Nuance Listens, Smartly

Nuance Communications today released SmartListener software, which allows enterprise speech solutions to handle unexpected caller inputs. The software ultimately helps businesses increase savings from their speech applications by producing a higher number of satisfied customers, a lower number of callers opting out, and a shorter duration of automated calls.  

A traditional problem with speech recognition is that certain caller utterances may reasonably answer a prompt but  still fall outside the recognized grammar, thereby confusing the system. Misrecognitions or repeats frustrate callers, but SmartListener technology is designed to recognize such out-of-grammar responses.  

SmartListener is delivered through Nuance’s Adaptive Grammar Engine, which augments grammars. The engine alters typical grammars programmed into an IVR into what Nuance calls an "adaptive grammar," which more accurately reflects the colloquialisms and vernacular a caller may use.  

"The adaptation process takes advantage of real-world out-of-grammar data from Nuance’s deployed applications," says Jeff Foley, senior manager of solutions marketing at Nuance. "Tuning and improvements to the application can continue to be made on the original grammar and then transformed again via the Adaptive Grammar Engine."

The technology was developed after analysis of the Nuance Deployment Datatbank, which consists of data and metadata regarding utterances all over the world. SmartListener is an attempt to productize the information in the Databank.  

"While SmartListener certainly doesn’t give full access to all the lessons and results our services team can pull out from the Databank and our past experiences and deployments, it does provide a great way to improve accuracy by eliminating those out-of-grammar errors that vastly outnumber actual engine misrecognitions," Foley says.

Nuance tested SmartListener with select customers to optimize the menu interface. Currently, SmartListener has four customers in production with the technology.

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