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Several years ago, UCIC released an app called UbiSPEAK on Android. It was designed to create a handsfree way to send and receive transcribed voice messages. It was (and still is) a powerful messaging platform. With the app (now called SpeakChat), we introduced a few firsts:

- For the sender, it both sent the recording of the message and transcription to the recipient
- The sender could specify the language that the message was being sent in to ensure proper transcription
- The recipient could decide to implement three automatic features:
— Automatic play of the message (meaning you it played out loud as soon soon as it was received
— If the message was sent as text, the app would play as text to speech
— The recipient could also choose automatic response recording — meaning after the message was played, it could record the recipient’s response back to the sender
- Different services could be added as contacts (today, these would be called “bots”), meaning you could (and can) have interactive conversations with any service
- You could send voice messages to the Ubi (meaning pushing voice notifications if you were running late)

Today, Whatsapp, QQ, WeChat, Facebook Messenger, Cord Project (acquired by Spotify), among others, use these features. Using voice for messaging is much faster than typing out a message and in crowded cities, especially in Asia, you can see people walking in foot traffic and sending messages back and forth.

Should devices like Sony’s Xperia Assistant or even Apple’s EarPods take off, this type of messaging will pair perfectly.

Maybe that’s Apple’s big next move?

Independent daily thoughts on all things future, voice technologies and AI. More at

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