions making recovering the data they contain impossible. All is not lost as Data Recovery Specialists whom have over 40 years experience of magnetic tape recording, have developed tools to repair and read these legacy tapes and have successfully undertaken many data recovery jobs.