The Hypervoice Manifesto: “Better than being there”
Steve Jobs famously said that a computer is a “bicycle for the mind”; its crankshaft amplifies our intelligent gestures. Modern voice conversations are, by default, initiated and received on such computing devices. However, these communications remain shackled to the legacy patterns and constraints of telephony; the bicycle is old and broken.
Users deserve something better. Much better.
In the future, voice conversations must not only carry our voices over a distance. They must also be capable of amplifying all our related thoughts, actions and intentions over both space and time.
We believe there are universal capabilities that all future voice services must include in some form.
We call these collective capabilities Hypervoice.
The human voice is our most personal and precious form of communication. In return for the honour of carrying it, we believe Hypervoice communication systems should offer these features:
- Why am I being asked to talk? Every voice conversation has an application context from which it is being initiated. In return for a claim on their time and attention, users deserve to have that context presented to them. It could be a subject line, a proposed agenda, an application name, a location, a trouble ticket, a message you are responding to, or a myriad other data. Caller ID is no longer sufficient to convey rich context.
- What is going on? Every voice conversation system should be able to capture all related digital actions and interactions, and link them into a single activity stream. All the notes I take, the customer records I open or the pictures I share are part of one integrated conversation. Call logs are insufficient as a record of a conversation taking place.
- What did we say? Every voice conversation should be recordable by the parties involved, subject to their consent, and the ethical demands of reciprocity, responsibility and respect. If one party has a copy of the call, then all parties should have access to it. That archived recording should be in the highest quality of audio, not subject to the constraints of real-time media delivery. Today’s call recording systems fail to meet these standards.
- So what and what next? Where there has been a transactional moment in a conversation – an agreement to act, an exchange of private data or money, a structured output of some kind – that should be retained and recorded against the call. The parties involved are entitled to a non-repudiable record of what was offered or accepted. Today’s voice systems mistake the end of the call for the end of the conversation, and forget that these are part of a wider relationship.
- Who did what and when? The complete activity stream, any voice recordings and transcripts, and any agreed actions should all be searchable, subject to privacy and permission rules. Voice communications should not be forced into a memory hole simply because long-gone technical limitations forced that upon us.
By adopting these changes, voice communications can transcend the limitations of telephony. Historically, the highest aspiration of voice communications was to recreate the sense of “being there”. With Hypervoice communications, we can pedal past this limit by using computers to amplify all our efforts. As a result, voice communication becomes “better than being there”.
Join us on this journey to a Hypervoice future.
Help your customers by adopting Hypervoice concepts in your products.
Help us by sharing this Hypervoice Manifesto with your colleagues.
Help our industry by participating in the Hypervoice Consortium.
Together we can steer past merely "being there" and accelerate to the real future of voice.