It's All About Adding Value

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Speech technology, like any technology, will not be successful unless it provides value. The more value it provides, the more successful it will be.

One area that is positioned to add a lot of value to enterprises is speech analytics, which is covered in the feature story, "Mining for Meaning," by Assistant Editor Lauren Shopp. If companies can record customer service calls for quality assurance and search the audio files for red-flag terms, then they can generate more accurate quality assurance scores in a fraction of the time it would take to listen to a live random sampling of their agents. Recording and analyzing customer service calls not only benefits quality assurance efforts, but companies can also glean an immense amount of valuable customer feedback on company, competitor, and customer information—such as customers who are likely to take their business elsewhere.

Another area where automated speech provides tremendous value is already commonplace in the United States—IVRs. As companies continue to participate in the developing global economy, it makes sense to leverage this technology in different regions around the world. However, it would be a big mistake to assume that word-for-word translations from English to another language are correct. It’s also not safe to assume that someone who is fluent in a language can write the IVR script for all who speak that language. Furthermore, it’s even inadvisable to have an expatriate write an IVR script. Read our cover story, "¿Cómo?" by Editorial Assistant Ryan Joe, to see why companies need to pay attention to linguistic and cultural differences when building an IVR for a particular region.

In the spirit of providing value, we’re looking to do the same at SpeechTEK 2008, coming to the New York Marriott Marquis August 18–20. The SpeechTEK 2008 advance program, bundled with this issue, is complete. We have a great program for you, thanks to the hard work of conference cochairs Susan Hura and Jim Larson.

We secured some insightful keynote speakers for this event: Ray Kurzweil, one of the most distinguished speech technology innovators of our time, will talk about the future of speech technology. James Canton will address what companies need to know to prepare for the new consumer. There is also an exciting late addition, which we were not able to include in the advance program before it went to the printer: Kevin Mitnick, a famous former-hacker-turned-security-expert, has agreed to deliver a keynote address about pressing security issues.

SpeechTEK 2008 will have separate tracks for business leaders, VUI designers, developers, and those interested in advanced speech technologies. This conference is a great forum for anyone interested in deploying speech technology for business applications. Register today using the code on the cover of this issue for a steep discount off of the regular price.

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