Why President Obama needs hypervoice


Background to Hypervoice

Before we look at Obama’s speech, let’s quickly recap the essence of the Hypervoice concept. In the 1990s, hypertext enabled the Web and global publication of your thoughts. In the 2000s, ‘hypermessaging’ enabled social media and rapid sharing of those written thoughts. Now in the 2010s, Hypervoice conversations allow the most human medium – our natural spoken thoughts – to also become a full member of the hypermedia revolution.

Hypervoice conversations are the ‘social’ version of telephony and unified communications, in the same way that Twitter, Facebook or Yammer conversations are the ‘social’ version of SMS and email.

Hypervoice technology enables us to escape the constraining patterns of telephony and the limited recall of the human mind. The result will be a significant change in how we work and interact, comparable to the arrival of the Web and social media. (See my previous column, “Hypervoice: the new ‘bionic’ Voice in Unified Communications”.)

Create new rich media objects

Now, back to Obama. Go take a look at this recording of his speech, put together byAl Jazeera. It presents the video of him talking, and also gives a transcript. It lets you click on any word in the transcript, and takes you to the same moment in the video.

Here we can take one medium (written text) and use it as metadata to index another medium (recorded voice). It is easy and natural to use. This is a very hypervoice-like construct.

However, this example also falls well short of the potential for Hypervoice applications. We can’t see notes of political commentators, tied to the original speech. We don’t see what hashtags were trending, second by second. We can’t prise this piece of media out of its Al Jazeera silo and use it elsewhere for other purposes.

Most importantly of all, we can’t link to the individual words. It’s on the Web, but not reallyofthe Web.

Linking what we say to what we do

The State of the Union “hypervideo” links what President Obama said (in text) to what he said (in recorded video). In contrast, Hypervoice links what we say to what we do.The possibilities for ‘what we do’ are immense – it could be anything from taking a note, sharing an image, or linking to more background on a topic. It is a richer linking structure that doesn’t just enrich recorded audio (or video), but enables whole new forms of communication and collaboration.

With Hypervoice technology, Obama’s speech can become a rich media object that is collaboratively built by many people, not just the President and his speechwriters. Surely it can’t be much longer until the state of the technology makes for a much better State of the Union speech experience.

Martin Geddes will be speaking about and demonstrating hypervoice technology at Unified Communications Expo on 5th March. Further information on hypervoice technology and the Hypervoice Consortium is available at hypervoice.org

Related Articles on Hypervoice and other Emerging Technologies

Hypervoice: the new ‘bionic’ Voice in Unified Communications

The Webification of Unified Communications

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