Speech Technology Magazine Cover

November/December 2006

Magazine Features

Automation Nation: How to Build Buy-In

The overwhelming attention received by Paul English's www.gethuman.com Web site and the Citi Simplicity TV ads encouraging callers to "Press 0 to speak to a live person— anytime" suggest there is growing resentment against companies implementing automated phone systems simply to cut costs.

Continental Airlines Takes Off with Speech

While many of its competitors are still floundering in the wake of 9/11 and rising fuel prices, Continental Airlines' stock price has nearly tripled since October 2005. Clearly, Continental is doing a few things right and one of them is its speech technology.

Reaching Across the Language Barrier

An instant language translation solution can improve accuracy by focusing on meaning and not perfect grammar.

Read Between the Words

Voice interfaces with true conversational speech capabilities will drive the widespread adoption of voice in mass markets. They make easier, faster, and more efficient interactions with systems. This combination makes interactions with systems feel normal. And, they supersede the concept of learning a new human machine interface (HMI) when talking to a new device or machine. With true conversational speech as the standard, humans don't need to learn machine or robot language and all systems become immediately accessible by human norms.

SOA: Connecting the Pieces

Service-oriented architecture can enable IVRs to communicate valuable information from a company's computer network.

The First 100 Days of Deployment

The design and development phase of your speech self-service application is complete. The system is installed and a rigorous process of usability and user-acceptance testing has been performed. Now what? How do you ensure that when you flip the switch your customers will be able to successfully use the system the way you envisioned? That is what the next 100 days after the initial deployment are all about.


KPN Connects Technology and Customers

A Netherlands telecom turns to Comsys to help manage text-to-speech service demands.

Sleeping Easy with Web and Phone Integration

Travelodge multiplies occupancy rates with 24/7 phone bookings.


Editor's Letter

Some Positive Press

Here's an interesting turn of events: Despite the recent negative press on speech technology, Newsday, a daily newspaper serving more than 2 million readers on Long Island, NY, countered with a fairly positive piece on the industry. What's more, the story, "If You Prefer Humans, Press 0," by Tania Padgett, (October 19, 2006), even dedicated a significant amount of attention to Paul English, founder of gethuman.com. It behooves those in the industry to welcome English and learn from him, as he's splashing some much-needed water on the industry's face.

Forward Thinking

Hold the Pickle

Over the years, I'd heard about planned deployments of automatic speech recognition (ASR) and/or text-to-speech (TTS) in drive-through facilities of fast-food restaurants.

Toward Natural Language Processing

When many people hear the words, "natural language," they immediately think of Star Trek's android, Data, who speaks and understands everyday English. Some software vendors claim anything beyond discrete speech recognition (in which users must pause between speaking each word) as "natural."

Human Factor

The gethuman Factor

Much of the tone of SpeechTEK 2006, held in New York this summer, was set by its opening keynote address. In the presentation, Paul English, founder of gethuman.com, outlined some of the desirable characteristics of a "gethuman standard" for self-service systems.

Industry View

Season's Greetings

Automated speech VUIs(voice user interfaces) have exposed us to a variety of greetings: Hey there! How may I help you? In your own words, describe the purpose of your call. Please press or say your account number. And the ever popular, This call may be monitored for training purposes. Well, at least most firms are getting better than the Your call is important to us, but not much.

A View from AVIOS

VUIs in Vehicles: Meeting Customer Expectations

How well do automotive speech-enabled interfaces meet customer expectations? One could say that it depends on the application, but beyond voice dialing, the room for improvement seems endless. In fact, it has only been recently that the usability of in-vehicle voice technology has begun to meet customer expectations.

Voice Value

Innovative Research in the Labs Part V: Intervoice Center for Conversational Technology at the University of Texas at Dallas

This month we look at a marriage of private industry and education. Within the Human Language Technology Research Institute (HLTRI) at the University of Texas at Dallas (UTD) are eight centers of specialized, cross-disciplinary research on human language technology, one of which is the Intervoice Center for Conversational Technologies (ICCT). UTD, one of the fastest growing universities in the country, focuses primarily on science, engineering and business. A core research area, HLTRI, has some of the world's top researchers in computational linguistics, with award-winning experts in various aspects of text processing—specifically question and answer systems.

To Dictate or To Record?

If you were on trial for a criminal offense, facing the possibility of life in prison, would you rather have the record of your trial created based on a recording or a court reporter sitting in the courtroom transcribing what everyone is saying?


Industry Dashboard: Datamonitor

Only nine global speech recognition deals were announced between August and October. (Network-based speech deals accounted for almost 80 percent of deals, while the remainder was PC-based.) So far, there have been 77 publicly announced customer wins in the speech recognition market in 2006. In 2005, there were 159 publicly announced wins. This means between now and the end of the year there has to be 82 announced wins for speech to equal that of 2005, which is highly unlikely.

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