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Are You in on the Growing Trend of Audio-Based Technology, Devices & Apps? You Should Be!

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Messaging has sure come a long way since we first started texting. As have all communication devices, for that matter. With smartphone ownership on the rise globally, and our increasing desire to consume and share content while on the go, tech is seeing an audio revival. Today, according to eMarketer, more than 50% of people in the United States access digital audio monthly. U.S. consumers now have the ability to stream audio everywhere, whether at home or in the office, at the park, on the train, or in the car, etc.

What’s So Special about Audio?

While audio may be the less glamorous mode of sharing content, it is way more intimate and authentic. It may lack the visual stimulation and wow factor of images or live video, but the spoken word offers something more alluring: staying power. Remember the last time you got engrossed in a radio podcast while folding the laundry, exercising or sitting in traffic? My guess is it was just was earlier today.  The beauty of audio content is that you can be totally engaged with it while doing something else.

Users know this too, hence the growing demand for and development of gadgets, devices and social media platforms and apps that incorporate audio feedback, voice interaction and/or provide access to podcasts and opportunities to create and share audio-based content. Move over, Siri! There’s now also AirPods, Google Home, as well as the Amazon Echo, and an increasing amount of news sites, like the New York Times and The Economist, who have introduced audio news portions for readers to listen to.

The Future is Connectivity

Unless you live on a deserted island, you know that technology and social media are transforming how we engage with one other, do business and, of course, experience the world around us. Digital connectivity is bringing everyone closer, even those of us who live worlds apart. It makes sharing content faster and easier. But more importantly, technology and its role in connectivity is opening us up to a whole new world of sensory experiences and emotional responses.

As quickly as digital technology is developing, so too is our hunger for it. Just look at last week’s global CES event. The takeaway from this year’s show demonstrated that we are in “a new era of innovation where technology is valued not just for the devices it produces but for the experiences it makes possible,” said Bridget Karlin, managing director, IOT, Intel.

During the four-day event, Ford President and CEO Mark Fields shared the car company’s vision for how the future of mobility will also be transformed by technological connectivity. He announced that Ford Sync is expanding to deliver cloud-based services and that soon all Ford vehicles will be controlled remotely with the FordPass app.

This is in addition to the car manufacturer’s international distribution agreement with HearMeOut to include the HearMeOut App with Ford’s SYNC AppLink, the company’s global mobile-to-car connection system that allows drivers to use voice commands and steering wheel buttons to control their mobile apps. HearMeOut’s technology will enable users to listen to entire social feeds while driving, record vocal posts and share them on Facebook and Twitter, all without taking their eyes off the road.

This is just one more example of how audio-based technology is a trend that’s here to stay, helping us to connect with others and enhance how we experience the world around us.

 

 ** Are you following us on Social Media? Well, You should! Join us on
Linkedin, Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and of course on HearMeOut.** 

The Growing Phenomenon and Danger of Distracted Driving

We’ve all been there, even the most responsible drivers among us:  Taking our eyes off the road for just a split second to adjust the radio, to double check our GPS, to talk to other passengers, to check our hair or makeup, or to grab that sandwich tempting us from our bag.  And let’s not forget about talking on the phone, checking – or even sending – text messages while driving. Sound familiar?

These activities lead to distracted driving, which the U.S. Department of Transportation defines as “any activity that could divert a person’s attention away from the primary task of driving.”
Seems obvious, right? But sometimes even the obvious gets overshadowed by our busy, hectic lives – to disastrous effect. In 2014, 3,179 people were killed, and 431,000 were injured in motor vehicle crashes involving distracted drivers.

Unless you live in a bubble, it’s impossible not to notice that smartphone ownership keeps growing. The more drivers that have smartphones, and the more technological options these gadgets offer us, the more distractions we have when get behind the wheel. Music? Waze? Texts? The latest news headlines? These distractions are all one glance and reach away, which could be the difference between getting to our destination safely and having a car accident. In fact, new research shows that 7 out of 10 people use their smartphones while driving.

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While texting and email are still the most prevalent smartphone-related driver distractions, can you guess what’s posing the next biggest danger? If you guessed social media, you’re right!  In fact, 4 out of 10 smartphone users engage with social media via their phones while driving. Almost 3 out of 10 drivers surf the internet, and 1 out of 10 engage in video chat. Perhaps our constant need to be – and stay – digitally connected needs to take a backseat to driving.

It’s no wonder then that this ever-growing life-endangering phenomenon of distracted driving has spurred a national movement in the United States. Over recent years, the U.S. government as well as a number of organizations and groups have joined together to raise public awareness about the dangers of driving while distracted. They’ve created campaigns aimed at combating and preventing fatal car accidents caused by distracted drivers. They also provide resources to help parents teach their of-driving-age kids about the consequences of being distracted behind the wheel. More importantly, they encourage states to adopt and uphold laws that ban texting and/or handheld cellphone use while driving.

Five years ago, AT&T also joined the bandwagon for educating people about the importance of staying focused while driving with its “It Can Wait” campaign.  Teaming up with Twitter, it has since has increased drivers’ awareness specifically about the dangers of cell phone use while driving. So far, more than 6 million people have pledged to no longer text and drive.

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The common message in all of these campaigns is that road safety starts with each of us. It’s a conscious decision to not let ourselves get distracted while driving. Just as putting on our seatbelt is instinctive, so should be putting away our smartphones – and any other temptation that may distract us while driving.

To that effect, HearMeOut has been working hard on developing its technology, which allows users to connect to their social feeds completely hands-free while on the go. Plus, we are currently working with top car manufacturers to implement our platform as part of the multimedia systems in various vehicles. Stay tuned to see how else our efforts are helping to combat distracted driving.

How do you keep yourself from getting distracted while driving? Share your ideas with us in a HearMeOut post!

 ** Are you following us on Social Media? Well, You should! Join us on
Linkedin, Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and of course on HearMeOut.** 

Hate Hearing the Sound of Your Own Voice? You’re Not Alone – Here’s Why (And how to solve it)

Remember when you first heard the sound of your own voice? Chances are that you were surprised – perhaps even displeased – at what you heard. The truth is, most people wince when hearing their voices played back for the first time in an audio or video clip. The question is why.

Why Do We Hate What We Hear?

Why does the voice we hear in our head sound so different from the voice that everyone else around us hears? The answer is biology. As the Washington Post’s Rachel Feltman aptly explains, there are vibrations that occur inside our body when we speak that no one else hears.

Let’s take a step back. When we hear other people talk, their sound waves come at us from the outside through our ear, causing our ear drum and inner ear to vibrate. Our brain then converts these vibrations into sound. When we, ourselves, speak, two things happen: Our ear drum and inner ear vibrate from the sound waves we’re emitting plus we also experience internal vibrations from our vocal cords and airways.  Scientifically speaking, this is referred to as air conduction and bone conduction.

When we speak, both air and bone conduction occur, and the internal vibrations from our vocal cords travel to our inner ear through our skull. According to Feltman, the acoustics in our skull tend to naturally lower the frequency of these vibrations, so the sound we end up hearing seems lower and richer in tone than it actually is.

This is why when we hear our voice from outside of our head, like in a video or audio clip, it may sound tiny and even unfamiliar. We’ve gotten used to how our voice sounds with all the added deep undertones from our body’s internal vibrations. No wonder hearing something different can take time to get used to.

Is There Anything To Do About It?

So, you hate the sound of your own voice. Is there anything that can be done about it? Aside from paying for a voice coach to work on your diction and timbre, why not just get to know your voice better? It’s safe to assume that most of us grew up before the age of social media and instant real-time opportunities to record ourselves. Back in the day, if we wanted to hear ourselves talking, we needed to haul out the old analog tape recorder and separate microphone. So hearing ourselves – and judging the sound – was a rare indulgence.

Fast forward to today, when capturing our lives and sounds on video and audio is as easy as saying “digital technology.” Therefore, the more you record yourself, the more chances you have to hear, get used to and appreciate the sound of your own voice. So go on, hit the record button.  Just be sure to having something worthwhile to say.

Were you surprised the first time you heard the sound of your own voice? Tell us about it in a HearMeOut Post! 

3 Things we’re thankful for this year

Posted by: Ally Benoliel, Marketing Manager, HearMeOut

It’s one of my favorite holidays! And as a turkey and yams fan, I can’t help but look forward to Thanksgiving – and it’s finally arrived.

I’d like to take this opportunity to list the 3 things that we’re thankful for at HearMeOut!

1. First of all, we’re super grateful to have YOU GUYS! We love listening to all of our users’ posts. We enjoy learning a little bit about everyone, and, of course, we love hearing all of your covers!

2. #CoverMe – There’s still time left, so if you haven’t joined the CoverMe competition, you still have a chance. All you have to do is record yourself singing any cover song (up to 42 seconds), post it on HearMeOut, and use the hashtag #CoverMe. At the end of December, we will be giving out a $50 Amazon gift card to the cover with the most likes. So sing, post and share your cover!

3. Cady Groves, one of our favorite singers and users is back on HearMeOut, and we just can’t get enough. So if you haven’t had a chance to follow her, now is the time! BTW, Cady Groves is also participating in the #CoverMe contest AND she’s listening to your covers.

As always, we want to hear what you’re thankful for, and we want to hear your voice! If you haven’t posted yet, be sure to post your thoughts and use the hashtag #Thanksgiving2016.

Looking forward to hearing from you.

Social media

Vine may have died, but there’s room for more!

Posted by: Ally Benoliel, Marketing Manager, HearMeOut

As a marketer, I’m always looking out for talent, influencers and trending artists. What I’ve come to find is that there is a whole world out there of various stars that, how can I put it, didn’t become stars in the conventional way. Meaning, when I was growing up, there weren’t as many channels as there are today. Talents today become famous on their own, simply by mastering social media.
Read more

The Next Step in Social Media? Consuming Content Powered by VOICE

Posted by: Ally Benoliel, Marketing Manager, HearMeOut

When we think about consuming content, we often think about articles, blogs, newspapers, magazines, YouTube videos, tutorials, vlogs, etc.

We’re here to talk about the next big step – content powered only by voice. It’s time to kick your shoes off, put on your favorite jammies and start creating some awesome stuff.

There are many factors that no longer need to be considered when posting content of this kind – looks, grammar and everything else that goes into writing a post or recording a video is no longer relevant. All you need to do is talk, talk and talk a bit more.

How does it work?

Simple. You record yourself using the app and start talking or singing – whatever floats your boat (or whatever comes to mind). In this judgment-free zone, you’re at liberty to talk about anything that comes to mind and post it for your friends to hear.

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Love to sing? Go ahead and post a song you wrote or even a cover, and have your friends and family listen to your post, like it, share it, repost it or even just comment on how much they enjoy hearing you sing.

Love stand-up? Interested in commentary? Go ahead, post your 42 seconds of audio and share it with the world.

When you think about it, how many of us have taken 50 different pictures just to post that one that came out OK? Put that behind you and feel comfortable and free behind your phone, where people can’t see you, only hear you.

Who’d enjoy this?

We’ve noticed different trends: Users recording themselves singing a note or two just to get some honest feedback; users commenting on different movies; and some who just like sharing their thoughts with other followers and even strangers at times. There are a whole bunch of different categories to choose from. You just need to pick the one that best fits your content.

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I personally love hearing them all and enjoy getting a sneak peek into other people’s minds. I’m inviting you to join in on the fun!

So really, this is for everyone.

Post your first recording and let’s hear what YOU have to SAY!

4 Reasons Why I Prefer Voice over Text

Posted by: Ally Benoliel, Marketing Manager

Yes, I realize I live among a generation that prefers to text absolutely everything. But deep down inside, there’s still a part of me that prefers voice. I prefer listening to my friends’ stories, hearing my little nephews laugh, and, yes, at the risk of sounding totally cliché, I also enjoy the sound of birds in the morning.

Don’t get me wrong, I do understand the importance of the written word, and, at times, I’d rather drop someone a line than have to play phone tag with them. But even so, I realize this is a form of communication that is slowly dying. So, I’d like to take the opportunity to talk about what I love about voice.

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Musicians – Innovate The Way You Engage with Your Audience by Using Your Voice!

Ask the Grateful Dead – they’ll tell you – it’s all about having a community around you, and keeping them motivated, engaged and excited about you and about what you do.
The web has brought countless ways to reach your fans, be it your Facebook fan page, twitter profile, YouTube channel, Instagram and probably some other ‘digital real estate’. Read more