Speech Technology Magazine Cover

September/October 2003

Magazine Features

A Whole New World

The exponential growth of processing power has helped increase the quality and usability of speech technologies. Gene Cox explores the new market opportunities that are opening up as speech becomes a vital interface.

Dial In and Speak Up

Harris Interactive sampled 326 individuals in March to determine consumers’ comfort level with speech systems. Harris senior research director Karen Chiarelli outlines the results of the study and why business and consumers are both reaping the rewards of speech.

Passing the Test

Far too companies experience disappointment and delays in realizing the value of speech because they fail to test properly. Dr. Susan L. Hura explains why the time and effort spent in proper testing is significantly less than the costs of going live with a problematic application.

Speech Technology: Finally, a Competitive Necessity

Innovative technologies that are eventually successful follow a typical timeline. The capabilities and markets are over-stated in early stages as struggling start-ups try to make a case to investors and the press, leading to over-hype and disappointment. The core technology improves, and several early applications are identified where the use of the technology is particularly needed and is cost-effective, providing a base for growing businesses. Core technology continues to improve, making possible more marketable applications, but moving out…

The Name Game

The growth in applications for Text-to-Speech (TTS) in voice automated directory assistance and information and spoken directions in vehicles is challenging developers to produce solutions that deliver accurate and unambiguous responses. Dr. Caroline Henton breaks down the “pronunciation puzzles” in TTS and offers five steps for achieving working solutions.

What Makes Things Interesting?

I once read in the “Sociology of Science” that an experiment or fact that confirms what everyone already knows to be true is not interesting, it’s obvious. Something that claims to disconfirm what everyone knows to be true is not interesting, it’s ridiculous. But something that changes what you think is true is really interesting.

Wrap It Up

Steve Ehrlich contends that packaged applications have the potential to significantly lower costs, complexity and time-to-market. He unveils the “hidden backlog” of horded applications that often reveals itself when users see the potential of speech.


Editor's Letter


Forward Thinking

I See What You Are Saying

There's no doubt that speech recognition is an assistive technology. Most of us are familiar with the use of dictation and voice-controlled desktop navigation tools by people with repetitive stress injuries (RSI). I've also seen a myriad of voice-activated implementations for people with limb paralysis and weakness that have included hospital beds, wheelchairs, environmental control systems and a complete feeding system (it was experimental and hadn't resolved problems related to the administration of liquids). There are also command-and-control systems for people with severe visual impairments, such as a voice-activated photocopier developed at Pitney Bowes.

InkML and Speech

Have you ever been in a place where speaking to a VoiceXML application on a cell phone is impractical? As you know, not all locations or situations are suitable for using speech-enabled handheld devices.

Human Factor

Threats to Objectivity in Usability Testing

Most speech industry people concede the value of usability testing. It is widely appreciated how usability testing, particularly early on in the dialog design stage, can reduce usability problems, costs and headaches further down the road. The idea, of course, is to get an objective, unbiased assessment of a design before committing all of its particulars to code. This sounds simple enough. But obtaining objectivity is not always as simple as it seems and if the usability test plan or procedure is fundamentally biased, why should we bother to test at all?

Industry View

Factors of 10, or, Is This Trip Necessary?

As some of you are acutely aware, autumn involves large checks going to tuition (at all levels these days). Which brings me immediately to my first factor of 10: I'm pretty sure that when I went to college it was 1/10th of what I'm paying for Vassar this fall.

Voice Value

Speech in the Warehouse

Speech applications in warehousing and merchandise distribution have not received a great deal of attention. That doesn't mean there aren't some significant developments going on in the industry as Nancy Jamison points out in this article about how speech can help optimize workforce productivity at the point of picking and packing.

Wellness Checks

Wellness Check programs such as Guardian Calling by Reverse 911, C.A.R.E. by DCC and Command Caller by Voice Technologies, usually integrated into Emergency Notification Systems, monitor local residents to ensure they do not require assistance from emergency personnel.

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