Q&A: Jon Stine, executive director of the Open Voice Network, about the future of open voice.

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The Open Voice Network is working toward bringing standards to the world of voice assistance. James Larson, co-chair of the SpeechTEK conference, talked to Jon Stine, the group's executive director, to learn more about the future of open voice

What is the background of the group that you represent?

The Open Voice Network is dedicated to bringing the value of standards to the world of voice assistance. It's a non-profit industry association operating as a directed fund of the Linux Foundation, sponsored by top-tier enterprises and supported by leading vertical industry associations and a developer community./p>

Who are the participants in your group?

The Open Voice Network has four major constituencies, all with significant interest in a standards-based world of voice assistance. They include the following:

  • Consumers who use voice assistants, individuals who seek easy, dependable, and interoperable connections to their favorite brands, consumer-facing entities, the world's nearly 2 billion websites, more than 26 billion smart devices, and the enterprise applications that enable work and leisure;
  • Enterprise users of voice who seek dependable voice connections of ever-expanding breadth and depth with their customers across multiple platforms;
  • Advisors and developers of enterprise voice use, who seek to create sustainable value for their clients and their clients' customers; and
  • Platform creators of all sizes, from market leaders to those in academic laboratories.

We welcome participation from all four constituencies.

What is your group trying to achieve?

We want to bring the value of commonly-developed and derived standards to the world of voice assistance. Standards generally bring a rule of law to a nascent technology environment, and with that rule of law comes a significant growth in consumer trust and use, in a development and innovation community, and overall economic value. The question now is how will standards for the voice assistant world be developed. Will they be asserted by market leaders and in their proprietary interest? Will they be asserted by governments, perhaps in ignorance of the technology's potential? Or, will they be developed, tested, and proposed through the four constituencies noted above?

At present, we envision work in the following areas:

  • Development of a destination registry for voice, a DNS-like service that manages multi-level disambiguation;
  • Development of standardized voice commands for non-differentiating commerce processes that are common across all consumer-facing industries;
  • Development of standards toward the protection of consumer and commercial data privacy;
  • Development of standards toward interoperability; and
  • Voice data, consumers, and enterprise value creation, from informed consent to data use with biometric identifiers of breadth and depth.

What is the current status of the work you have done?

We launched in February the OVN's Technical Committee, dedicated to defining and developing proposed standards, and the OVN's Ethical Use Committee.

How can readers of this article participate in your group?

Reach out to me directly at jon.stine@openvoicenetwork.org, or through our website: www.openvoicenetwork.org.

To see presentations by Jon Stine and other speech technology experts, register to attend the SpeechTEK Conference in Washington April 27-29.

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