What’s Voice Got To Do With It

Someone asked the other day  what I thought telephony/VoIP/internet phone had to do with media and entertainment content. In the strictest sense, the two seem like separate businesses with little crossover (save ownership in some cases). But the boundaries are shifting with increased access to free or cheap voice communication over the internet paired with the spread of broadband and improved audio quality. More commercial content providers are incorporating some form of telephony or audio chat, including  video games with live voice interaction. The lower price barrier enables global collaboration and with it more creativity and collaborative content. For instance, numerous podcasts include VoIP interviews or co-hosting from multiple locations, unthinkable for most at land-line or mobile long-distance rates.

I don’t agree with the enthusiasts who say that voice makes everything easier. Time shifting by email has its place, as does communicating by IM (particularly useful during conference calls or situations when audio would be difficult or inappropriate). And, face it, it’s still not foolproof. But  integrating voice into the internet — in media and entertainment, in business, in personal communications  and preferably in meaningful ways — carries powerful possibilities. 

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