Biographical Information

Deborah Dahl

Principal - Conversational Technologies

610-888-4532

Dr. Deborah Dahl is a consultant in speech and natural language technologies with 25 years of experience. She is an expert on standards, chairing the W3C's Multimodal Interaction Group, and serving as a member of the Voice Browser Group. She is the editor of the book Practical Spoken Dialog Systems.

Articles by Deborah Dahl

Encountering a Technical Problem? You Too Can Be a Standards Author

Your brilliant new idea might just end up becoming a popular solution

The Internet of Things Needs a Lingua Franca

With the proliferation of smart speakers, voice interaction with home devices is becoming increasingly common, and on the horizon are voice interactions with an ever greater number of smart environments—cities, offices, classrooms, factories, and healthcare settings. Developers will need to be on the same page

Video: 6 Ways to Improve VAs via Better Language Understanding

Conversational Technologies Principal Deborah Dahl lays out a plan for making more virtual assistants more effective in this clip from her keynote at SpeechTEK 2019.

Video: The Current State of Conversational Systems

Conversational Technologies Principal Deborah Dahl discusses the state of the art for the three pillars of conversational systems in this clip from her keynote at SpeechTEK 2019.

Video: More Targeted Knowledge Can Improve Today's VAs

Conversational Technologies Principal Deborah Dahl explains how more targeted enterprise knowledge could make VAs more effective in organizations in this clip from her keynote at SpeechTEK 2019.

NLU Results Shouldn’t Be Proprietary

A common format for natural language tools would make everyone's life easier

Integrating TTS in Web Browsers Is Harder Than It Sounds

Text-to-speech for webpages has to tackle modern English's dizzying complexity

The Right Standard Makes Developers’ Jobs a Lot Easier

You'll never know whether a standard's a good fit if you don't try it out

Deep Learning, Big Data, and Clear Standards

For natural language tools to take on greater complexity, they'll need consistent, agreed-upon data annotations

4 Speech Technology Standards That Need to Happen ASAP

With new technologies appearing all the time, standards must keep pace

Let’s Get Siri, Cortana, and Alexa to Work Together

A new W3C community group is exploring ways to make virtual assistant platforms interoperable

EMMA 2.0 Lets Applications Decide What to Tell You—and How

Information can be graphical or spoken, depending on context

The AVIOS Student Contest Salutes Tomorrow's Speech Talent

In its 10th year, the competition yields apps for everyday use

Voice Should Be User-Friendly—to All Users

Experts work to make speech solutions accessible to the cognitively impaired

Talking to Everything: User Interfaces for the Internet of Things

Communication between objects is only the beginning

Media Standards for the Web: WebRTC and WebAudio

WebRTC and WebAudio add speed and simplicity.

Remembering Scott McGlashan

May 4, 1963-February 12, 2014

EMMA Success Leads to New Challenges

GPS, data analysis top innovations list.

Talking to the World

Speech applications don't exist in a vacuum.

Discovering Multimodal Components

Wider use of apps offers broad potential

New Directions in Natural Language Understanding

Watson and Siri are only the beginning.

Enter EMMA 1.1

Getting more out of multimodal inputs

Speaking to Web Pages

New speech integration ideas show promise for 2012.

Giving a Voice to the Developing World

Standards, mobile phones help bring the Web to resource-constrained areas

Making Modalities Play Nicely Together

The Multimodal Architecture and Interfaces specification opens door to collaborative multimodal apps

W3C Launches HTML Speech Incubator Group

Ultimate goal is to develop tools to better integrate speech with the Web.

Hands-On: An Interactive Display

Lab sessions gave companies the opportunity to showcase their latest products.

Standards Need a New Pair of Eyes

Now is the time to revisit and update some of the early voice standards.

Accessibility in Voice and Multimodal Applications

Multimodal interfaces can make or break the user experience.

Updating the Standard for Spoken Dialogues

VoiceXML 3.0 should be out by the end of this year.

Standards in the Voice User Interface

Why we need them, and where we can get them.

Standards Make the World Smaller

As standards advance, things just work together better.

Controlling Speech and Multimodal Applications

SCXML lets users travel through many states without leaving the phone

CCXML: A Standard for Managing Calls

Markup language makes it easier to develop telephony applications.

Submitted for Your Approval

SpeechTEK attendees conduct hands-on evaluations.

Opening the World of Multimodality

Standards can help bring more applications to bear.

A Framework for Multimodal Apps

W3C drafts the standard in multimodal architectures.

How Do You Say That?

New W3C standard promises to improve pronunciation.

Introducing EMMA

The new standard for representing what the user said

Eleven Tips to Improve IVR Effectiveness

There's been a lot of negative press recently about poorly designed touchtone and speech-enabled interactive voice response (IVR) systems. I'm sorry to say that most of the problems that I've heard, read about, or personally experienced are real. To make matters worse, the situation is inexcusable because the underlying technology that powers these applications is very flexible and can do significantly more than what it is being used for today. Poor implementations are giving these systems a bad reputation, as has long been the case.

Natural Language Processing: The Next Steps

Speech interfaces in which users respond in their own words to open-ended prompts like "How may I help you?" are becoming more and more widely deployed. They are most frequently used in routing applications where the application's task is to identify the topic of the users' requests and transfer them to another part of the system where their requests can be addressed.

Revisiting the ROI of Speech

A good voice user interface (VUI) is central to any successful speech application. Although VUI's are made up of many components, if the persona is very memorable, users' perceptions of it can dominate their opinions about the entire system, overwhelming all other aspects of the system in the users' minds. As such, a good or bad persona can have major consequences for the success of a system. …

Point/Counter Point on Personas

A good voice user interface (VUI) is central to any successful speech application. Although VUI's are made up of many components, if the persona is very memorable, users' perceptions of it can dominate their opinions about the entire system, overwhelming all other aspects of the system in the users' minds. As such, a good or bad persona can have major consequences for the success of a system. …

The Battle for Speech Recognition Market Dominance

The contact center speech recognition market is maturing, but it is far from slowing down. On the contrary, it’s experiencing an upswing in sales that it hasn’t seen for at least three or four years. This market is consolidating, making room for a variety of new entrants and is finally growing in port size. According to Steve Cramoysan of Gartner DataQuest, “preliminary analysis of the 2004 speech recognition market reveals an overall growth in port…

Capitalize on Customer Conversations with Speech Analytics

For years, speech analytics have been used worldwide by security organizations to help government agencies identify potential risks and threats. In the past two years, contact centers have begun to use speech analytics applications to capture and structure customer communications. The applications analyze the structured data to identify customer trends and insights for the purpose of improving service quality, customer satisfaction, and generating new revenue. …

Technical Standards Facilitate Innovation

Rarely does a technical standard directly benefit end users. However, in the world of speech technologies they do. Standards facilitate innovation and reduction in the total cost of ownership of speech applications, but have been slow to market. Standards allow programmers to create platform-independent (and ideally vendor-independent) speech applications.

The Role of Speech in Multimodal Applications

The visually-oriented graphical user interface (GUI) is a powerful, familiar, and highly functional approach to interacting with computers. But, as speech technology becomes increasingly available, it’s natural to think about how speech could be used in GUI interfaces as well as voice-only interfaces.

The Role of Speech in Multimodal Applications

The visually-oriented graphical user interface (GUI) is a powerful, familiar, and highly functional approach to interacting with computers. But, as speech technology becomes increasingly available, it's natural to think about how speech could be used in GUI interfaces as well as voice-only interfaces.

Speech on the go

Many of speech recognition’s most important contributions to productivity have to do with mobility. For example, speech allows telephone users to simply say the name of the person they are calling and be connected, a big advantage for cellular phone users in the car.

STRATEGIC ALLIANCE: Will Microsoft's Stake in Lernout & Hauspie Drive Growth in Speech?

Microsoft and Lernout & Hauspie Speech Products have announced a broad strategic alliance designed to accelerate development of the next generation of voice-enabled computing on the Microsoft Windows platform. <@SM>