Market musings

Reinventing Voice in the Digital Age

by Sasha Viasasha
March 8, 2018

Have you ever had a thought so inspiring that you had to jump up and pace around as you discussed it? Motion and thought are tightly bound up in each other, and voice is the most direct channel for their expression. Digital transformation across business phone systems is helping workers to solve more issues faster by unlocking the power of mobility and the human voice.

Humans and machines work together

Although experts often disagree, particularly when it comes to digital trends, on one subject there is nearly universal consensus: As digital transformation gains traction across every industry and vertical, human intelligence is becoming even more important. Ultimately, the technology and tools unleashed by the next wave of digital disruption are meant to support and empower human intelligence and creativity, removing the barriers that stifle human innovation. This is why collaboration is becoming even more important. It is fair to say that no impactful idea can ever gain traction without the work of a team of people behind it—in addition to the support of machine intelligence.

Social intelligence drives innovation

Social intelligence is at the heart of innovation, and this intelligence is driven by conversations. And yet, many of our most valuable conversations are lost in the flow as our busy lives cover them over before we can fully capture, explore, and implement our most valuable ideas. This is why written speech has been so valuable to the human race. But while it may be ideal for capturing the thoughts of a solitary thinker, it’s less effective for unlocking the social intelligence of a spoken conversation. When we correspond with one another through text, email or some other textual medium, we tend to censor ourselves.

The speed of thought

Spoken conversation flows quickly and has backchannel and feedback built in, adding another dimension to its complexity. Some of the world’s greatest ideas were developed in the open, free-form medium of a simple conversation. Researchers have even identified a fascinating phenomenon: when two people sit down to talk, even in the absence of visual cues, their brains actually synch up. Conversation allows people to actually get into the mind of their partner, and collaborate on a neurological level!

Essentially, a vast amount of data flows when we speak, including subtle social signals in tone, emphasis and, in face-to-face conversations, visual cues. Capturing and following up on pertinent details can be a challenge, though, especially when you’re not sitting at a desk taking notes. And yet, some of the best conversations and ideas happen outside of the confines of an office or formal setting. Walking and talking can be a great way to energize the brain—or maybe conversations energize our body, and that’s why we get up and walk around when we are excited or pumped about an idea.

Saving and sharing voice data

Conversations generate many unique ideas and concepts, but they happen extemporaneously, and later may prove elusive to recall. How many times have you had an awesome conversation, full of “aha” moments and productive exchanges, only to find a few hours later that the details have slipped from your mind—and how can they not when you’re continually bombarded by notifications, texts and other interruptions? You may remember the gist of it, but the exact phrasing or a key idea has slipped away, or you’ve forgotten a name or date and have to send a message or email to track it down.  

Tapping front line insights

And then there is the situation of a front-line employee who may not key in on strategically significant details in a conversation with a customer or lead. There are lots of ways valuable, actionable data is being lost because we haven’t fully digitized the voice experience on mobile and integrated it fully into our digital infrastructure.  This untapped body of information has a huge potential for enhancing productivity, boosting innovation and improving the customer experience to many degrees.   

A digital voice experience

In fact, voice conversations represent the world’s largest cache of unstructured data, truly the dark social of our networked world. The next wave of emerging technology is advancing our ability to gain actionable insights from our conversations and to easily save, transcribe and share bite-sized bits. The ability to save snippets of a conversation, search for keywords, and to share voice-to-text translations with a few swipes or taps will help conversations become more productive and impactful and eliminate the cognitive load of having to remember and manually document important information, especially on the go.

Advances in NLP bring better translation

Until the advent of a brain/computer interface, spoken word to transcription is the best way to capture human thought in all its complexity. NLP has made great leaps forward, while at the same time a personalized AI is stepping up to assist users in managing, storing and making sense of the vast amounts of information that we filter through daily. A personalized AI can learn a single user’s speech fingerprint, and more reliably translate and transcribe their spoken words.

As digital and voice converge, a new user experience is emerging. Smarter, more agile technology is delivering better call quality, advanced analytics and serving up new, mobile-first features.

Spoke Phone is a global phone system with DDI’s in 56 countries, AI auto-attendant, and smart geo routing. To learn more about Spoke, including how our AI is powering the next generation voice UX, sign up for an interactive demo and see how to transform your mobile phone or business phone line into a smart office phone system. 

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