Speech Technology Magazine Cover

September/October 2005

Magazine Features

2005 Speech Solutions Winners

For four years Speech Technology Magazine has recognized the individuals and companies whose efforts have propelled the speech industry forward. Upon being nominated and then approved as a candidate in the topic area; winners were then selected by online voting of the readers of Speech Technology Magazine. The categories and winners are: …

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. …

Expanding & Improving Upon Traditional Usability Focus Groups with Online Usability Surveys

Speech applications have traditionally relied upon small focus groups to assess performance from the caller’s perspective. What happens when a group of a dozen or so people includes that one person who is difficult to please, or worse yet, the person who gives conflicting opinions such as, “I was very dissatisfied with the system but I had a great call experience”? The answer is many hours lost trying to understand conflicting data and trying to…

Milestones in Speech Technology – Past and Future!

The Past:Speech and language, and the mysteries and magic surrounding them, have a long and venerable history, reaching back into mythological time. Only in this past half century have serious inroads been made into understanding them well enough to be able to emulate them with computer technology. Many top-notch researchers and engineers worldwide have contributed critical pieces to these puzzles. The examples discussed here illustrate just a few of the key milestones, both technical and…

New Operations in Speech

Miami Children's Hospital, a world leader in pediatric health care, has a medical staff of more than 650 physicians and over 2,000 employees. The hospital specializes in all aspects of pediatric medical care from birth through adolescence. Although the hospital draws children with very specific needs from all over the world, it is also the only licensed specialty hospital exclusively for children in South Florida. …

Using the Phone to Transform Customer Service into a Strategic Asset

Contact centers in several thousand enterprises around the world have derived cost savings and customer satisfaction benefits by deploying speech recognition technology to automate customer service calls. The return on most of these deployments is usually measured in months, and customer satisfaction surveys indicate that callers frequently prefer voice for conducting service transactions—as opposed to touchtone or lengthy live agent interactions. …

What Happened to Voice Portals?

What is – or, more accurately – what was a voice portal? One definition offered by the “Computing Dictionary” describes voice portals as “an interactive voice response (IVR) front end to a data retrieval system … being positioned mainly by carriers as wide-scale applications, offering things like specialized audio ‘infotainment’ services, real-time news, and stock quotes.” These sites offered engaging speech-enabled dialog available 24/7 from any standard telephone. …


Taking Care of Business

For more than a decade, businesses around the world have been harnessing the power of speech-enabled technology to reduce costs and enhance customer service. Today, with the evolution that is taking place in the industry, you'll find companies of all sizes using state-of-the-art systems to make it easier for customers to place an order, have a catalog mailed to them or find the nearest retail outlet.


Editor's Letter

Innovative Solutions

During SpeechTEK 2005, we heard from the winners of STM's Most Innovative Solutions awards and we had the privilege of publicly thanking them for the outstanding work they did in deploying innovative speech solutions.

Forward Thinking

Listening to the Court of Appeals

My recent article on transcription (STM March/April 2005) prompted appeals for more information about voice writing. Here are answers to some of your questions.

SCXML—A New Language for Controlling Processes

Designers have long used state transition systems (STSs) to represent processes. Basically, a STS consists of a set of states (usually represented as ovals) and transitions (represented by arcs) that connect pairs of states. Each transition has a condition that, when satisfied, causes the process to proceed from the state at the tail of the arc to the state at the head of the arc. …

Human Factor

Some Things Are Better Left Unsaid

Bad User!It is not at all uncommon to be scolded by an application in the Dual Tone Multi-frequency (DTMF) world. To wit: System: To do [this], press one. To do [that], press, two.User: (presses DTMF three)System: That is an incorrect response! And while the tendency to scold is less prevalent in the speech world, it has not entirely disappeared. Consider the following: …

Industry View

Conversational Voice Authorization Is a Natural Over the Phone

Sometimes it helps to have multiple personalities. However, it is generally not helpful when someone else borrows one of these personalities to make unauthorized purchases on one's charge account. For phone-based access to financial services, health records, technical support or more routine customer care, "conversational sign on," which mixes voice biometrics with multi-factor authentication methodologies, should be the preferred method for identity validation. …

A View from AVIOS

Think Globally, Act Locally: AVIOS Evolving

AVIOS (Applied Voice Input/Output Society) was launched as a non-profit society for speech technology professionals nearly 25 years ago. Speech recognition and synthesis were not widely deployed at the time, and there were no forums for interested parties to convene and share "best practices." Leon Lerman, the founder of AVIOS, noted this gap and set off to address it. As AVIOS grew, it became the conference for anyone with an interest in speech technology application…

Voice Value

A New World of Accessibility

In 1994-95, 58 percent of legally blind Americans 18 to 54 years old were unemployed, compared to 18 percent of 18 to 54 year olds with no serious impairments. The numbers are staggering, with the disparity being attributed, in part, to inadequate training in access technology and lack of awareness that technology exists to accommodate people who are blind.

Speech Technology with Impact - Avaya Voice Portal 3.0 and Dialog Designer 3.0

For 20 some odd years now telecom industry personnel have talked about the hopeful convergence of telecom and IT, and the emergence of blended manager roles. They have talked and talked and talked. For most of that time it didn't happen, or at least not quickly.

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