Promising Solutions for the New Year

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When it comes to technology development and maturation, 2009 was a good year for speech technology. It saw rising interest in solutions with a lot of potential, such as outbound IVR, speech analytics, speaker verification, and on-demand/hosted applications. 

In fact, I moderated a Webinar round table discussion, called “Speaker Verification On Demand in Real-World Solutions" in December that touched on two of the aforementioned solutions. The Webinar featured Judith Markowitz, a regular columnist for Speech Technology magazine and president of J. Markowitz Consultants; Lynn Jobe, director of on-demand solutions at Convergys; and Karen Kaushansky, senior user experience designer at Tellme Networks. What makes this technology so compelling is that the low-cost, on-demand approach to speaker verification solves some of the painful implementation hurdles of on-premises solutions (i.e., they take too long to implement, require a large capital expenditure, and require a speech-enabled IVR). So, the participating vendors have lowered the barrier to entry for speaker verification, but how do companies know if on-demand speaker authentication solutions will work for them? What are some performance metrics companies should use to know if speaker verification is working? How do performance metrics affect highly international organizations differently than smaller, regional organizations? These questions, and others, were answered by the panelists in the Webinar, which acted as a good primer on the key issues facing speaker verification. And, it was one of only a few I’ve moderated that could have easily gone on for another hour—we received that many questions from the audience, which is a good indicator of viewer interest. (Visit www.speechtechmag.com/webinars/ to view the Webinar.)

There’s no doubt that interest in promising speech technology will continue into 2010. On January 28, we’re conducting our next Webinar round table on outbound IVR systems, called “Outbound IVR—Surprising New Trends.” The round table features Daniel Hong, lead analyst of customer interaction at Ovum, and speakers from Avaya, Contact Solutions, CSG Interactive Messaging, and Nuance Communications. Attend this Webinar to see why companies are opting for a more personalized method of communications with their customers. 

Much of the interest in up-and-coming speech technology is reflected in this issue. For more details on what was hot in 2009 and what looks promising for 2010, read our two feature stories, “With Hard Work Comes Prosperity” (page 14) and “Speech Claws Its Way Forward” (page 20), by Leonard Klie and Adam Boretz, respectively. While the industry, like others, will face challenges ahead, these solutions are proof that speech is continuing to prove its value. 

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