Voice Messaging – The Next Wave Of Digital Communication

Voice Messaging – The Next Wave Of Digital Communication

Push-To-Talk was once one of the hottest phone features during the early cell phone years. As smartphones began to overtake flip phones, the walkie-talki functionality soon disappeared. With the feature and app rich smartphones, texting and social messing applications were the new way to communicate, and with it, the idea of voice based messaging seemed dead.


However, PTT has been reborn as “voice messaging” and it has become a popular “new” concept again. As consumers experiment with the best channel to reach someone from calls, texts, WhatsApp, etc…voice messaging is again becoming useful. (There really was a time when using voice to communicate did not seem like a novel idea.) 


“Consumers experiment with the various messaging options, because we have different types of urgent and non-urgent thoughts we want to express.,” says Andrew Ruppar, co-founder of OrbMi, a new voice based messaging platform with an application specific hardware device called The Orb, “There is also experimentation because we guess at the best channel for the recipient based on what they might be doing the moment we hit the “send” button.”


When thinking about convenience for the sender, we recognize how easy it is to send voice when driving or when you want to say something more easily then texting it out.  Also, sometimes our voice can more effectively convey the sentiment of our message.  Sending an “LOL” is not quite the same as letting someone hear the joy in our voice, and while a “<3″ is better then total silence, people would still prefer to hear their loved ones say “I love you.”  Both expressions of love are nice to get, but the voice experience has more power to make the receiver smile and feel the meaning behind those words or characters, even if you choose a nice font.


Simple voice messaging apps like Taptalk, Cord, Viber, have seen extremely high engagement from their users. According to a recent article on The Verge, Viber, which has over 100 million users, says they have more voice messages currently being sent than photos.  What is significant in the new user data for these messaging applications is that voice messaging is showing itself to be a form of communication that users value, even when sitting next to other communication options on the same app.  As long as voice messaging van remain as convenient to send as it is to receive, the trend in voice communication will continue.


Now, if you can’t think of a tech idea as being “trendy” without Apple being a big part of it, then feel free to consider voice messaging as the next in-thing my friend. iOS 8′s messaging app includes a single tap function for sending a quick voice message.


The Apple Watch, has its own “walkie-talkie” mode as a key feature…if not “the” feature, based on how much Apple’s own marketing team gives it attention on their materials for the device. There are also functions for recording voice notes and messaging with voice. While the watch might tend to cut our already short text messages down to a simple “Yo!” because of its screen size, it has taken what has been so great about the PPT crazy in the yearly years which was that it was fast and easy and a clear way to express your thoughts, and they combined it with the best parts about texting, which was that its asynchronous and lightweight.


We are learning to become comfortable with our own voices again. Voice is becoming a bigger part of our operating systems and applications, just look at Apple’s promotion of Siri for an example. Large companies and their services like Amazon Fire TV and Xbox One and even your cable channel are marketing themselves on voice search features. 


If you look at user data, voice commands are getting very popular, at least when we are on our own, such as searching for a TV show in our living room or while looking for directions on the road.  New technologies are being released which are trying to take advantage in this growth in how we send our voice, but so far there are very few new technologies, either hardware or software, that are coming out which also focus on making voice more convenient to receive.  Just like when we send our voice, there are times when we are alone in our homes or offices and may welcome in-bound voice prompts or messages from our closest contacts.  If both sides of the voice puzzle get addressed, we should see even more dramatic gains in voice’s resurgent popularity.


Any hipsters with their flip phones or answering machines better enjoy them while they can, because voice messaging is becoming mainstream again. Voicemail has been dropping for years, and some tried to famously call voicemail “dead”. It’s true it has been vilified…but the issue with voice messaging is not because we don’t love voice, but because we need ways to make voice convenient, not only quick and easy for the sender, but we need to find ways to make it convenient to receive as well.


Stepping out to take a call or holding your watch up to your ear might not be the best option for receiving voice, but there are some exciting new applications, including one with a very simple and unique hardware solution for voice messaging called OrbMi, which are about to make waves.


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