I got on a team creating prototype applications for emerging markets. In this capacity, I wrote Short Voice Service, a BREW reference application for peer-to-peer voice messaging, a variation of which is now in use in India.
The peer-to-peer aspect is interesting. Phones need to make a data connection to send and receive data. They don’t keep an open channel and they get a new IP address each time a connection is made. To bypass the need for a server, the sender records the message, opens a data call, gets an IP address and sends it in a text message to the receiver saying “there’s a voice message at 10.23.33.125”. The receiver then opens a data call to the waiting sender and pulls the message across. The transfer can also occur with a server intermediary.
Being able to send a voice message from phone to phone has some kind of interesting attributes not found in other channels of communication.
- It’s like texting, without the typing.
- It’s like voicemail, without listening to the recorded message telling you what to do.
- It’s a message without the conversation.
- It conveys more emotion than email.
A funny ad came out that illustrates the importance of properly creating that emotion: