First Coffee's Special Speech Edition

David Sims : First Coffee
David Sims
| CRM, ERP, Contact Center, Turkish Coffee and Astroichthiology:

First Coffee's Special Speech Edition

By David Sims

The news on speech recognition technology as of the first coffee this morning, and the music is Beggar’s Banquet by The Rolling Stones, the 1968 kickoff album to their great five-album run culminating with 1972’s Exile On Main Street:

We’ve been rather neglectful of speech technology here at First CoffeeSM, it’s recently been brought to our attention, and for this we apologize. So here’s a special edition dedicated solely to the news in speech technologies:

SoftMed Systems, a provider of healthcare information products, has announced the release of ChartScript ASP, a hosted product for transcription, speech recognition and computer-aided medical transcription.

ChartScript ASP lets healthcare facilities and transcription providers use transcription technology without incurring the resource expense and capital investment costs of maintaining a large transcription portal and speech recognition server, company officials claim.

And the fact that it’s a hosted product means the investment costs can be shared among multiple enterprises.

The problem is that healthcare facilities – what we used to call “hospitals,” I guess – today are faced with rising transcription costs, a shrinking labor pool of transcriptionists, and increased documentation demands. There’s your hot career for the ‘00s, kids – transcriptionist. Earn the big bucks, meet girls, avoid college loans, learn to drive the big rigs in the privacy of your own home, make money while you sleep, step right up, if you act before midnight tonight (slap) whew. Thanks.

ChartScript ASP is designed to help facilities maximize transcription productivity, reduce costs and turnaround time, and improve transcription quality and accuracy with deferred speech recognition.

The product is advertised as allowing hospitals to augment their transcription services without large upfront costs and the ongoing IT support costs associated with owning technology. It can be used by in-house transcriptionists or outsourced transcription services.

Company officials say SoftMed’s deferred speech recognition product requires no change in physicians’ preferred dictation habits. This is a good thing, because we all know how much doctors like changing their habits.

Interactive voice response and speech self-service vendors Gold Systems have announced an agreement to partner with LeadingC, a developer of speech recognition and Internet technologies.

Both Gold Systems and LeadingC create speech self-service applications using platforms from vendors like Avaya, IBM, Microsoft, and Nuance Communications. The partnership allows both companies to co-market packaged applications, expand service offerings, and share engineering resources across their offices in North America and Asia.

“Gold Systems has partnered with LeadingC for their technical expertise on specific projects in the past,” said Terry Gold, president and CEO of Gold Systems.

LeadingC has expertise with VoiceXML, computer telephony integration and hosted speech applications. With such additional technical capabilities, Gold Systems can offer customers an expanded set of products and professional services, officials say.

In turn, Gold officials believe LeadingC will benefit from Gold Systems’ business development capabilities, project management strengths, and Gold Systems’ client base of Global 1000 customers.

Beggar’s Banquet is over, so let’s keep the sequence going with the Stones’ 1969 album Let It Bleed, as much a leap forward from Beggar’s Banquet as that album was from the radio pop which preceded it.

One thing you have to watch out for with IVR is down time. Significant downtime affecting operations during a disaster can result in bankruptcy for a business, according to a recent Gartner Group survey. There are services to help businesses avoid complications from service-disrupting disasters, such as the one provided by Message Technologies, Inc., an international provider of speech IVR outsourcing services.

Disasters are quickly becoming no excuse for downtime. According to Frost & Sullivan, because of the high-probability of man-made and natural disasters, companies that outsource speech IVR and call center services immensely benefit by selecting a provider that offers redundant facilities in geographically distinct locations.

Bear in mind that while power protection assets may have been specified and paid for by the call center, according to Contact Center Disaster Recovery, “it is unlikely that support responsibility remains with your operation. More likely it is with the facilities department, the IT department or the site maintenance department.”

Physical access to the site may be controlled by an automated system maintained by building or physical security; call center management has control only over access to its own department. Human resources typically sets policy on the return of access control badges upon employment termination and change of privileges upon internal transfer.

“The year 2005 was a catalyst to make disaster recovery a primary concern of companies that outsource speech IVR and call center services,” said Krithi Rao, analyst with Frost & Sullivan. “Simply put, disaster recovery facilities are quickly becoming an industry standard in this market.”

A disaster recovery site would be located somewhere catering to bandwidth-intensive projects. MTI’s disaster recovery site in Dallas, for example, has twelve telecom switch companies and easy connectivity to any major carrier since MTI’s needs to make sure that any customer can connect using their existing telephone service provider. The highly redundant facility has dual municipal power grids, battery and generator backup, and redundant Internet connectivity.

Voice over Internet Protocol can help with this. VoIP can play a particularly important role in disaster recovery and risk mitigation, since with the latest, software-based distributed contact routing systems, according to Interwise, companies can ensure ongoing system availability, even during a crisis; support agents in provisional remote locations far from your ACD; redirect voice traffic in response to changing needs and resources; distribute calls to home-based workers and/or third-party contact centers and deploy redundant system capability at lower cost.

LumenVox, a Speech Recognition technology vendor, has announced that Incendonet’s SpeechBridge family of appliances now runs on their newest Speech Engine release v6.0, for Linux.

“We are excited to incorporate LumenVox’s Linux version of their Speech Engine into our SpeechBridge appliance,” said Tim Kruse, Vice President of Sales and Business Development. “This Linux release allows Incendonet to pursue an even broader range of end user customers by being able to support both Windows and Linux platforms.”

Kruse said the integration with the Linux platform “did not require us to change even a single line of code.”

The LumenVox Speech Engine is designed to provide developers with a flexible API that performs recognition on audio data from any audio source. The Speech Engine v6.0 includes server-side grammars, n-Best results, and MRCP support.

“We felt it was critical to respond to market demand and port our Speech Engine v6.0 to Linux, and are very pleased that Incendonet can now offer a platform choice to their SpeechBridge customers,” said Ed Miller, President of LumenVox.

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