Social-Enabling Voice Conversations

Daniel Berninger has a guest post on Jeff Pulver's Blog titled "The HD Connect Manifesto". 

In the post, Daniel highlights how text-based communications dominate voice-based communications and points out that the voice-based user experience in 2009 is essentially the same as it was in 1959:

"The growing adoption of text in the form of email, texting, and microblogging as the dominate mode of communication represents a remarkable development. It avenges the long ago defeat of the telegraph by the telephone. The underlying cause of declining interest voice communication represents a familar story. There exists no difference between the end user experience of a telephone call in 1959 and 2009. The wireless industry made telephone calls mobile. The VoIP industry made telephone calls cheap. Yet, every penny of voice revenue requires the sale of a 1950 quality telephone call."

I like Berninger's push to drive change in the user experience of voice based communications.  Importantly, Daniel is advocating that the combination High Definition (HD) audio quality, click-to-connect and unmetered global termination or collectively – HD Connect – as a foundation for a resurgent voice industry.

While improving voice quality and connectivity serves as a strong foundation, I also believe significant new value and growth can be found in over-hauling the user experience and unlocking new value found within voice-based conversations (not just connecting). 

Enabling users to store, thread and share conversations with relevance and context creates new value for users and new growth for the industry.  

Users want the ability to store voice-based conversations and manage them through tagging and indexing just as we do today with text-based communications.  Visual voicemail is an early proofpoint of this.  Once stored, users want the ability to see these conversations in the context of the real-time flow of personal and work activities and thread them (link them) appropriately.   In addition, users want to share important and relevant conversations with friends, co-workers and colleagues.   

While it is easy to subscribe to a person's blog, follow someone on Friendfeed or send a tweet to your followers on Twitter, the associated social graph is extended with many links that are weak and many nodes that may be irrelevant (to you or the conversation). 

The people we call and engage in voice-based conversations, in our personal and work lives, represent our active – and in many cases our most relevant – social graph.

To build a resurgent voice industry, consumers and business users need a new user experience that helps them unlock the value of their active, relevant social graph by social-enabling their voice conversations.  


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