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SmartVoice Conference Keynoter: Next Decade Will Move Us to Hypervoice

January 28, 2014

The voice space has been somewhat “depressed” during the past decade, but the next 10 years will hold new and very exciting things for voice.

That’s the word from Martin Geddes, who gave the opening address at today’s SmartVoice Conference, which is collocated with ITEXPO at the Miami Beach Convention Center. (It’s not too late to join us here at the Miami Beach Convention Center in room B211. The SmartVoice program runs through 5 p.m.)

Geddes, co-founder and executive director of the Hypervoice Consortium, said voice is evolving from telephony, to smart voice, to hypervoice.

The idea of telephony is for people to replace travel, and this view of the world is the same whether you’re talking about plain old telephone service or newer solutions like Skype and unified communications, Geddes said. But that view of voice is very limiting, he added.

But some companies are now delivering solutions that break out of that box, he said, offering up VoiceBase as an example. VoiceBase is a company that transcribes and indexes enterprise communications so people can more easily leverage the information in calls at a later date.

“What we’re starting to recognize is that every conversation doesn’t just have to be ephemeral value at this moment in time, it has persistent value,” he said.

Geddes went on to say that workflow integration of voice is vital.

Here, he offered another example. Evernote now stores automatically spoken information, he said.

Personalization of the voice experience is also now happening, he added. For example, companies like Tropo are building what are effectively app stores for voice. This allows personalization in voice; for example, you might have best the customers in your Salesforce database to go into the largest hunt groups so calls from them always get answered. Likewise, your worst customers can always be sent to voicemail.

So there’s a shift in thinking from voice as two-way audio to voice as information (both within the voice itself and well as externally), he said.

He offered as an example HarQen, which he said was early to this space with an enhanced conference calling solution called Symposia. The solution has an interface that allows users to listen to a conference call and also take notes during the call, and those notes index the conversation, and that creates metadata.

Where all this is going to toward something that Geddes refers to as hypervoice. That involves that calls have an activity stream (meaning you can move between voice and text conversations, and you can still capture what people said), and are recorded, transcribed, sharable, searchable, web integrated, have workflow integration, and rich visual controls.

Hypervoice, Geddes added, is “a new hyperlinking paradigm,” and technologies like Amazon’s storage solutions and WebRTC will help move all this forward, as will the  Hypervoice Consortium, whose members include Ericsson, Geddes, HarQen, InterDigital, Telefonica, and Tropo.

A decade from now, Geddes said, an increasing number of devices in our homes will be able respond to ours voices; voice conversations will become increasingly different from telephone calls – meaning more dynamic; we will rely less on scheduled conference calls because communications will be more dynamic; and Siri-like digital assistants will become embedded into our calls, so they can chime in with reminders when certain words or conversations warrant them to do so.

Edited by Cassandra Tucker