Wednesday, February 14, 2007

Where are the Voice2.0 developers? Partying somewhere else, I think

Mr Blog recently published an interesting post about "Where are the Voice 2.0 developers?"

He quotes one of my posts, and I needed to stop and open my dictionary because I didn't know the idioms "Talk the talk, walk the walk".

PhoneGnome has offered a free API for almost a year now. But where are the innovators? We even offered to provide a free PhoneGnome box to those publishing apps to the User Contributed Library.

People say they want this stuff. They can talk the talk, but can they walk the walk?

English language improvements apart :), I want to clarify this point: my company released a "Voice Over Web" SDK in May, 2006 right during the VON Europe conference in Stockholm, and I was happy to see that Phonegnome has been following a well beaten route[1], and that we were heading the same direction.
That is to say, it wasn't my intention to say "I wanna play with that toy".
I was just so delighted that I "placed some bets" after a glance at my crystal ball.

Unfortunately our SDK has been coldly saluted: even if we received praises and some good technical feedback, we haven't seen experiments worth noting -yet.
My opinion is that we came to the party earlier than expected, and the place was nearly deserted. The party people was feasting somewhere else, with widgets, gadgets, ajax scripts and rails, maps, identity and Single Sign On APIs, and so on. Now they finished building their websites, and found themselves in an embarrassing silence. Websites are mute. Websites need Voice.

In fact, during the last two months we've been contacted by a wave of independent developers, entrepreneurs, old friends, all of which are interested in building a "website with Voice in". All of them need to provide a communication tool to their community, all of them need a turnkey solution because they don't want to bother with the "telecommunication matter".

Opening up (or licensing) your technology (or product) to make it as widespread as possible is a strategy that's been historically used to impose well known dominant designs: VHS (over Betamax), Google maps, Intel Centrino (over Transmeta), NTSC in USA and PAL in Europe. It's a combination of open architecture and bandwagon effect.
Everybody wants to ride the tide.

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