Speech Technology Satisfies Various Needs

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Often, I’m reminded of speech technology’s growing value to our society. But a near car crash made it clear to me that many of today’s young drivers still don’t understand that speech technology is essential for the safety of themselves and those around them.

The day after my wife, Galia, and I had taken a defensive driving course, Galia spotted a car on the highway swerving out of its lane toward our vehicle. Startled, she looked at the driver and noticed that the young woman, while cruising at roughly 60 mph, was looking down at her lap where her hands were; her eyes were scanning the area below the steering wheel. She appeared to be texting.

You can imagine my shock and concern, especially with my wife in the passenger seat and my six-month-old daughter in the back seat. I was reminded of something our defensive driving instructor had told us the day before: Young people think it’s OK to text and drive because they are so familiar with their devices that they can type without looking at the keyboard.

However, while they may be adept at eyes-free typing, they can’t read messages without looking at their mobile devices. So, folks, sorry, but because you still have to take your eyes off the road to read messages, your argument doesn’t hold water. That’s why it’s important to use a speech-enabled application that can read and type messages for you.

Hopefully, as speech becomes more pervasive, more young people will use the technology while driving. The development, awareness, and adoption of this technology on the road are largely furthered by some of the vendors in this year’s Speech Industry Awards. Thank you to those vendors for helping to make the roads safer. But the value of speech doesn’t end there.

The technologies, such as speech analytics, help to identify ways to improve customer interactions, cut costs, and more. Two of our four Speech Implementation award winners—Bank of Montreal and ING Direct Canada—were recognized for their ability to accomplish these tasks using speech analytics. More companies are evaluating voice biometrics to bolster security and identity verification efforts. And, as sales of mobile devices climb, more people will use mobile voice search capabilities to locate nearby businesses of interest.

Those are just a few examples of how the vendors in this year’s Speech Industry Awards are helping organizations. As these technologies mature and people’s comfort levels with them rise, we’ll likely see more interesting uses of speech in enterprises. As for now, momentum appears to be moving in the right direction, as the general perception of speech grows more positive. This is largely due to the hard work and dedication of the companies and the people in this year’s awards.

As interest in driver safety, enterprise cost cutting, customer satisfaction, and speaker identification and verification continues to grow, opportunities for the speech industry abound. This year’s Speech Industry Awards recipients have proven they are prepared for these opportunities. Congratulations to the companies and people recognized in this issue. May their efforts continue to drive the industry forward.

Editorial Director David Myron can be reached at dmyron@infotoday.com.

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