Speech Technology Magazine

 

It's Time to Join AVIOS

By Richard Rosinski - Posted Mar 6, 2005
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The Applied Voice Input /Output Society (AVIOS) is the only professional society that is dedicated to promoting the development and diffusion of real world applications of speech technology. This industry is first and foremost about making technology useful to people; this has been the emphasis of AVIOS since its inception.

AVIOS was initially established in the early 1980s. A non-profit, member organization, AVIOS has extended its focus from an annual applied speech technology conference to education about varied applications of speech technology, and to providing technical information for individuals and companies venturing into this area.

Now that speech technology applications have become commonplace, the mission of AVIOS has expanded from educating users to being a professional society for technologists in the speech industry. In addition to propagating the designs, tools and standards that facilitate work in the industry, AVIOS conferences have focused on speech technology application developers with sessions on technical standards, user interface design, and development tools and platforms.

Why Join a Professional Society?

In addition to the tangible benefits, membership in a professional society offers individuals the opportunity to support or be actively involved in applied research, communications and programs in the field. AVIOS holds meetings and conferences that build community as well as describe technical work. Most importantly, AVIOS provides a way to share the responsibility for these activities among many practitioners; a framework in which we, from all disciplines, can be professionals. Many members list the opportunity to network with their professional peers to be one of the important aspects of membership.

The AVIOS board of directors recently completed a survey of a sample of the membership to see what members valued most about their participation. Among the top responses was the ability to network with their peers in the industry, keep up to date with current knowledge about speech, and access to research on best practices and on implementation. Many praise the excellent conference sessions on UI design, and on vertical applications, and especially good industry keynote addresses in the conferences.

For companies, participation in a professional society like AVIOS is important because of the profile that it creates for peoples' careers. Publishing papers, participation at local society meetings, and making presentations help to reinforce and validate the quality and the capability of your people and company. Corporate sponsors also benefit from a recognition of their role in the speech technology industry, as well as product recognition awards that AVIOS makes among competing entries at the annual conference. AVIOS' survey found that most find the society useful for providing leads, for influencing the sales of their products, and all universally had praise for the conference exhibitor experience.

Professional societies are especially important for those who are new to the industry. Various short courses, workshops, and topical conferences are offered throughout the year. The AVIOS tutorials on Speech Recognition, Speech Synthesis, and Voice User Interface Design stand out as the best and most well attended in the entire industry. AVIOS has recently extended this informative program to include traveling quarterly road shows that provide easy-to-attend reviews of what's going on in the speech community. The Road Show program is essentially a free one-day educational session concentrating on the practical aspects of deploying speech applications. The 4Q 2004 program included sessions on Voice User Interfaces in the Mobile Environment, Multimodal Interfaces, Building Successful Speech Applications, and a Video-Based Usability Testing Tutorial.

AVIOS, as a professional society, plays an important industry role in advocacy of best practices, tools, and standards. For the last few years, the VoiceXML Forum has held intensive 2-day tutorials immediately preceding the AVIOS speech tutorials. A number of members and directors of AVIOS also play a role on the VoiceXML Forum.

Now with an initiative to organize local chapters worldwide, AVIOS offers a common ground for peers to interact. If there's not a local chapter in your area, get involved in forming one. Local chapter or section meetings provide opportunities to meet, share ideas, and develop relationships with others in your area, and larger meetings provide a national or international experience.

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