Cheryl Alden, Marketing Director, VoiceGenie Technologies

NewsBlast:Tell us about GenieSummit.

Cheryl Alden: GenieSummit is a 2 ½ day event taking place June 7-9, 2004 in Toronto, Canada. The event is designed to cover the key issues surrounding speech-enabling technologies, bringing participants face to face with senior executives of some of the world's leading organizations including AT&T, Marriott Hotels, Oracle, Orange, Scotiabank and others, who have already deployed speech and are using it today as part of their integrated solutions for next-generation customer care. Reviewing and discussing their experiences implementing voice technology, attendees from all industries and business units will participate in informative and interactive sessions and get key insights, from both from the business user as well as technical perspective, into their specific experiences, i.e. what worked, what didn't, pitfalls to avoid as well as useful tips on how to achieve a smooth transition to speech-based services or how to extend existing deployments with complementary technology and applications. Respected analysts, like Gartner, will provide key market insights and offer recommendations for switching over to speech in your business.

  NB: Why should someone attend this event? CA: Given the nature of open standards, organizations considering speech deployments must do their homework to ensure that they are receiving best-in-breed technologies and services for their project. GenieSummit offers organizations who are considering speech solutions, or who are already using them, a forum that brings many of the leading speech technology and service vendors under one roof. GenieSummit also provides a unique opportunity for people to hear first-hand accounts of real-life speech applications - directly from the customers who have deployed it. This input and feedback from experts and actual users is of great value for businesses looking to deliver speech access to customers, those already delivering it, or others who just want to learn first-hand how their competitors are using speech to save time and money while improving customer care operations.   NB: What role does VoiceGenie play in delivering speech solutions? CA: VoiceGenie's work on VoiceXML dates back to the initial development of the standard. This history makes us one of the most mature and experienced vendors in the open-standards speech technology industry. Many of the world's largest VoiceXML deployments, supporting millions of customer calls each day, are running on the NeXusPoint open framework. VoiceGenie has an extensive partner network including some of the world's leading speech technology providers. Our open-standards VoiceXML platforms, tools and services provide customers with a flexible, scalable and reliable framework to build and deploy speech applications without the lock-in associated with proprietary systems.   NB: What partners will be participating in Genie Summit? CA: VoiceGenie will have extensive presence from our partner network at GenieSummit, both from a sponsorship level and as attendees taking advantage of the educational value of the conference. Our current sponsoring partners include Brooktrout, ScanSoft, VoiceObjects, Empirix, Intel, Multivision, Sprint Canada, Vocent and VoiceTrust.   NB: Why should a company become a VoiceGenie partner? How do you become a VoiceGenie partner?

CA: With standards-compliance becoming increasingly important for end-users and carriers, a partnership with VoiceGenie is a step in the right direction. Being one of the world's leading providers of VoiceXML platforms and open communications solutions, with millions of customer calls being answered every day, makes this decision even easier for potential partners. VoiceGenie offers an extensive partner program with various focuses and partner levels. For information on how to become a VoiceGenie partner, contact us directly at partners@voicegenie.com.

  NB: There have been some recent new additions to the VoiceGenie team, please tell us what this means for your company. CA: VoiceGenie recently announced the addition of a professional services group, let by Dr. Richard Rosinski. The decision to develop an in-house professional services practice is a direct response to increased demand from VoiceGenie customers to provide end-to-end solutions and these enhanced services will become a larger component of our business moving forward.  Dr. Rosinski's experience in managing high-performance application teams will be a great benefit to our customers, and we could not have found a more experienced, qualified and globally recognized professional services leader to take us to this next level of growth in our business.   VoiceGenie is also pleased to announce the appointment of John Cameron to the position of executive vice president, sales, marketing and business development. VoiceGenie's vision for growth is based on both continuing our success in the carrier space as well as penetrating new market segments in the enterprise market. John Cameron's long-time successful track record in channel sales, business development and the enterprise call center segment will prove very valuable in VoiceGenie's next phase of market expansion.   NB: We hear a lot about how customers are not served when organizations automate customer service. What do you think is the right balance between great customer service and automation? CA: VoiceGenie's systems are helping call center agents provide value to callers based on the kind of problem solving that can only be handled by a person. That really has been the historical evolution of this technology. From the very beginning, early success stories, such as Schwab, moved agents from routine tasks like reading quotes, to more valuable customer service activities. What this means from the call center manager's perspective is that call centers will become pools of experts, and skills-based routing or call direction based on speech recognition will become common. We already see numerous applications like those offered by AT&T on the VoiceGenie platform that ask broad open ended questions (How may I help you?) to provide customers with easier access to the right services.  

NB: Please discuss a couple of examples of recent deployments and explain why your client was interested in speech and the results from the deployments.

CA: One example for a recent deployment is Scotiabank. In September 2003, Global Finance magazine chose Scotiabank as the best Canadian Internet bank. Shortly after, Gomex Canada, a financial service consultancy, ranked Scotiabank as the country's No. 1 online retail bank, based on ease-of-use, customer confidence, onsite resources, relationship services, and overall cost, Canada's pioneer in telephone banking, Scotiabank was the first Canadian bank to offer banking through voice and speech recognition. Providing personalized banking and financial services to over 10 million customers worldwide, Scotiabank was looking into finding new ways to enhance and provide greater flexibility in their self-service offerings. To maintain leadership and competitiveness, Scotiabank wanted to reduce internal costs. Understanding the role of automated speech access in reducing operational costs, Scotiabank decided to speech-enable self-service applications that would automate routine internal processes for employees, improve customer satisfaction, reduce operational costs and increase revenues. Sticking to these core objectives has paid off, earning Scotiabank its top spot for customer service among Canadian banks.

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