Speech Technology Magazine

 

Verizon's New 411 System: Is It a Live Operator, or Is It 'Darby'?

NEW YORK, NY - Verizon updates New York's 411 directory assistance with one of the largest Internet applications on the telephone network. Darby Bailey is the new voice of Verizon 411.
Posted Jul 1, 2004
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NEW YORK , NY - Verizon has enhanced its 411 directory assistance service, combining advanced speech-recognition and Internet technologies to handle routine, frequently requested business and government-listing requests, and when found, simply to deliver the number without the call ever reaching an operator. The newest version of 411 begins in Manhattan and the outer boroughs, and follows introduction of the service on Long Island and in Westchester, Syracuse , Albany , Buffalo and Binghamton in recent weeks.

Verizon is using the new system to handle routine, frequently requested business and government-listing requests, and when found, simply to deliver the number without the call ever reaching an operator. If there are options, such as a business with multiple locations in a given city, the system queries the customer, just as a live operator would, and then delivers the listing.

 

If a caller needs more than routine assistance, the call transfers to an operator for professional and expert service. The operator asks for further details and refines the search "Darby" began.

 

The voice of Verizon's 411 enhancement is Darby Bailey. Originally from Salt Lake City , she is recognized as one of the best voice-actors in the world for telephone applications. To customers, her voice sounds as though a live person is speaking, rather than a robotic phone prompt.

 

The system and technology that support the 411 enhancement are being provided by VoltDelta, the current provider of platform and database services to Verizon, and Tellme Networks, provider of the Internet and speech technologies and the application services.

 

Customers in New Jersey , Delaware , eastern Pennsylvania , Idaho , Washington , Nevada , Oregon , Arizona and California are already using the service.

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