Business Software Applications

Can speech recognition technology software help my business

Even though we usually pay more attention to "Enterprise Software" such as ERP, CRM, etc... very often we come around the question: "what about speech recognition software"

The promises of speech recognition software are automation and seamless interface with customers. Have you heard of Apple Siri? Siri is Apple speech enabled assistance present on the iPhone where you can just "say" pretty much anything and Siri will do it for you. No more push buttons, slides menus, typing letters, just "say" it. If you have not heard of Siri; please read: The Inside Story Of Siri's Origins And Why She Could Overshadow The iPhone by the Huffington Post.

We love high-tech and looking over Siri speech enabled capabilities resembles the future; where you can talk to an application, say a command and get the right response. But is that sufficient enough to allow computers take over traditional human customer service teams? Here are some of the most prominent players in this sector:

Nuance Communications is probably today the most known company in the area of speech recognition; they do provide various speech solutions starting from their desktop software "Dragon Naturally Speaking" to enterprise solutions such as Nina to even speech recognition solutions for healthcare. Nuance has a long history of mergers and acquisition that back dates to 1999 when Visioneer bought ScanSoft a Xerox spin-off and adopted ScanSoft as the company name. Nuance also offers cloud-based solutions by which developers and companies can develop speech solutions all hosted by Nuance. Today Nuance can support over 30 languages in both speech-to-text and text-to-speech mode.

Google is also developing its own speech recognition technology with the latest addition being the search microphone now embedded into its Chrome browser; but not yet known or advertise is how developers or companies can be empowered to use it more broadly. Now definitely if you own an Android smartphone; Google Voice comes with it!

Apple Siri is the intelligent personal assistant that helps you get things done just by asking. It allows you to use your voice to send messages, schedule meetings, place phone calls, and more. But Siri isn't like traditional voice-recognition software that requires you to remember keywords and speak specific commands. Siri understands your natural speech, and it asks you questions if it needs more information to complete a task.

AT&T Speech and Watson launched a developer program in 2012. Through the AT&T Speech API, developers can add speech recognition capabilities to their apps. 15 languages are available to date and various resources to bring natural language understanding closer to your users.

Samsung S-Voice is an intelligent personal assistant and knowledge navigator which is only available as a built-in application for Samsung devices. The application uses a natural language user interface to answer questions, make recommendations, and perform actions by delegating requests to a set of Web services.

Microsoft is also present in the speech sector. They released a Speech Application Programming Interface or SAPI to allow the use of speech recognition and speech synthesis within Windows applications. To date, a number of versions of the API have been released, which have shipped either as part of a Speech SDK, or as part of the Windows OS itself. Applications that use SAPI include Microsoft Office, Microsoft Agent and Microsoft Speech Server.

VoiceBox Technologies provides speech-centered solutions and applications targeted to enterprises. Even though VoiceBox may rely on various partners for speech recognition; they do focus on language understanding and integration for various industries including Automotive.

iflytek based in China is one of the key players in Chinese speech recognition. Today, iFLYTEK maintains 80% market share in telecommunications, finance, energy, transportation industries and government agencies, which secures its leading position in the Chinese speech technology field. iflytek plays an important role of course due to the expanding Chinese economy and its impact globally.

FueTrek Co., Ltd. provides technology and services for mobile, automotive, and digital consumer electronics markets in Japan. The company offers vGate ASR, a voice recognition system; vGate TTS, a speech synthesis software product; and vGate Talk2Me, a spoken dialogue system, which realizes the communication between man and machine. It also develops and designs LSI design data / embedded software for semiconductor and handset manufacturers, as well as offers incidental customization works; and provides sound source hardware and software instruments.

Speech technology is just one piece of the puzzle; the other piece is the understanding of what the speaker said; what is the meaning and how a computer algorithm can react to such meaning either by asking more relevant follow-up questions or performing a very specific action. To take this to the enterprise then you need to program exactly what your objective is; fine tune the various possibilities that a conversation can go through and complete the steps required to fulfill an order or why not closing a business deal...

... the future seems to be closer than we think, right?

Posted on September 19, 2014