Frequently Asked Questions

What do people want to know about The Open Voice Network.

A collaborative, technology-neutral, non-profit open-source community of the Linux Foundation

  • With more than 200 monthly active volunteers across 13 nations
  • Dedicated to developing technical standards and usage guidelines for the emerging world of conversational assistance.
  • Dedicated to making conversational assistance work like the web – and worthy of user trust.

We believe:

Conversational assistance should work like the web.   Standards-based.  Open.  Interoperable.  An interface that connects through billions of end points to billions of digital destinations. 

Your data belongs to you.  The data of your voice interactions belongs to you and your conversational partner.  And that respect for data ownership is foundational to the growth of conversational assistance.

Organizations should be able to build once and connect everywhere and to everyone.   That individuals should be able to buy once and connect everywhere and to everyone. 

Interoperability of conversational assistance is defined by the open, standards-based passing of dialogs from one assistant to another, regardless of platform parentage.  We approach interoperability from a user’s perspective – and for that reason, can’t define interoperability as turning one assistant off so that another can be turned on.

Conversational assistance is for everyone.  Inclusive and accessible.  

Conversational assistance will be a primary, touch-free way to connect easily and inclusively through all the devices of the digital world, from smartphones and smart speakers to automobiles, smart homes and factories, and the interfaces of the metaverse.  For organizations of all types, conversational assistance promises to create tangible gains in productivity, profitability, accessibility, and inclusion.

 

Unfortunately, what started as the world’s most quickly consumer technology is now on a path to fall well short of its potential.   Recent research shows that consumers are hesitant to venture into new usage, and enterprise decision-makers are concerned about issues of value, usage, and data ownership.

 

As we consider the potential of conversational assistance, we must acknowledge the presence of a “trust gap” that raises critical questions not only of privacy, but business and organizational value, equal and unbiased access, and data security.

Standardization is an engine for economic and social development.  And especially – as history repeatedly shows – when standards are developed through a communal, vendor-neutral process.  Doing so generally creates component interoperability – enabling the creation of purpose-built solutions, and the growth of firms whose innovation can create a “special sauce” to one or more components. Standards also push investment toward the development of new capabilities and features; they spark the creation of developer tools; and, for enterprise users, they deliver a “build once, use many” efficiency, as the need for proprietary interfaces diminishes.

 

There is now an absence of standards in the world of consumer-facing voice assistance.  There is no communally developed, broadly adopted “rule of law” that governs issues such as privacy, data use, access to third party sites and applications, interoperability and the like.  As in the “browser-war” days of the internet, this absence of standards leads to a lack of trust among individual users, enterprise decision-makers, and the developer-designer-strategist community – which, in turn, has led to today’s significant gap between assistant availability, adoption, and ever-more-complex use.

  • Development and proposal of technical standards for conversational assistance
  • Development and proposal of privacy and ethical use principles and operational guidelines.
  • Drive industry awareness of the opportunities and value of conversational assistance across industries

All consumer-facing industries are involved: commerce, health & life sciences, financial services, media, manufacturing, transportation, telecommunication, education, and connected government. Individuals at all levels of interest and technical ability are invited to be a part of Communities within the Open Voice Network, from subject matter experts and researchers to voice technicians, CEOs, chief strategists, head marketers, chief information, technology, and digital officers.

The Open Voice Network is independently funded by sponsoring firms, and governed by a Steering Committee of executives from those firms.  The Open Voice Network is an open-source community of The Linux Foundation (LF) and benefits from the LF’s breadth and depth of influence within the global technology community, LF management oversight, and shared LF administrative and legal services.

The Open Voice Network works primarily with enterprises, voice practitioners, platform providers, and industry associations in North America and the European Union. The Open Voice Network has also formed a working collaboration relationship with the China Netcasting Service Association (CNSA), the Beijing-based industry association responsible for voice assistance.

  • Open Voice Network Platinumsponsors commit to a financial contribution of $100K (USD) each year for three years, as well as participation on the Open Voice Network’s governing Steering Committee and operating committees of choice.
  • Open Voice Network Goldsponsors commit to a financial contribution of $50K (USD) each year for three years, and participation on operating committees.
  • Open Voice Network Supporter sponsors commit to a financial contribution of $25K (USD) each year for three years, and participation on operating committees.
  • Open Voice Network Advocatesponsors are active members of the voice designer-developer community and commit to a financial contribution of $7.5K each year for three years, and participation on operating committees.
  • Linux Foundation membership is also required.