3 Developing Speech Technology Trends for 2014

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There are a variety of trends emerging in the speech technology industry this year, but the key three—revealed in this year's Speech Industry Awards—involve advancements in voice biometrics, analytics, and visual IVR. Before delving into these trends, though, it's important to recognize a significant change we've made to this year's awards—one that has helped us recognize the current market shifts.

We needed a more flexible format for our industry awards that doesn't force us to regularly assess sometimes slow-moving industry sectors. Our awards had to be less structured, so that we could focus on the larger industry developments as well as key accomplishments from smaller companies. That's why we replaced our Market Leader awards with our newly expanded Star Performer awards. The open structure of our Star Performer awards gives us exactly what we were looking for, which is why we've increased the number of award recipients in this section from four companies last year to 15 this year.

Speech technology companies will no longer only compete against other organizations in niche categories (such as speech engine, contact center outsourcing, or mobile voice search), but against all speech technology vendors. By focusing on the broader market, and not merely pockets in the industry, we can broaden the scope of the awards and effectively make them more competitive. Simply put, this year's Star Performer awards represent the most innovative speech technology companies across the entire market.

Now, back to the three key areas that are getting the most attention. The first one, voice biometrics, has two components—fraud detection (used by contact centers to authenticate callers) and mobile voice authentication (for mobile device security). During the past year, NICE, Nuance, and Verint released fraud detection solutions, but there was even more activity around mobile voice authentication, with recent releases from Nuance, Sensory, SpeechPro, and VoiceVault.

Four of our Star Performers contributed to advancements in analytics, the second biggest trend. Aspect unveiled its real-time speech analytics to alert agents and supervisors with valuable interaction intelligence. Nexidia released its neural phonetic speech analytics to capture valuable data in unstructured audio and video recordings. NICE offers speech analytics for sentiment analysis. And Verint is staying true to its contact center focus with interaction, fraud, and risk analytics announcements.

Jacada is the only Star Performer that is contributing to the third developing technology, visual IVR. However, this is an important development that will likely spark some more attention as organizations realize how it can expedite automated calls using touchscreens.

For a more complete picture of these and other industry trends, read our Speech Industry Awards.

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