“The awesome issue approximately social media become the way it gave a voice to unvoiced people,” stated US-based writer and journalist Jon Ronson. Few will disagree with this. However, Gen C has been so busy, scrolling via hundreds of profiles on Facebook, texting on Messenger, and liking pix on Instagram, that it has forgotten the electricity of the voice.
Yes. We are speakme approximately the sound this is produced in someone’s larynx and uttered through the mouth, as speech or a song. Our voices have now become restricted to sending audio messages and making voice calls on Whatsapp or calling out to Siri and Google Assistant on our smart gadgets.
So what else have we misplaced? Effective communication. Social media has grow to be an inseparable a part of our daily lives and an essential medium of communication. Yes, we're speaking, however are we communicating efficaciously?
Effective conversation isn’t just about passing records to and fro; it’s approximately understanding the intentions and emotions behind that information. TheVOIZapp, a San Francisco-based totally startup, with considered one of its founders based in Bengaluru, pursuits to bring the voice returned to the people, in a bid to enhance powerful verbal exchange thru social media.
“The current suite of social media or networking apps does loads of things. However, we experience that the real emotions behind messaging, expression of thoughts and thoughts are nevertheless now not captured sufficient through them,” says one of the co-founders of theVOIZapp, Babatunde Olaniran (Babs), who at the side of Sidharth Vijayan struck upon the concept for their corporation at some point of their MBA days in 2016.
Sidharth provides, “Current structures traditionally guide text, pics, and films. Text lacks the intensity of emotion and photos and videos have an inherent want for composition and perfection, which can be both time-consuming and irritating to get accomplished nicely.” So, they decided to build an audio-based social networking platform where content material advent becomes extraordinarily smooth and customers still have access to pictures (and video coming soon). One where images (and movies quickly) mixed in a completely unique manner with audio to enhance user interactions. The purpose is to make it extremely smooth to percentage thoughts with the arena.
The founders’ vision of embedding the lacking emotional layer in social media has surely paid off. Since the legit release of theVOIZapp in February 2018, the app has gained a following of about 7000 customers.
As we dive deeper into theVOIZapp’s concept, the founders’ journey and their plans for the future, allow’s take a closer observe the metrics of this social media app, that is developing by means of leaps and boundaries through leveraging the maximum innate part of the human expression — the voice.
Stage 1: The Inception
Sidharth reminisces, “Our journey started out lower back in September 2016 while we met whilst pursuing our MBA in San Francisco, California.” Like maximum management graduates, the duo stored discussing commercial enterprise ideas. During one such discussion, Sidharth pitched to Babs a version of the app in which people should begin a tale with a easy 10-15 second audio music and allow others simply soar in and keep building the story of their own flavour.
“It one way or the other sparked a light in Babs and he said, ‘Sid, let’s do it!’ and the relaxation as we say, is records,” chuckled Sidharth.
From then on, the duo labored on the MVP (minimum viable product) for the app and launched it on November 17, 2017. The MVP gained some traction, after which they then went on to relaunch the app in its present day model on February 14 this 12 months. They were also chosen with the aid of StartupGrind 2018 as a part of a set of 30 startups to demonstrate their app and concept at the occasion.
TheVOIZapp lets in users to proportion photographs with an audio tale connected to it. They can percentage content material either publicly or privately with family individuals, pals, and others, thereby facilitating powerful communique and socialising.
“I think it had some thing to do with the reality that we were in an surroundings where on-line discussions have been open and active, but no longer very interactive. It regarded like a great trouble to clear up and a solution that would permit people to create interesting communique threads and innovative tales,” Babs delivered.
Stage 2: Leveraging Voice To Get A Lead Over Social Media Giants
It is a scientifically confirmed reality that effective verbal exchange is delivered approximately through enticing as the various sensory organs as viable. TheVOIZapp isn’t the first app to understand this and strive taking advantage of it. World over, agencies like Amazon, Google, Facebook, and Whatsapp are already operating on capitalising a wide user base with progressive voice features embedded of their respective apps and devices. TheVOIZapp additionally has direct competitors together with HearMeOut and Limor app.
But what's the need for a social media platform like theVOIZapp in India, where the market is already dominated by using Facebook, which has a consumer base of more than 270 Mn, and WhatsApp, with greater than 2 hundred Mn users,? “Yes, it’s proper that other apps have voice options, however a extra applicable question to invite would be ‘How is the voice alternative carried out to the platform to beautify person stories on the subject of social media interactions’?” asks Sidharth.
The founders defined that at present, there are apps that enable a person to only make calls or send and obtain audio messages. They agree with that theVOIZapp offers a unique enjoy and enables a ways higher conversation because it combines the elements of photograph and voice (video coming quickly).
TheVOIZapp is to be had on each iOS and Android. Upon signing in, the app offers the consumer an interface with three icons at the bottom of the screen, which take them to the 3 sections into which the platform is split. Notifications are dealt with in an progressive way – faucet and maintain any individual of the 3 backside icons to launch contextual notifications for your scroll, rooms and profile.
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1) The icon at the left navigates the consumer to his or her feed (referred to as the ‘Scroll’).
2) The center icon navigates customers to the room’s display screen (in which customers can get entry to public and personal rooms). Public rooms can be created by means of any person, shared with the sector and may be joined through everyone who wants to be part of thrilling audio and picture conversations or discussions. Private rooms are wherein customers can connect to pals, family, and other customers of theVOIZapp.
3) The icon to the proper takes the consumer to their profile page and settings.
Further, powerful communique isn't always the handiest hassle the duo is trying to cater to. Another key hassle they're looking to solve is the issue of impersonation.
As Babs explained, “With theVOIZapp, we’ve created a big barrier for impersonators, as it’s not as clean to imitate a person else’s voice and to drag a prank on someone, in contrast to with photographs and text, specially in a one-to-one verbal exchange. So, privateness and safety that theVOIZapp gives, along with the emotional element, will assist users sense secure even as connecting with human beings and enhance the overall enjoy.”
He added that they’ve delved into research to locate that humans round the world who can’t examine or write face a verbal exchange barrier. Such people can benefit from a social platform that makes use of voice. “Our platform breaks down such boundaries and we could people express themselves and listen to others in the language they like to speak with their friends and near ones,” brought Babs.
Ensuring Data Privacy
With even social media giants like Facebook and Twitter facing the records privacy heat, it is imperative for younger startups to be on their shield on this place. “We keep in mind that consumer privateness is a massive obligation and consider that privateness starts offevolved from the time a person registers on the platform.” As of now, theVOIZapp uses most effective phone number verification for registration and password retrieval. “This is required to keep away from fraudsters from hacking user debts or registering a couple of profiles and interfering with different users’ privacy,” said Sidharth.
The platform has additionally been designed in a way to constantly remind users to preserve non-public information personal. “It’s an ongoing method. Our users have control over selecting a personal or a public profile. We don’t acquire any sensitive information except for the place of the consumer. The vicinity data is gathered so we are able to locate new friends around the person and also serve up applicable content material that is being talked about via others in and around their place,” he brought.
Stage 3: Monetisation And Achieving A Product-Market Fit
TheVOIZapp is currently looking to set up a base and, like another social media platform, constructing an target audience is the first precedence. If they could do this nicely, the money will observe, is their mantra.
For now, with the wish of obtaining as a minimum two million energetic customers inside the first monetary year of its operation, the startup has taken financial assist from pals and family. It has raised a complete of $215,000 (~?1.4Cr) earlier than launch and is looking to boost a larger spherical now. “We are focused at the product and on generating traction, as we think they may be the important thing elements for any startup within the on-line area. We are mastering quick and that is obtrusive from our increase trajectory,” said Babs.
So, How Does theVOIZapp Plan To Gain Traction? Babs replied, “We are connecting with influencers from our target demographic from exclusive walks of lifestyles and industries, mainly the ones who've a sizable variety of fans and have deep engagement with their audience. We accept as true with that once we create value for those influencers, they may get on board and easily entice their audience to the platform to share this cost.”
In the close to future, the startup is looking to amplify in three markets — India, Africa, and the US. It also intends to rate organizations for the value it is going to be offering them with an thrilling take on analytics that makes it very relevant to on line organizations. “We sit up for that opportunity becoming a reality soon, say inside the subsequent quarters,” said Sidharth.
Not best this, theVOIZapp also has plans to venture into apps for wearables like smart-watches within the near future. The founders are aiming huge and are working to convey a “killer characteristic” this is focused on the youth, sometime soon. “We’d like to keep that for a destiny communique while it is prepared to be released. I desire we ought to monitor greater approximately it now, but it would virtually be a buzzkill,” brought Sidharth with a smirk, when probed about this special function.
Helping People Find Their Voice Again
If there may be one element that receives revolutionised with every passing yr, it is the phone. The cellphone revolution has taken Drogon -like wings within the previous few years. Even though the marketplace grew handiest about 14% final year, 124 Mn smartphones had been shipped throughout the united states. Not most effective that, the characteristic telephone marketplace registered double-digit boom as properly, leading up to fifty six Mn telephones being shipped in the closing sector of 2017 alone.
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This data shows that the cellphone marketplace isn’t developing in a vacuum and that it’s a collective shift in the manner that India connects throughout its demography and geography. At the intersection of this shift is theVOIZapp .
Recent studies through Omidyar Network India indicates that 70% of the minutes a consumer spends on-line are spent on social and enjoyment apps, 38% of that being spent on Whatsapp, Facebook, and Instagram. With Whatsapp at 2 hundred Mn customers and Facebook aiming for 350 Mn, India is becoming one of the quickest adopters of social media for online communication.
Indian startups are looking to coins in on the capacity of connecting human beings on social. That they're searching within the proper direction is obvious from the success of local players like ShareChat, which has exceeded expectancies with over eight Mn downloads in India.
Further, telecom gamers are presenting cheap statistics packs, encouraging the use of social media platforms and sidelining smartphone calls. Although the effect is hard to quantify, it is able to be felt in our everyday lives. People are more and more moving faraway from cellphone calls toward texting, losing out on creating personal bonds to a big quantity. Apps like theVOIZapp have the energy to help millennials locate their social media ‘voice’ (the actual one) and engage higher with friends both in India and internationally.
At the same time, the challenges are piled up in a excessive stack. The achievement of the task relies upon on how many customers join the platform and how lots of them stick around and convey their buddies and own family into the surroundings. This can be a difficult project as across age agencies, conversations have become more and more impersonal and social media profiles are becoming greater aspirational.