Say what? It’s voice and it’s here to stay – Open Voice Network

Jun 3, 2020Blog

As of 15th May, the Open Voice Network is official. I am proud to be one of their ambassadors and I am thrilled to talk about what the benefits are of voice as a technology. Not to mention what this network has set up: a network of five (overlapping) communities. Recently, over 5 dozen voice-innovators (developers, designers, individuals and entities) have come together in these communities.

They aim to bring the voices of ‘conversational AI’ developers and practitioners – the people who think of and make this tech – into discussions about professional standards and ethical use. Besides that, they are making their expertise available to other businesses to help standardise workstreams in this field. The communities are voice developers, designers and strategists, Europe practitioners and influencers, ethical use and those working for the Health & Life Sciences industry. 

Which is why I am so excited to become an ambassador of this network. Through my many international contacts in the world of onlife retail, I am always interested to hear about the latest developments. Voice is surely one of the most important. 

As we move forward, slowly, tentatively, through this trying time of the havoc which Covid-19 has brought, voice is emerging as a key ingredient for our future after this pandemic. To be sure, there is no such thing as a silver lining in a pandemic. Still, I was excited to learn that there is some anecdotal evidence that more people have been using voice assistants, during this shelter-in-place time.   

Being at home all the time means using up household products much faster. You notice the soap has run out and nothing could be easier to ask your voice assistant – be that Alexa for the Amazon-Whole Foods platform, or the AliGenie for Alibaba-AliPay – to order a refill. Because it’s hands-free, there is basically no obstacle, you just use your voice. 

Now, this hands-free aspect makes voice uniquely suited to a post-Covid world. There is no device to wipe clean, no card to swipe through a machine, no Perspex screen between you and the shop assistant instore. For health reasons, or financial, or both, we expect to see more people embracing a remote lifestyle, e.g. continuing to work from home, colleges offering online classes as a standard. 

Many countries are gradually relaxing the rules about being at home, after some two to three months, for most people. Wouldn’t you know it, that length of time is roughly how long it takes for someone to adopt a new habit. Even though the reason why we have been adopting new habits recently has been tragic to many, as we move forward, it would be foolish to stop doing those new things that actually work. Voice is one of the ways where technology makes our lives so much easier. It can often save us money, and always saves time. In the end that may be the biggest lesson we’ve learnt in this pandemic: the time with our loved ones is finite and precious. If voice technology gives us more of that time, I say let’s use it! 

Check out Open Voice Network’s website here for more information about the network and its members: https://openvoicenetwork.org

 

 

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