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Voice: The disruptive technology

We’ve been pushing for more-than-voice services over mobile. So why do we think voice is the game changer on the horizon?

It’s a different kind of voice. One that allows commands to be given to ICT devices using voice. For the BOP, the evidence is crystal clear. Keyboards are a constraint. If people can interact with their phones using voice, the future for more-than-voice services is very bright indeed.

It is a wildly disruptive idea. But such systems are already beginning to change the way we interact with the world and, for better and worse, how we think about technology. Until now, after all, we’ve talked only to one another. What if we begin talking to all sorts of machines, too — and, like Siri, those machines respond as if they were human?

Granted, people have been talking into machines and at machines since the days of Edison’s phonograph. By the 1980s, commercial speech recognition systems had become sophisticated enough to transcribe spoken words into text. Today, voice technology is a fixture of many companies’ customer-service operations, albeit an occasionally maddening one.

But now the race is on to make the voice the sought-after new interface between us and our technology. The results could rival innovations like the computer mouse and the graphic icon and, some experts say, eventually pose challenges for giants like Google by bypassing their traditional search engines.

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