Kelly Fitzsimmons

Viva la Voice! Hypervoice, hot wording & killer apps on the rise

What do StubHub, Uber and The RealReal have in common?  Besides the fact that they provide services we cannot stop raving about, they neatly illustrate how high the bar has been set for new user adoption.  

We don’t tend to pick up something new because it’s a “nice to have” or even a “must have” app or service.  Today, a new tool must fundamentally reinvent an experience in a profound, meaningful and whip simple way. Our tolerance for any conceivable inconvenience – such as a learning curve – seems to be at an all time low.  

With that in mind, where does Hypervoice fit along the adoption life cycle? 

We all know that emergent paradigms and market shifts take time. But unless you are one of the early pioneers (complete with arrows in your back), you may not realize that the advent of Hypervoice is a 14-year-long journey.  

Until very recently, the conditions for voice as a native Web object have been, well, unfavorable.  Economic, regulatory and behavioral barriers have resulted in a steady stream of casualties.  One particularly painful source of delay was the Great Recession when funding for voice innovation evaporated, and VC focus shifted almost exclusively to digital – primarily mobile and social media.  

Given the bumpy past, an outsider may have a hard time fathoming the recent outpouring of optimism for Hypervoice.  However, as I’m riding a high of two Hypervoice events last week, I am more confident than ever of its impending mass adoption.  

Thanks to Siri, the connected car and most recently – conversational search and hot wording from Google – voice as an interface is approaching a behavioral tipping point.  The phone as a typewriter is quickly being seen as an outdated, outmoded model.  This critical behavioral micro-step – of talking to your phone or computer instead of through it – is required for Hypervoice to take hold. 

Simply put, we need to be willing to talk to our devices.  And we have never been closer.  

Then again, old habits die hard.

What is clear is that the juggernaut of WebRTC is blazing the path for a plethora of new voice applications to emerge.  Similarly, Big Data has both startups and enterprise searching for the killer app.  Thankfully, you don’t have to be a data scientist to recognize that voice is a far more information-rich media type than text.  "Big Voice Data" will be a hot trend in short order. 

When viewed through the prism of these two zeitgeists, it is easy to see why the voice innovation community is optimistic. Voice is getting downright sexy.