Can the Internet hear me now?

Can the Internet hear me now?

For the past two decades, the web has been optimized for sight and touch. This is about to change in a big way. Apple’s Siri, Microsoft’s Cortana, and the Amazon Echo are ushering in an era of voice-controlled devices and services. Soon, Facebook M will join the fray. These digital assistants all reveal the beginnings of a transformation within the Internet. We will increasingly interact with the web and all it contains primarily using our voice.

There’s one glaring problem with this brave new world: as the Internet of Things talks back to us, much of what it has to say will be for our ears only. How do we keep these conversations private and personal? Answer: With hearables. I spoke to several in the budding hearables industry. All, no surprise, are big believers in the technology.

Better hearing means smarter listening

San Francisco-based Nuheara makes a wearable for the ear — scheduled to go on sale in early 2016 — that allows the wearer to connect with specialized voice-enabled apps.

David Cannington, co-founder at Nuheara told me that his company believes most of us will soon “be interacting with our smart devices more and more with our voices than our fingers.” The newly launched Apple TV speaks to just such a vision, though Cannington believes we are only at the start of this great transformation.

Soon, our car, refrigerator, thermostat, the subway turnstile and all manner of futuristic devices will verbally communicate with each of us. The possibilities, he says, “range from personal digital assistants, to translation on the fly, to AI-driven voice enabled apps.”

Cannington’s hope, of course, is that Nuheara is the device of choice relaying these voices to our brains while cutting through all the noise. “As thousands of developers around the world (start) working on voice recognition apps, we plan to be their partner of choice as an innovative hearing technology platform.”

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