Ubiquitous Communication, with Voice as an Integral Part
Modern means of communication have revolutionised the world. A great deal of today’s communication happens on digital channels and even classic telephony has, to a large extent, been digitalised and moved into the cloud. People and businesses use voice, text and visual imagery in the modern-day communications mix and are always connected and online. Whilst many analysts were sceptical about the fate of voice in this modern mix, market development has proven differently.
Through the gateway of the telephone, we now accept conversations that are not face-to-face and in-person as equally as important, whether they are held over voice, email, or messaging channels. In addition to communicating one-on-one, we’re now able to use social networks to communicate indirectly through posts, tags, and the uploading of photos, videos, and other files – often flavoured with animated GIFs and emoticons.
Technology analysts argue that telephone-based business communication will be reduced dramatically in the light of the increasing popularity of modern digital communication channels. However, behavioural science shows that voice is the second most important component of communication, following body language, and therefore will remain a cornerstone of any communications mix – and be just as ubiquitous as any other modern digital communication medium.
Voice Communication is Fast and Interactive – and Strongly Effective
Today, there is often criticism that fast, digital communication leads to unfocused conversations and creates short-lived, superficial relationships. Numerous studies argue that our social behaviour is significantly influenced by our preoccupation with smartphones. And indeed, especially in the business sector, voice communication is often the medium of choice as it is fast, direct, and interactive.
Whilst reading text messages or social media posts might be more convenient, they often lack tonality. By contrast, calling someone is interactive by design and transports a voice tone which typically gets lost on other digital channels. Notably, when people are trying to communicate important business decision or resolve a conflict, there is a need for a live conversation on the phone. Unfortunately, email has, in many situations, become the medium of choice for issue resolution when in fact, it is the de-facto path to conflict avoidance.
Thanks to short, fast, communication pathways and lower communication costs, people can more easily discuss complex business issues and resolve conflicts with ease – even across time zones – through the telephone. Many companies began to ban email communication completely after they found out that it took up to 23 percent of their employees’ time – and in many situations it did not solve the issue, as email is a one-way communication channel. The risk with email, as with other time-delayed communication mediums, is that context and tone can be easily misconstrued by the recipient.
In contrast, voice is an interactive solution that is ideal for real-time conversations and true communications. For teams, modern cloud communication solutions extend conventional voice calls through virtual meetings and improve team collaboration.
The Future of Voice is…Voice!
With more than 200 billion emails and 60 billion WhatsApp messages being sent every day, voice is by far, more than ‘something different’ for a change. In today’s text message-saturated world, voice – with it’s instant and interactive nature – can prevent what might have led to yet another looooooong email or text message thread. And beyond one-to-one and group communications, many technology companies are exploring the utilisation of voice for even more exciting use cases. Whilst Apple’s Siri and Google Now are not yet mainstream, it’s obvious that voice control will continue to evolve.
Just a quick fact for sceptics: Voice-based search queries on Google increased by 3,400 percent in the last decade alone.
The bottom line
Modern communication solutions bring people from all over the world closer together. The digitalisation of telecommunications has increased the intensity of how consumers and businesses interact with each other – people are constantly online and connected. Even with modern mediums like social media and instant messaging, and the evolution of mobile apps, voice communication has not lost its luster — it’s personal, direct, and at critical moments, perhaps the most efficient way to communicate.