April Fool's, Communications-Style

April 1, 2005 (PLANSPONSOR.com) - Although many people will have been fooled by April Fool's Day jokes today, the people who might be the deepest shade of crimson are the ones who fell for a joke by Norway's Opera Software ASA.

In a news release Friday – April Fool’s Day – the software company declared that it had created “a platform-independent speech solution for short- and medium-range interpersonal communication.” Any guesses what this actually means in plain English?

The answer: the human voice.

The fake product, Opera SoundWave, was touted as a “breakthrough” by the company, who said it had a range of 100 feet and could be tested without special equipment. How to do this? According to the company, just ask someone near you,

“What is today’s date?”

The company went on to state that ‘Opera’s patent-pending P2P speech technology uses analogue signals carried through open air, enabling users to communicate in real-time without the use of computers or mobile phones.”

For those that are even more slow on the uptake, the release went on to state that the product was discovered accidentally when an Opera technician said something, and a colleague understood.

“Like most people, I have used e-mail as my primary means ofcommunication for many years and accepted that it is not always 100 % effective,” said Trond Werner Hansen, of Opera, in the jokestatement. “SoundWave has opened up a whole new world for me, enablingme to get things done faster and more efficiently than before – and itis remarkably easy to use.”

You can “demo” the product at http://www.opera.com/soundwave/ .