There are instances with technology where the right tools and the right players come together to kickstart it into high gear. Examples include Robert Stephenson and the steam locomotive, Thomas Edison with the electric light, Henry Ford and the automobile, Boeing with 707 jet airliner, and Bill Gates Jr. and the PC.
That instance may be happening right now, again with Mr. Gates but also with Aumtech and speech rec. Aumtech's new tool to connect its IVRs with Microsoft's powerful speech rec engines appear to make speech tools affordable, slicing per-seat licensing fees from $3,000 to $10.
I came away more convinced as ever of this after moderating last week's Webinar and case study with JetBlue, which led to this article on TMCnet.com titled 'Aumtech, with Help from Microsoft, Breaks Through Speech Rec Cost Barrier'.
Forget SpeechTek: the real big story is here.
Yes, the Microsoft speech rec needs some tweaks i.e. more languages. I'd like to see M/S subsidiary TellMe use it. Yet compared with the price, and the total cost of ownership benefits, these are minor quibbles.
I first wrote about speech rec in 1997 when I was with Call Center Magazine. I have watched and reported on the sometimes agonizingly slow progress of this technology to where it is now becoming successfully deployed in just enough consumer-facing applications to where we as consumers are becoming accustomed to talking with machines.
I could be wrong but what Aumtech and Microsoft have done is arguably the single most important development yet in speech rec: by putting together the tools that are there.