vooices This is Real Innovation: Vooices brings voice control to your browser – and to other spaces.The new iPhone 3G S brings us, amongst other features, Voice Control. Paul Rawlings and Paul Kinlan, the guys behind some cool Twitter apps, now take Voice Control to a whole new level: Vooices is a phone controlled, real-time, multiplayer application platform for screens in public spaces or for games and applications on the internet.

The concept is as simple as it is brilliant and somewhat difficult to describe in writing. If you’ve got a moment, try it yourself.

Note to our international audience: To dial into the game from outside the United Kingdom, use +44-20-7084-0778 and from within the US dial +1-412-927-0252.

Though the showcased game is very basic it demoes a pretty nice application of multi modality and technically, it’s one of the most seamlessly integrated Web + Telephony apps I’ve seen so far. In a more advanced demo you can control a Google Map with your voice.

While the demoes are JavaScript only, Vooices also supports Adobe Flash and Silverlight, too.

The really cool bit is that Vooices provides you with a free API thus giving you all the tools to speech enable your own applications and games solely using Web technologies.

Anyone can then leverage voice control and have their application react when people dial into it. According to Paul Rawlings it will be a simple process to integrate speech control into an app. When creating Vooices applications, developers set up their voice speech and button commands and map these to application functions. Vooices will also allow users to upload their own audio files to play to the end user when the game starts and ends or leverage the text to speech engine in case high quality audio material is not available.

Version 1.3 of the API has just been launched. Go to the developer site, request an invite code and start building your own solution within minutes. Getting started is utmost simple with the application wizard:

vooicesapi This is Real Innovation: Vooices brings voice control to your browser – and to other spaces.

The wizard guides you through the steps of setting up Voice Commands and Buttons and generates a comprehensive JavaScript file that needs to be embedded into your HTML markup. That’s all it needs to voice enable your applications!

How does this work behind the scenes?

As well as being useful where a keyboard and mouse aren’t present such as public screens, vooices can be used in reactive content on the internet, to take payments and for secure access to various secure resources such as online banking, etc using Vooice Print Biometrics. Vooices creates a realtime channel between the in process voice call and the browser or screen session so anytihng that is done on the call is channeled directly to the browser/screen session.
When a user dials a game, if vooices hasn’t seen them before then it creates a central account on the vooices server for the inbound number. When the user plays the game or uses the application, vooices then stores all interactions, highscores, etc against the created account. If the game supports it, then a user can redial into a game at another time/location and pickup from where they left off, use their created avatar to represent them or consume other user data that is accessable via the vooices API. This is optional in the development API when creating a game. Highscores and player profiles will be visible in the soon to launch Vooices Player Portal where users can customise accounts, create avatars and characters to use in games, challenge each other and share their scores and game plays on twitter.
Vooices also support multi player gaming where users can play against each other in a number of ways dependant upon the game they are playing. An example would be (sneek peek to a game we are doing) is that there could be a game on a large screen where multiple people dial into the same screen and all play using seperate characters that have been either generated for them or that they have created in their account on the web. So a bit like Bomberman. Once the game is over, if set, vooices can then re-interact with the user by sending them a piece of content that is specific to either what has happened on the game or to the location that the game is being played in. For example if the game is being played on a screen in london euston, a voucher for a shop in the station could be sent to the phone if the player scored over a certain amount.
Vooices also supports Team games where multiple people can dial into one game, form a team and then play against multiple people dialled into the game in another location.
Few examples what could be built are below but Vooices can be used to pretty much control anything you can possibly think of.
Games: Vooices can be used to control any game that lends itself to it. For example a user can phone up a game like Wordz our sample game and then use their voice or keypad to interact with it. Vooices creates a real time session between the voice call and the in game browser. When a user has finished playing a vooice game, their score and details are stored on the central vooice server so if the game allows it, a user can redial the same game and pickup where they left off from.
Multi Player Gaming: Vooices can be used to control multiplayer games. Upto 10,000 users can dial into a vooice game at the same time and then play. Imagine 100s of people dialling into a vooice game in London that is hosted on a screen in Kings Cross, playing against not only each other but against another 100 people dialled into the same vooice game in America. The possibilities are endless.
Advertising: Vooices can be used to provide interaction and help brands come alive. For instance with vooices, users could dial into a video advert such as “whats your favourite flavour of crisps” but then based off realtime votes could have the video seemlessly change when so many votes have been counted. As Vooices knows the location of where vooices is being accessed, it can then send the user a piece of content such as an MMS voucher or an SMS message with a discount code in to buy the product in the nearest shop.
Secure Login: Imagine if you could login to a website such as your online banking with your voice. Well with Vooices you can. For example, you could easily implement Vooices on your login website and lock it to a users phone. When the user first dials the website, it will take a voice print of a set phrase. Next time you visit the site, you can dial vooices, enter your pin and say the phrase then vooices will send a decision to the site and without refreshing will either log you in or reject you. Cool hey.
Paid Content: If you have content on your site you wish to charge for then vooices can take payment for you by you having the user dial your Vooices number and entering the code for the content. Once they have entered the code, vooices sends a result to the website to either show or not show the desired content.
Voting Lines: Voocies can be used for websites or non websites to create voting applications and then have the voting content on the screen update in real tie based on what has been said on the call. Vooice Logic could also be applied so when a % or number of votes s reached, content changes in a manor to suit.

When a user dials a game, if Vooices hasn’t seen them before then it creates a central account on the Vooices server for the inbound number. When the user plays the game or uses the application, Vooices then stores all interactions, high-scores, etc. against the created account.

If the game supports it, then a user can redial into a game at another time/location and pickup from where they left off, use their created avatar to represent them or consume other user data that is accessible via the Vooices API. This is optional in the development API when creating a game.

High-scores and player profiles will be visible in the soon to launch Vooices Player Portal where users can customize accounts, create avatars and characters to use in games, challenge each other and share their scores and game plays on twitter.

Support for Multi Player gaming

Vooices also support multi player gaming where users can play against each other in a number of ways dependant upon the game they are playing.

An example would be that there could be a game on a large screen where multiple people dial into the same screen and all play using separate characters that have been either generated for them or that they have created in their account on the web. So a bit like Bomberman. Once the game is over, if set, Vooices can then re-interact with the user by sending them a piece of content that is specific to either what has happened on the game or to the location that the game is being played in.

For example if the game is being played on a screen in London Euston, a voucher for a shop in the station could be sent to the phone if the player scored over a certain amount.

Essentially the Vooices API will allow developers to

  • Control game and application movements via speech
  • Control game and application movements via the phone keypad
  • Create multi-player voice controlled games
  • Keep track of members profiles, games and usage
  • Keep track of high scores across games

Games are an obvious first use case category for the Vooices services, but once the developer APIs will be released, we might soon see advertising, voice authentication, paid content and voting solutions.

What do we think?

The ideas and concepts behind Vooices offer a pretty compelling value proposition for multi modal services for the Web and beyond. We could only tip the surface of the Vooices API in the short time we had since its launch and are intrigued with what it promises.

We’ve seen many Twitter and real-time Web related technologies lately. It’s been fun to explore something completely different. We are looking forward to hearing more of the innovative applications that the developer community will start to build with the Vooices.us toolset.

We definitely put Vooices on our watch-list and encourage you to do the same.

Note: The Vooices services are powered by Voxeo. We recently covered their acquisition of IMified.