Speech Technology Magazine Cover

March/April 2003

Magazine Features

Does Speech Produce ‘Uplift’?

“If you had to choose only one benefit with which to promote a speech solution,” I asked SpeechWorks’ Blade Kotelly in recent breakfast meeting, “what would be that benefit?”After a few moments, during which I was sure Blade was going to suggest something like “Reinforces a company’s branding” or “Brings about real ROI for customer satisfaction” he replied, “It produces ‘uplift’ for a company.” <@SM>

Repeat or Not Repeat

What is the proper role that repetition should play in a voice user interface? This question frequently arises when designing a VUI, particularly if the VUI is intended to simulate “natural speech” or “conversational dialog”. The common assumption is that repetition is bad because it doesn’t sound natural and it occurs only infrequently in human-to-human conversation.

Speech in Consumer Products

With the introduction of speech-enabled cars, toys, cellular phones and other electronic devices, speech technologies having been gaining recognition in consumer products. There are several products on the market today that are affordable and becoming more commonly used. Whether appealing to children with toys and dolls or adults with automobiles and cell phones, the companies that use speech are beginning to see more and more usage by the average consumer.

The State of Desktop Speech

We depend on words. Despite its fleeting and ethereal nature, speech is the most common means of communication between people. Acquiring speech and language is a critical developmental activity, starting in infancy, for people everywhere. However to span time and space in a more permanent fashion, we need to turn spoken words and data into text, (handwritten, printed, typed, etc.). The creation of moveable type to mass produce printed materials has been with us for 550 years.

The State of Embedded Speech

Most of what is written on speech is focused on server based speech processing. But there is a another speech technology out there that‘s powerful enough to sit on a stamp-sized microchip. It’s called “embedded speech”. Advancements in computing power gave server side speech the power boost it needed in the early 90s. Now that same rocket fuel is launching embedded speech into the limelight.

The W3C Speech Interface Framework

In the past three years, the World Wide Web Consortium Voice Browser Working Group has produced several reports that define languages in the W3C Speech Interface Framework. Developers use the W3C Speech Interface Framework languages to create speech applications.


Automation Smoothes Way for CSRs and Customers During Refinance Boom

Garth Graham, first vice president for customer acquisition and relationship management at ABN AMRO Mortgage, knows a lot about his customers. Graham understands that most homeowners calling to find out if refinancing makes sense for them don't want to be placed on "terminal hold", and they'll hang up and maybe call another company if they don't quickly get an answer.


Forward Thinking

Toys That Have a Voice

One of the most interesting and informative sessions at SpeechTEK 2002 was the Real Solutions Seminar presented by Dave Peterson, vice president of Technology Acquisition at Hasbro. Peterson described two toys that Hasbro released this year: Aloha Stitch and R2D2. Both toys are based on popular movie characters and both interact with a child using speech recognition.

Industry View

Speech Vendors: Changing Channels?

Recently I had the good fortune to work with Mark Plakias. And, as everyone probably does with Mark, we got into a spirited discussion (and debate) about the evolution of the speech technology market—and the impact of VoiceXML in the near term.

A View from AVIOS

New Directions at AVIOS

AVIOS (the Applied Voice Input/Output Society) has recently taken two important new initiatives which we believe will strengthen AVIOS' support for the speech technology industry.

Voice Value

Keeping The Consumer In Mind

QPointer Suite, a speech-recognition product offering dictation as well as mouse-less computer operation, is the creation of a company with a novel business strategy; to create a flawless assistive technology (AT) product for the disability market before branching into the mainstream arena.

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