By Jeff Arnold, CEO and Chairman
Knowing that I’m both a father and “early adopter”, a friend sent me this article on Father’s Day gifts for techies. The first item on the list, the Amazon Echo smart speaker, was of particular interest to me as it’s an exciting example of how new technology is continuing to unlock the power of voice – similar to the focus of we’ve had over the last several months with the launch of our new Sharecare app.
We recently got an Echo for our team at Sharecare to inspire some out-of-the-box thinking in our quest to build frictionless technologies to improve people’s health. We’ve found that while the Echo is intended to project sound, its appeal actually lies in its capabilities beyond projection. Its integrated microphone is specifically designed to recognize a user’s voice, their unique tones and timbre. It gives the weather forecast, how many ounces are in a cup, and advises when you’re running late for an appointment. It connects with smart home gadgets, giving the user the ability to dim the lights or turn on an appliance with a simple voice command. In other words, this small black cylinder can act like your own personal assistant.
My intent in writing this blog isn’t to extol the virtues of this product – or give my kids a hint of what I want for Father’s Day. Rather’s it’s to comment on how exciting it is that companies across so many industries are changing consumers’ lives by unlocking the power of voice. According to Amazon, the more the user talks to their Echo, the more it adapts to his or her particular speech patterns, vocabulary and personal preferences. This is the same principle we’ve used to design our own Sharecare app, which uses the fractal patterns in your voice to determine your mindset and stress levels. By analyzing the tone of your voice during phone calls, the app helps you be more self-aware, improve your personal relationships, and become a healthier individual.
The idea behind the Echo – that your voice is a unique identifier of a person, just like your fingerprint or DNA- is the same one that inspired us to create the Sharecare app. You can’t change or falsify your voice – and now we have the technology to help you use your own voice become a calmer, more balanced and overall healthier individual. To me, that’s a priceless Father’s Day gift.