Speech Permeates the Enterprise

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By now, you’ve likely heard that the challenging economy is forcing companies to do more with less. To stay competitive, companies are turning to automation to cut costs, improve business processes, and increase customer satisfaction. As a result, speech technology is moving beyond the call center and further penetrating other enterprise departments. (See our cover story, “Freedom in the Field,” for more on this trend.) That’s why the theme for the SpeechTEK 2009 conference is Speech in the Enterprise. 

SpeechTEK 2009 will be held at the New York Marriott Marquis (August 24–26). We’ll kick off the conference with an opening keynote from Paul Greenberg, president of The 56 Group and author of CRM at the Speed of Light. He’ll explain how recent technological developments have shifted the balance of power into the customers' favor and why it is critical to understand the true voice of the customer. Jeffrey Rayport, founder and chairman of Marketplace, former Harvard Business School professor, and author of Best Face Forward: Why Companies Must Improve Their Service Interfaces With Customers, will deliver the Tuesday morning keynote. He’ll share how companies looking to implement speech technology can learn from sophistication that is emerging in other customer-facing technologies.  

The general sessions are chock-full of great presentations for business and technology professionals. Business leaders can attend a variety of sessions, including those on leveraging speech technology in a difficult economy, outbound messaging, analytics, delivering personalized caller experiences, trends in voice search, multimodal user experiences, and low-cost, hosted speech solutions. Voice user interface (VUI) designers will benefit from the VUI track, which offers a session on each of the following: standards, error prevention and recovery, understanding caller behavior, improving alphanumeric recognition, designing for Spanish and English speakers, and designing for cultural differences. Sessions for advanced speech technologists and developers cover trends toward natural speech, advanced dialogue strategies, evolving standards, advanced integration techniques, natural language processing, advanced automatic speech recognition applications, next-generation dialogue systems, VUI considerations for speaker identification, improving grammars, new development languages, and tuning. 

Any one of the aforementioned professionals can also benefit from the slew of case study presentations. We’ll have presentations on speaker verification from TD Waterhouse, mobile speech from deCarta, call steering from Medco Health, improving business processes and revenue from Australia Post and Integrity Construction Group, analytics from Pitney Bowes and Cricket Communications, and improving service with speech-enabled interactive voice response systems from Continental Airlines.  

This year we are introducing a new showcase, In Beta, which enables attendees to get a sneak peek at speech technologies that are not yet commercially available. We are also bringing back the SpeechTEK Lab, where attendees can evaluate speech synthesis tools, speaker identification and verification solutions, and mobile devices. 

Thanks to the help of Conference Co-chairs Jim Larson, vice president of Larson Technical Services, and Susan Hura, vice president for user experience at Product Support Solutions, this year’s program is brimming with great sessions for speech technology buyers and builders. See for yourself and attend SpeechTEK 2009 (www.SpeechTEK.com). 

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