The role of the OrbMi network is not to specifically reduce your notifications or alerts, it’s to provide an alternate way to communicate through voice when you can’t have a call and it’s aimed at your closest contacts, not your full network. It’s a reaction to the fact that we have already changed our communication behavior as a result of our messaging options. Many of us have no landline and only have mobile communication. Many of us have turned off or just ignore our phone’s voicemail. This changes how people send/receive messages.
There are tons of messaging apps which work great for specific contacts or for specific times and reasons, but most are for text expression. Some voice apps like Cord are specifically limited to only send a few seconds of voice (not that different from a text expression) or become limited in practice because it goes to a mobile device through most voice apps. Again, there are times and contacts where 5 second voice sends are valid….but our take is we all have someone in our life where longer voice shares are beneficial but different timezones, schedules, etc can make a 2 way call difficult at certain times…instead of communicating nothing or downgrading our expression, we wanted to facilitate a new option which is missing from our current communication quiver.
OrbMi is not a result of having no way to manage notifications or send voice. We have those. It’s a result of the fact that despite all of these options, we don’t express ourselves through voice as often as we could with our most intimate contacts.
Anyone can use the app. The hardware is used to facilitate this communication channel for playback by being location specific. Since the phone is no longer used as the hardware for more freely sending voice shares, we introduced the Orb. There are app/hardware combos for telling you if you slept the night before or if you are active or if you are sitting up straight. We have devices which help us take a better selfie. These are great and can help some people with specific needs.
But what about an app/hardware approach which isn’t about ourselves, but is about our important relationships?
We are just small time makers trying to provide a new device option. Through the crowdfunding campaign we can afford to tool and run an initial small batch of the device (which also serves as a dual USB charging hub). If we can produce at scale our goal would be to get the device cost down closer to $50 which is less than many of us spend on a phone case or additional charging cords, and would be at a price point you could gift to your parents or your child or your significant other or share them with the family, so you can form your own personal private voice network.
Everyone tends to hate voicemail, but we don’t hate the voice of our closest friends and family or the things they might share or our ability to share our voice with them. But, our voice hardware, aka the phone, is increasingly used less to facilitate real voice communication. People write about hating voice, removing the voice mail option from their phones or making their message “I don’t check this text me.” Voice over a few seconds is often not welcome on our devices, although its easy to send from them. We have already changed our relationship with voice on our mobile device….is this a reversible trend?
Again, our take is when you can see a loved one, see them. When you can call a loved one, call them. But, when you have something to share which is more than 2 lines or 6 seconds, and you can’t time a 2-way call and you don’t need them to urgently respond, this channel of location specific messaging may give us a way to more freely express and remain open to voice shares from our closest friends and family…the people we should be communicating with better, but because we only have our mobile device, despite our notification and app options, we don’t.