United Airlines Japan and SpeechWorks Deploy Bilingual Speech-enabled Flight Information Service
TOKYO, JAPAN - United Airlines and SpeechWorks Japan K.K. announced the deployment of a new speech-enabled service that offers United Airlines customers access to flight information through a toll-free number. The system is based on SpeechWorks speech recognition technology with both Japanese and US English language capabilities, and has been developed by SpeechWorks Japan's local professional services team. United Airlines customers can now call 24 hours a day and speak into the phone in the language of their choice to check the real time status of any of United's nearly 1,800 daily flights. "With this new flight information service, United Airlines demonstrates its commitment to delivering superior service to customers around the world," said Kiyo Weiss manager of reservations & ticket sales at United Airlines. "The application builds on the success of our suite of SpeechWorks-powered telephone services launched in the US since 1997. Our flight information service for the US market has successfully handled over 50 million calls in the past 30 months. That's the equivalent of more than one call every other second. Our speech recognition services have saved United over $25 million in total. We credit our speech partner, SpeechWorks, for having the vision and the technology expertise to assist us in managing these call volumes and extending our service offering to our customers in Japan." After choosing the language in which they want to communicate - Japanese or English - callers can obtain flight information even if they don't know the flight number. They say the departure and destination cities along with the approximate departure or arrival time to obtain the status of the flight. The speech recognition system understands the spoken request and instantly responds with the most up-to-date information, including information on delayed departures and arrivals. The service is easy to use and delivers fast service by eliminating on-hold times. "SpeechWorks has enjoyed a very successful relationship with United Airlines in the United States and we are pleased to expand that relationship here in Japan," said Hiroshi Sakurai, General Manager, SpeechWorks Japan K.K. "United's speech strategy proves that speech recognition technology is a very powerful component of a company's customer service offering. This new flight information service will redefine customer expectations for friendly and efficient customer service in the Japanese travel industry." SpeechWorks has deployed several speech-enabled systems in the US for United Airlines including flight information, employee ticket reservations, Mileage Plus and baggage information. SpeechWorks delivered the new speech system on an Intel Dialogic platform.