You may have heard the term “Sonic Internet”, if so it was most likely very from researching the Sonos IPO. So, what is the “Sonic Internet” and what does it mean for the future of everyday technology and specifically involving voice and smart audio?
Sonic Internet: “the Internet for your Ears”
It seems that the term “Sonic Internet” came about from the Smart Speaker company Sonos in a blog titled “Welcome to the Sonic Internet” in October of 2017. Sonos CEO, Patrick Spence defined this new world where content is available by simply saying “Hey Alexa/Google what is…” This is truer now than ever before, and continues to improve. Ask your Google Assistant what’s going on with a specific topic and it can tell you what’s happening from Reuters or CNN. The Sonic Internet is the “internet for your ears.” Read: you can hear it. You most likely have already started taking part in this, either in the form of asking your assistant what your next appointment looks like, what the weather is going to be, or to play you a song. At Vocool, we believe soon you will be able to ask for almost anything to be read to you. When that occurs, you’ll be more free to start something else or continue what you were doing before. Allowing your eyes and hands to have freedom.
What the “Sonic Internet” is NOT
Be careful not to misunderstand. The Sonic Internet is not going to replace the Visual Internet, but it will augment, supplement, and improve it. In August 2018 Google said almost half of Assistant interactions are hybrid (voice and screen). This doesn’t mean your website will cease to exist, but just as SEO led people to optimize written content a certain way, Voice Optimization (VO or VEO) will start to lead people to make their websites more accessible to both those who can only use voice and those who willingly use voice. The difference is Voice users normally take the first returned option on search, instead of scanning through a list of several on a Google search.
Obviously there are already standards for Web Accessibility (called WCAG). But I think voice technology will make these more mainstream and instead of an afterthought, requirements of good website design. SEO is now a must, VO will be as well.
Where is the Sonic Internet Headed?
Now for the fun part. The FUTURE! (insert future gif). Realistically the most menial tasks are going to go away very soon. In fact if you aren’t voice-texting simple things now you’re really missing out. You can also use IFTTT (If This Than That) to automate many things these days as well. This combination of voice-technology and automation paired with the Smart Home appliances is going to make simple things like texting or preheating the oven a thing of the past. The future of the Sonic Internet means ANY content can be read to you when you want it.
Here’s an example. Imagine you are wrist-deep making a brand-new homemade meatball recipe. You are having your assistant read you the steps, and in between you are listening to your favorite writer’s new article. You know it’ll take a few minutes between steps, but your hands are covered in meat! You can jump back and forth between the recipe and the article without losing your place. While listening you also remember that your daughter’s soccer game got moved, so you tell your assistant to change it in the calendar. Back to your article And dinner tonight is going to be scrumptious!