Speech Technology Magazine Cover

November/December 2005

Magazine Features

Speech Lends Its Voice to Help Hurricane Victims

Hurricane Katrina made landfall on August 29 with 140 mph winds, followed shortly thereafter by Hurricane Rita's 120 mph winds on September 24. With flood waters seeping over levees and homes in shambles, victims of the first hurricane scrambled to prepare for Rita's insurgence. Having realized the devastation of Katrina, Texas evacuated over 2.5 million people from multiple coastal cities - preparing for the worst1. Miles of traffic with delays of 15 to 20 hours…

Ten Criteria for Measuring Effective Voice User Interfaces

A Toolkit of Metrics for Evaluating VUIsInvestors use standard metrics such as stock price and projected revenue per share to choose investment opportunities. Likewise, consumers use standard metrics such as floor space, number of bedrooms, or number of bathrooms when purchasing houses. This paper presents a toolkit containing some specific metrics for evaluating voice user interfaces (VUIs). The speech industry should use criteria from this toolkit to: Judge the most efficient of several VUIs for…

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…

What Is Speech Usability Anyway?

Perhaps one of the great ironies in the field known alternatively as human factors, human-computer interaction, or user-centered design, is that some of its central concepts are exceedingly difficult to define. Take usability, for instance. Walk into any enterprise that claims to know something about technology (or uses it for business operations) and take an informal poll about what this term really means. In all likelihood, you’ll get as many answers as people you ask.…

Workshop on Making Speech Mainstream: Problems and 10 Recommendations

Introduction: The Workshop for Speech Executives at SpeechTEK 2005, speech industry executives gathered in a three hour workshop to discuss how to bring speech technology into the mainstream. The workshop attendees included executive representatives from speech users, service providers, platform providers, software providers and tool providers. Intel's Tim Moynihan organized and moderated the session. …


County of Marin Gets Moving With Speech

County of Marin, Calif. is located across the Golden Gate Bridge from San Francisco and across the Richmond-San Rafael Bridge from the East Bay. The County of Marin did not see the reinstitution of a main line nor adding the staff required for it as a considerable option, plus they wanted an alternative low-cost, easy-to-use remote access method for occasional mobility or for working from home so they selected speech recognition.

Wyndham Welcomes Guests With a New Voice

Given the improved capabilities of today's speech applications, many businesses are examining speech automation's potential for strategic, long-term business value. David Mussa, VP of reservations for Wyndham International, was one such executive, who - looking at his customer service - found that he had a veritable laundry list of reasons for moving to speech.


Editor's Letter

Differing Perspectives

In preparing for a recent speech I was struck by the difference between how buyers of speech solutions believe their customers view automation and how research shows their customers actually view automation. It reminds me very much of the debate financial institutions went through when they began to consider deploying ATMs. Financial institutions implemented ATMs primarily to eliminate branches and tellers at existing facilities. However, after implementation, customers took control and demanded ATMs in more…

Forward Thinking

Gaining Acceptance Through Impressive Results

There are many reasons why speech recognition (ASR) and speech synthesis (TTS) are moving strongly into the mainstream. While they are not perfect, the quality of these technologies is impressive.

VoiceXML on Steroids

Researchers and practitioners are extending VoiceXML using various techniques to provide new functionality. These include the RDC library tags, xHMI meta language, and a prototype implementation of VoiceXML which supports dictation speech recognition. RDC Tag Library – Developers frequently use Struts1 or other application frameworks to generate HTML. The goal of the Reusable Dialog Component (RDC) project is to provide a similar framework for VoiceXML. Like Struts, RDC has a tag library that hides the…

Human Factor

Speech Recognition and Telegraphic Speech

What Is Telegraphic Speech?Telegraphic speech is typically observed in language-learning toddlers and people who are re-learning to speak after having suffered some neurological trauma such as a stroke. It is characterized by minimalistic utterances which often are no more than noun-verb combinations. For instance, a baby might say, “give juice,” as opposed to a more grammatically complete and socially appropriate utterance, such as, “Can you give me some juice, please?” …

Industry View

Speech Automation's False Choices

As a growing number of enterprises make their conversion to VoIP (Voice over IP) or IP telephony, the notion of automated speech is getting short shrift.

Q & A

Paul Ricci, Chairman and CEO of Nuance

The name Nuance is widely recognized in the speech industry, but is also inclusive of our other technologies. We believe a technology-independent name better represents the nature of our solutions, both speech and imaging.  We will continue to use ScanSoft, based on the recognition it has earned over the years, as the family name for our imaging applications. 

A View from AVIOS

Great Expectations

At the recent SpeechTEK conference, a group of VUI specialists spent a day defining a set of success criteria for speech-enabled user interfaces. We necessarily limited our focus to criteria for which we could define metrics for measuring each quality. However, this leaves out one vital factor for the success of a VUI: the role of expectation. I’m referring to the expectations that users have when they interact with a speech-enabled application, the expectations that…

Voice Value

Innovations: Speech Technology with Impact - Double Feature

We have a double feature this month. First up is an upgrade to stealthy, but steadfast Empirix, with a new release of their Hammer CallMasterTM testing tools, now tuned to testing speech applications. Second is the application of these tools in action at bridgeSpeak, a company that provides IVR voice self-service solutions to auto dealerships. …

Speech Recognition: Detracting the Distractions

When I recently went shopping for a new car, I was particularly looking forward to seeing how speech recognition was being marketed and sold. While I wasn't surprised to find that, at times, the accuracy exceeded my expectations, I was quite surprised by the ways in which speech technology was addressed by the salespeople. I encountered three typical scenarios: the salespeople who possessed great pride in their ability to use speech recognition, those who preferred…

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