Enterprise Integration Group Expands Operations into Europe

NEW YORK, NY - Enterprise Integration Group Inc. (EIG) announced at SpeechTEK 2002 the creation of EIGeurope, AG—a joint venture between EIG and Iuno Innovations. EIGeurope—headquartered in Zurich—will bring a European-customized version of the workshops and consulting services currently offered by EIG in the U.S. Interactive Voice Response (IVR) technologies have achieved worldwide penetration according to Paul Celen, President of EIGeurope. "Although there have been some amazing successes," he said, "the IVR business and speech recognition in particular still suffer from a number of fundamental slowing forces." He expects the new joint venture to effect change in these forces. EIGeurope is launching a major investigation into a number of usability issues that confront IVR systems today. "Both speech recognition and touch-tone systems carry significant risk and often produce disappointing results," said Celen. The goal of the investigation is to discover methods for simplifying the speech and touch-tone user interface, and to reduce or eliminate the customization required to translate IVR systems across languages. Celen comes to EIGeurope from a long and distinguished career in high technology, including his role as COO and Executive Vice President for Philips Speech Processing. He noted, "Customer self-service via telephone is the best fit for these technologies; once they are applied competently and with full attention to usability, the industry will evolve quickly." Rex Stringham, Executive Vice President for EIGeurope, and President and CEO of EIG, added, "Speech recognition, touch-tone, and multi-modal interface technologies are at the stage where they call for a new generation of IVR methods and practices. But many practitioners are off-course. EIGeurope is important because it will give EIG a multi-cultural and international basis on which to ground our design methodologies—in effect internationalizing IVR best practices." Bruce Balentine, Vice President of Speech Technologies for both EIGeurope and EIG, Inc., agreed. "The trend today is to 'localize' an application for maximum user satisfaction in a specific region of the world." Such localization is expensive, time-consuming and risky, he said. Instead, EIGeurope expects to identify common and universal attributes of speech that will make differences between languages and cultures less important. "The process is called language normalization," said Balentine, "and we expect to find methods that will significantly reduce the cost of IVR design and development when multiple languages must be supported." The investigation is being funded by participating sponsors, and is currently underway. Results of the investigation—which uses five languages in Europe to create language-normalization benchmarks—will be tested in future studies in the U.S., Asia and the Pacific Rim, Africa, and South America. Enterprise Integration Group Inc. is an independent consulting firm specializing in improvement of interactive voice response self-service solutions for both touchtone and speech recognition.
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