Mobile: Is There an Enterprise App for That?

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Perhaps it’s because I’m still so enamored by the speech capabilities on my smartphone, a Motorola Droid, that I’m jonesing for more. The speech capabilities are incredibly useful and save me a lot of time I would otherwise spend keying in text, enabling me to have more downtime in my personal life. Used in a business setting, these apps would be considered productivity tools. Unfortunately, though, when it comes to mobile speech applications for the enterprise, there aren’t that many.

Vlingo, which offers mobile voice search capabilities similar to Google’s search application on my Droid, has made some advancements with its mobile speech interface. These are revealed in the feature, “Why Tap When You Can Talk?,” adapted from the book Advances in Speech Recognition: Mobile Environments, Call Centers and Clinics. Undoubtedly, consumers will find ways to use Vlingo’s mobile speech search interface for business purposes, much like I have used the mobile search application on my Droid to search for areas of interest, such as restaurants when planning a business dinner, and the mobile voice-enabled GPS to get turn-by-turn directions while traveling in a taxicab on business.

Although these are certainly helpful consumer tools for business use, Vlingo is focused mostly on the consumer market. This means other vendors must step in to serve the enterprise market with valuable mobile speech solutions. Some already have.

There are a few examples in Managing Editor Leonard Klie’s feature, “Speech in the Path of the Storm”. He underscores how local communities are able to prepare for hurricane season and any other natural disaster through the use of speech-enabled mass messaging systems. These solutions are proving extremely valuable in helping local communities reach a large group of people in a very short amount of time.

During my mobile speech applications panel at SpeechTEK in August, I mentioned how Angel (formerly Angel.com) came up with a phone-enabled CRM solution that allows sales and service professionals to access customer data in Salesforce.com and SugarCRM via the phone. This is the direction in which our industry needs to move.

If speech technology vendors can get remote workers to be as excited about using their mobile devices as I am, they’ll likely increase user adoption of CRM systems, which will be tremendously valuable to organizations. I’m pleased to see these early mobile speech applications for the enterprise and I’m sure we’ll see a lot more developments in the coming months.


Please join me in welcoming Speech Technology magazine’s latest staff addition, Editorial Assistant Kathleen Savino. Kathleen joins our team shortly after completing her M.F.A. in writing at Columbia University. Her first feature, “Coming into Focus,” in which she covers the benefits of focus groups to IVR design and offers tips on how to incorporate their feedback, appears on page 20. I’m delighted to have such a bright and talented writer on our team. Feel free to reach out to her at ksavino@infotoday.com.

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