The future of voice is content

The future of voice is content

Daniel Doulton, co-founder
Daniel Doulton, co-founder and chief strategy officer SpinVox

The way in which we communicate has changed dramatically over a relatively short period of time. With the advent of email and mobile phones, we are now able to communicate with anybody, anywhere and at any time – marking a significant milestone for the telecoms industry. But that’s not the end of the story. Communications are set to change yet again.

Texting has proven so popular that it is now many people’s primary form of communication. This is part of a trend also driven by email that has instilled a habit of typing rather than speaking messages, but another reason might be frustration with voice mail, which fails to guarantee delivery of a message and is increasingly regarded as cumbersome to use. I believe it’s a combination of both but also the fact that by using written words, we have the advantage of being able to search, sort and manage the information we send and receive. To put it another way, amidst the information explosion, the ability to transmit and manage content effectively is king.

Back in the late 70s we witnessed the creation of voice mail, a stroke of genius that allowed carriers to improve call completion rates and ultimately boost their revenue. The problem with voice mail is that while the rest of the industry has evolved, voicemail has remained the same. People can no longer be bothered to dial into their voice mail, listen to messages, rummage around

for a pen and jot down any important information contained within it. Instead, many simply ignore their voice mails, with the opinion that ‘if it’s that important they will send a text or call back’. For carriers this is a serious problem as call completion figures continue to decline, impacting revenue.

By converting voice into text, companies such as SpinVox have helped carriers to drastically increase their call completion rates, as ‘slamdown’ is reversed, missed messages are captured and the amount of returned messages increases but the benefits go further than that. In a competitive marketplace and a ‘switch’ culture among deal-savvy consumers, addedvalue services such as SpinVox improve customer retention because users don’t want to give up something that they have found so useful.

Services such as our own VoxLinks gives both customers and non-customers the opportunity to speak a text to one another. By opening the service to non-customers, we are creating a viral effect which will revolutionise the way in which people communicate.


Voice to Content

Converting voice into text creates a meaningful piece of content. For customers, this means added value, but for carriers and resellers, the commercial opportunity’s benefits are endless. In the very near future, for instance, mobile users will be able to find out more about specific information within their SMS message (e.g. location, names, times) simply by clicking on the subject to be seamlessly taken to a relevant website without the need to switch to a web browser, type in keywords, then browse through the results.

For example, if someone leaves a message to say that they are having a party on Saturday night giving you their address and asking you to bring drinks, SpinVox could potentially SmartLink you to the nearest off-licence and to a map of their location. For advertisers and ultimately the carrier, this is big business and the next stage of the evolution of voice.

The potential value of voice-to-content conversion is by no means exclusive to the advertising industry; however there is a real opportunity for savvy advertisers to deepen their audience engagement through personalised content whilst enriching the consumer’s brand experience. The voice-tocontent conversation technology already exists and is being used by carriers on five continents around the world, so it is now only a matter of time before intelligent SmartLinks become commonplace amongst mobile consumers.

To get the most out of the Internet we are going full circle and back to the days when speaking was the primary form of communication. This time round however, in restoring the primacy of voice we will be able to capture those words, not just ensuring that they don’t become lost in the digital void but using voice to drive a deeper and more productive relationship between the Internet and the consumer.

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