Monday, December 05, 2005

VoIP and Interactive Voice Response (IVR)

The IVR market has been around now for quite a long time, pretty much since DTMF (touch tone) based phones hit the market. We are all well aware of phoning a number, and going through a set of menus providing some very simple form of interaction to either purchase something, pay a bill, be put through to somebody from a certain department, talk to an expert and so on.

So in the world of VoIP, how does this change? Well it really comes down to how many people will use VoIP whilst sat at a computer or set top box or whatever. You see VoIP has no inclussion of an interactive medium other than the voice, and voice recognition is not quite as advanced as you might hope.

So, are people likely to use VoIP whilst sat at home to interact rather than use some form of the internet, can they be used together, can one trigger off another? Also if mobile phones end up becoming VoIP based how are they likely to interact ... are we still going to use the nasty old (but simple) DTMF system?

Personally I think it is time to think a little out of the box when it comes to voice interactions about how you make choices and how a call is designed. Currently we are stuck in a 'I am browsing' mode or 'press 1 to do something', 'what station do you want to go to?'. Ideally you would use the capabilities of the mobile phone such as LBS, maybe the joystick, maybe the camera ... who knows. Maybe this an area for discussion for the Mobile Monday London interest group.