Speech Technology Magazine Cover

July/August 2003

Magazine Features

"Conversational" Isn't Always What You Think It Is

During the past several years, many in the speech industry have focused a great deal of energy on promoting "conversational" interfaces in the name of usability and profitability. The claim is that this type of speech interface provides the best user experience and therefore will produce the best return on investment.> >

Most Innovative Solutions Awards 2003

Speech Technology Magazine (STM) is recognizing companies using creative speech-service applications. Organizations worldwide are increasingly using speech to improve customer service, increase revenues, empower workers and introduce other creative solutions. We have recognized solutions that have impacted organizations in ways that are innovative and unique. These solutions are changing the way companies do business and proving that speech will play a major role in a company's customer service, marketing and sales strategy.

Moving from the Art to the Science of Voice User Interfaces (VUIs)

Voice User Interfaces (VUIs) are moving from an art form to an applied science. Many ASR vendors include toolkits with modules for common interactions (like, entering a telephone number). While there are still uncertain areas in the voice transaction between a person and a computer, the understanding of requirements for successful, basic interactions is ever growing.

Speaking with One Voice

When one of the nation’s leading telecommunications companies introduced an automated speech application to provide independent verification of its new customers – a practice required by the FCC – it approached the “go-live date” with some trepidation. On that day, the automated application would replace live agents as an initial point of contact for new customers – a critical point in the customer relationship. How would customers respond?

State of Speech Standards

Speech standards include terminology, languages and protocols specified by committees of speech experts for widespread use in the speech industry. Speech standards have both advantages and disadvantages. Advantages include the following: developers can create applications using the standard languages that are portable across a variety of platforms; products from different vendors are able to interact with each other; and a community of experts evolves around the standard and is available to develop products and services based on the standard.

COLUMNS:

Forward Thinking

Controlled Languages and Speech Prompts

"Welcome to the Ajax speech application. It is possible to perform any of several actions at any time during this application, including the common actions of asking for help, transferring the call to an operator, stopping the application and returning to the main menu." This sample prompt is too long and confusing for most users. However, by using a controlled language, you can improve the prompt for your customers.

Human Factor

When You Don't Know When You Don't Know

During a break at a recent speech technology conference, a group of attendees were discussing the importance of learnability in their application designs. One participant advocated a particular method for classifying and dealing with recognition results as helpful.The scheme divided user utterances into three basic categories: high confidence matches; low-to-medium confidence matches; and “no-match” or out-of-grammar (OOG) utterances.

Industry View

Out of the Iron Age: Redefining Success

A recent visit to a major trade show (V-World) amidst continued blurry first quarter financial results from IVR platform vendors has led me to wonder if it’s time to give up some long-time analytical perspectives. No, this has nothing to do with New York’s ban on smoking, we’re way past that. It’s about Iron, hardware, ports – lots of them. Life was simple back in the Iron Age of call automation.

Talking Tech

Let's Get Creative!

Speech application developers have long understood the importance of good voice user-interface design. The telephone is the most intimate form of communication most consumer product and service companies have with their customers. Unlike advertising, or even the Web, it's the contact medium where customers are the most engaged and prone to form impressions, good or bad, of a company.

Voice Value

XyberKids: Helping Kids Assimilate

How does a company that provides wearable computer solutions for the military and corporate heavyweights, such as Federal Express, Bell Canada and Lockheed Martin, transition into helping kids with disabilities improve their communication and social skills? If you are Xybernaut, you modify your trademarked durable, droppable diminutive box into XyberKids, a product that not only helps kids interact, it helps them assimilate.

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