Nuance Springs Internal Speech Applications

Nuance is boosting employee productivity, self-service communications, and business continuity with the release of its suite of speech-enabled enterprise applications. The speech and imaging solutions provider launched SpeechAttendant Large Enterprise Edition (SA-LEE), which is designed for enterprises with 25,000 or more directory listings.

Companies of this size, more often than not, have an internal IT help desk that receives thousands of calls from employees who need to find the telephone number of another employee, reset one of their multiple passwords to various applications, or send out a broadcast message to several key people.

The core technology for the large enterprise solution is a carry-over from Nuance's acquisition of Phonetics Systems; however, the application add-ons and the capabilities therein are brand new. The SA-LEE core solution combines auto attendant and directory services to bypass the need to manually search directories or wait for operator assistance. Using the auto attendant, employees place internal calls by speaking a name of a person or department.

"This demonstrates growth outside of the contact center and this is the prototype for the types of inbound calls that come in through the enterprise front doors," says Dan Miller, senior analyst at Opus Research. "Nuance had a lot of acquisitions over the years from LocusDialog to Phonetics. They have a lot of intellectual property that they have knit together here. Between developments that are going on among the major enterprise infrastructure providers—Cisco, Avaya, and eventually Microsoft—this is capturing a trend towards unified communications."

SA-LEE includes employee password reset, an application that allows an employee to reset his own password via the telephone for over 60 enterprise applications using his voiceprint to confirm identity.  The software suite provides employee roll call, which enables an employee to call into the system, say her name, and confirm her status. The release provides call redirects, a voice-controlled application that forwards an employee's call to any eight numbers. SA-LEE offers broadcast messaging, automation of emergency broadcasts to management, response teams, and employees. Employees can also benefit from its self-service information center for around-the-clock access to employee directory information.

Miller, who maintains the suite is like a "rebirth of the virtual personal assistant," sees the effects of technologies such as these as "a tighter bonding of companies with their employees. It grows out of corporate voicemail. Just as it is routine for employees to dial into their voicemail box, given a year or so, employers are going to expect to have the same kind of support of speech as they have of store-and-retrieve voicemail. As a matter of fact, this is an easier way for individuals calling to reach a particular employee to easily leave a message or reach them on a wireless."

The speech-enabled solution eliminates routine, internal help-desk calls by automating directory assistance and password resets, freeing the operator for more complex calls and accomplishing employee tasks more efficiently. The additional SA-LEE applications provide business continuity and emergency/disaster recovery support with 24/7 access to employee information and accurate call routing and reporting.

Commenting on the maturity of the speech technology market, Mark Geremia, Auto Attendant marketing manager with Nuance, says "Speech is now mainstream enough to take to employee pools. Organizations with upwards of 25,000 employees need to have speech applications in place because it enhances the organization's communications."

Miller agrees: "The benefits are how easily you can invoke these commonly used things. It is getting calls steered efficiently to employees according to their instructions. We are seeing a lot more intelligence go into enterprise routing infrastructure, meaning that it is possible for me to indicate when I do or do not want to be interrupted. These capabilities have been around for a fairly long time. That you can invoke these capabilities with spoken instructions means that we are likely to see them more broadly adopted, because they are not as complicated to set up as they once were."

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