Thanks for a Good Year

Thanks to you, 2004 has been a good year for speech. Certainly more growth within this space is welcomed, but overall it has been a productive year for speech and that is reflected in the growth of SpeechTEK and Speech Technology Magazine .

Can speech expect higher growth rates next year? Who knows, but we do know that investment in companies providing speech technology is up from last year and, according to OPUS Research, there should be a 19.4 percent up tick in spending on server-side core speech technologies (2004 over 2003) as capital spending on IT infrastructure returns to historic rates. In addition, spending on hosted or managed systems that employ automated speech platforms is projected to grow at better than 50 percent (2004 over 2003) and maintain a supernormal growth rate over the next five years.

We also discovered this year that the following organizations have something in common: Vanguard, Bank of America, Fidelity, City of Montreal, US Postal Service, Meridan Environmental, DTE Energy, AIG VALIC, Grange Insurance, Prudential, University of Pennsylvania Health System, North Bronx Healthcare Network, Merrill Lynch, National City Mortgage, Michigan Department of Treasury, Alliant Energy, Foremost Insurance, Grand River Hospital, PacifiCare Health Plans, Bank of New York, Associated Ban-Corp, U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, State of Delaware, Mobile Gas and Electric, St. Paul Travelers, Nationwide, Aetna Insurance, Upper Chesapeake Health, Bell Canada, Burlington Northern and Santa Fe Railway, Calibrus, Liberty Wireless, New York City Department of Education, and Verizon. They are leading organizations that are deploying speech as part of an overall strategy to improve communications with customers and employees and they discussed their solutions at SpeechTEK this past September.

I am interrupting this column with a political observation: James Carville and Mary Matalin keynoted SpeechTEK this past September and, while I'm writing this prior to the November election, it certainly appears their commentary was right on point. Both candidates have focused on the issues James and Mary outlined throughout the final portions of their campaigns. Amazing. Now back to the column.
P.S. I approved this message.

Speech is rapidly becoming a more frequently used component in providing customer care for more and more organizations. This month Speech Technology Magazine is looking at ways speech impacts customer care beginning on page 20 as Jim Larson goes into detail on balancing customer care options. Jim's article, combined with stories from Bernhard Suhm on "Lessons Learned from Natural Language Call Routing" and Ted Bray on "What To Do When Callers Aren't Using Speech," provide you with proven ways to impact customer care opportunities with technology.

We asked Kenneth White, Harvey Ruback and Roberto Siccioni to examine the challenges associated with providing speech inside vehicles. Their story begins on page 27 and reviews the Audio Visual Speech Recognition project that hopes to improve the recognition rate for speech technology in automobiles and trucks.

Steve Ehrlich offers an interesting view of when and what are the best uses of packaged applications beginning on page 36. Steve, a valuable member of the STM Editorial Advisory Board among his many other achievements, has proven to be a major catalyst in making speech a more prominently deployed technology solution.

I must say a big thank you to all of the writers who have contributed to our publication this year. They have written articles designed to make speech a technology that is easier to understand and deploy. They have more than 300 years of experience covering, studying, and applying speech technology. Thanks to all of you.

The magazine's regular columnists are the heart and soul of this publication and we just do not give them the recognition they deserve. Judith Markowitz, Jim Larson, Mark Plakias, Robin Springer and Walter Rolandi regularly provide insight and opinion on the important issues impacting speech. They certainly don't do it for the pay (zippo) but they dedicate themselves to bringing you information that makes speech a technology that impacts our lives in a positive manner.

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