Updated: 18/08/2003; 12:47:39.
mobile, product design, user experience, project and team management ... and various things

31 July 2003

In Testing Speech Recognition-based Applications, Part 1, Chris Bajorek tells us that sppech rec has matured enough to be genuinely useful to call centres, and advises customers to research the vendors core capabilities:
First, experience matters. The more successful deployments a vendor has under its belt, the better chance you will get an accurate estimate of time and costs. So, you need to get permission to talk directly with several customers who have gone through that process. I would ask for a few references whose projects have been completed in the last 30 days, and a few that were completed more than 6 months ago to see how well they have been supporting, updating, and tuning the system.
In part 2, he gets on to application and infrastructure performance. In addition to the basics (does it answer first time every time, play prompts without breaking up, respond to commands quickly, have a high "recognised"l percentage, and smoothly scale performance up to maximum call loads) he reminds us that
Caller attributes and call conditions that conspire to unravel your SR-IVR system's performance include diverse caller demographics and accents, caller devices that don't always produce clean speech (i.e. cell phones in marginal reception areas, cheap speaker phones, or VoIP calls with low-bandwidth vocoders or high levels of data channel impairment). Not bad enough yet, you say? How about calling in from a cell phone in a marginal reception area WITH a high level of automotive wind noise mixed in? (Speech recognizers really like that one.) Add multi-line call loads and spoken commands that "barge-in" during prompt-playback, and you're starting to understand what a real-world SR-IVR system has to deal with.
And concludes:
The point of knowing all the factors that can affect performance of your SR-IVR system is this: we should now be able to develop tests that will VERIFY such systems under real-world conditions
which we suspect most vendors are somewhat far behind with. Meanwhile the speech rec industry seems more concerned with speed and cost of development this month: TuVox to partake in the Speech Solutions Challenge at SpeechTEK 2003, where it will have six hours to devise and deploy a voice self-service solution for a pre-selected application.
11:10:39 PM     comments

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