As EVP of Innovation for RingCentral, a communications company that recently expanded into the collaboration space with the acquisition of Glip, I’m a keen observer of evolution in the tech industry. I’ve written before about how the way we work is changing rapidly, especially as collaboration tools facilitate information sharing. Sharing isn’t only about e-mail, spreadsheets, calendering, and endless typing at a keyboard anymore, though. These days, information sharing can be voiced. In fact, I believe that Voice is the new Text.
Over the next five years, talking and typing will become increasingly interoperable. Already, your voicemail can be sent to your phone and converted into a text. Or as an alternative to text-based messages, Apple lets you send voice-based messages through iMessage. If you want to send a text specifically, you can speak into your phone, which will convert your speech into text. This no longer requires special software; phones come embedded with this technology. As well, we’re evolving from the days of tapping away on small smartphone keyboards. With the advent of wearables, imagine trying to type a text on that. It’s practically impossible! It’s not hard to imagine the near-future of voice messaging as talking into a smart watch.
More features and opportunities for voice messaging technology lie ahead. What if you had a voice-based personal assistant, like Siri on the iPhone, but more advanced? For example, if you’re talking about a to-do item, you could be prompted by your system: “Would you like me to schedule a task?” or “Would you like me to schedule that meeting now?” Notes from your meeting, whether in-person or virtual, can be transcribed with follow-up tasks scheduled and assigned with minimal, if any, in-person intervention. Voice and text truly will become interchangeable, with voice transcribed into text inline while you’re reading or typing a document. Many of the systems we use will begin interacting with voice systems to streamline our lives in this way. If you think about it, many cars already have these features so that we can communicate hands-free. The workplace will follow suit.
The ways in which we communicate and collaborate are constantly evolving. Some companies in this space are marrying communications and collaboration to create something even better, as RingCentral did with its acquisition of Glip. As integrating one powerful application with another becomes easier, it will be exciting to witness how much more efficient and hands-free our workspaces will be as Voice increasingly becomes the new Text.