A Movable Finish Line

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Business managers and executives usually aren’t intimately familiar with a  technology or how it is used in business workflows. All too often, though,  they control the fate of technology projects. Many want to invest as little time and  money into a project and have the results pay off in perpetuity. Who wouldn’t? But  that’s not practical—technology projects are often never-ending.

"A grammar is a living thing," states one VUI expert in our feature story "The  Elements of Style," by Editorial Assistant Ryan Joe. His story touches on three main  elements to VUI design: grammars, prompts and dialogue flow—all of which should  be tested and tuned periodically.

Michael Darish, an engineering student at the University of Massachusetts-Lowell, understands this long-term commitment. The feature, "A Helping Hand," by Assistant  Editor Lauren Shopp, explains how Darish created assistive speech technology to help  5-year-old Anna Magliano, who was paralyzed in a car accident when she was 2 years  old. If the photo of Anna with her family doesn’t warm you, the story will. It’s an  inspiring one that makes me proud to be a part of the speech industry.

Another reason a commitment to speech technology should be long term is that there are countless variables in a speech technology project, one of which is technology advancement. The feature, "Analytics Analyzed," also by Lauren Shopp, confirms  this by taking a look at the growing speech analytics market, which has grown 391 percent annually from 2004 to 2006, according to the story. The feature offers some tips for selecting the most appropriate speech analytics vendor for your company.

Then there are times when technology has evolved so much and has become so pervasive that it forces companies to see things differently and even change their customer service strategies. Our cover story, "Bridging the Gap," by Senior Editor Leonard Klie, acknowledges the large-scale consumer adoption of the Web, email, and chat and focuses on integrating speech technology with these self-service applications to create a unified self-service strategy.

Now, the question remains: How do we get business executives to stay committed to speech technology projects? One solution is creating small projects that generate quick wins. The excitement generated by these wins is often infectious and is a catalyst for more excitement over future projects.

We actually had some quick wins of our own. Information Today, Inc., has owned Speech Technology magazine for a little more than one year. In that time, we completely redesigned the magazine and Web site, hired three full-time editors, initiated daily news coverage with original stories on our Web site, redesigned our email newsletter, and increased circulation for that newsletter from 10,000 subscribers to 25,000. What’s more, almost 40 percent of our magazine subscribers consist of new names added between June 2006 and May 2007. We also increased C-level and executive-level readership from 44 percent in May 2006 to 60 percent in May 2007. We hope that you like what we’ve done so far and what we will continue to do so moving forward.

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