AT&T Introduces AT&T VoiceTone Service
AT&T introduced AT&T VoiceTone, a "high-touch," carrier grade, end-to-end automation solution that integrates conversational speech technology with a full suite of contact center networking services, from traditional toll-free service and interactive voice response (IVR) systems to AT&T-hosted and managed multimedia contact center applications. Backed by AT&T's knowledge in networking reliability, scalability and security, the service also gives businesses a Web-based "window" to monitor the performance of their contact center networking infrastructure. "The service makes it possible for customers to hold natural conversations with computer-based systems that understand what they say and mean, and that respond to them to fulfill their request," said Eric Shepcaro, vice president, AT&T application services. "With AT&T VoiceTone, we are changing the automation paradigm by giving businesses more options to communicate with customers, from pre-defined, menu-driven prompts to free-flowing dialogue that can help customers complete their transactions even more quickly." Based on open standards, the service uses dialogue automation, an array of technologies such as the conversational speech capabilities developed by AT&T Labs, to mimic the experience of speaking to a live agent with minimal to no agent involvement. "Speech applications are rapidly becoming the standard customer interface for contact centers," said Elizabeth Herrell, vice president Giga Research, a subsidiary of Forrester Research. "Developing a quality speech application requires expertise in the development of the application, designing an effective user interface and continuous tuning and testing. Many organizations lack these skills internally and find turnkey hosted solutions provide the services needed for effective deployment for speech applications." AT&T VoiceTone supports an extensive speech recognition vocabulary and powerful natural language understanding technologies, which determine the intent of a customer's request. These innovative capabilities enable VoiceTone to offer a customer experience that more closely mimics natural dialogue. In addition, the flexibility of AT&T VoiceTone means it can be integrated partially or fully into a company's customer service operations. "AT&T has long been an innovator in the contact center networking industry, which we helped create with the introduction of toll-free service in 1967," said Shepcaro. "By integrating best-in-class speech technologies with our reputation in network-based contact center solutions, we believe this service can significantly improve the experience of interacting with a call center while delivering dramatic performance and productivity efficiencies to a business."