May you try to understand what I’m saying

29.12.2020 | Author: Stefanie Pichlmair | Photos: Shutterstock

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Voice navigation: The concept of orientation is currently experiencing a revolution.

It’s not so easy to really understand each other. Whether or not we understand what the other person wants to tell us depends on multiple factors: pitch, dialect, ambient noise – and, of course, whether we can follow the content of what’s actually being said. In other words, understanding each other is more of a miracle than a matter of course. The what3words positioning system wants to help us say exactly what we want. And where we want to go.

Consider this typical situation between man and woman: She speaks, his gaze wanders, and she gets the sneaking suspicion that what she just said is not really sinking in. And now, maybe they have that troubling question between them: Why don’t you ever listen to me? I always listen to you! Communication always means a possibility for misunderstanding. But if his thoughts stray, it’s not necessarily because her story was uninteresting. Instead, it could be because men have to work harder to understand what women are saying acoustically.

Voices are part of communication.

Anatomy is to blame: men’s and women’s vocal cords come in different shapes and sizes. According to a study by scientists at the University of Sheffield, this means that men and women have different speech melodies. In turn, women are able to produce many more frequencies. Research shows that this often makes it more difficult for men to process a female voice, since the regions of the brain that process music must become active. If men listen to other men, however, this is processed in another area of the brain that doesn’t require as much energy.

This is why GPS users can use the settings to choose whether the voice giving directions should be male or female. In this way, users can decide for themselves which voice they understand better. At the University of Miami, a research team has found an explanation for why a special type of voice is preferred in navigation systems: humans consider deep, clear, and resonant voices to be more trustworthy than higher pitched ones.

So, the voice itself is a factor in determining whether you understand the other person well or not. But a clear and understandable way of expressing yourself is just as important. Listeners like clear and simple sentences. They are easier to understand.

Illustration of a navigation icon with wave-like speech bubbles underneath to represent the voice.

Navigation without misunderstandings.

The team at what3words is working on exactly that: to make navigation as clear as possible. The creators of what3words have divided the whole earth into three-by-three-metre squares and assigned three words to each square. Very simple, very clear, and no misunderstandings. These three-word addresses are starting to appear on more and more company websites and in travel guides, and they can also be accessed directly via the what3words app. They have a big advantage over GPS coordinates in that they are easier to remember and pronounce, but at least as accurate. Compared to normal addresses, this system can also be used to reach places that have no address. Mercedes-Benz vehicles with the MBUX multimedia system can use the three-word system via the optional Mercedes me service. The system really guides you everywhere, whether you want to go to the hidden side entrance of a complex of buildings or to a clearing in the forest for a secluded chat – without any misunderstandings.

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