SpeechTEK: Day 2

Sorry for the lack of liveblogging on Day 2 of SpeechTEK. I’ll be happy to share pictures of the Statue of Liberty, Empire State Building, 30 Rock, and landmarks, later.

…just kidding! The day was mostly spent on meetings, scheduled or otherwise (specific updates to come in the next few days). And the 45 minutes or so listening to Microsoft Tellme pitch its upcoming applications in Kia UVO (Ford SYNC’s evil twin), Xbox Kinect (now you can curse and flip the bird at your TV), and Windows Phone 7 (the Android killer). And coining a new TLA, NUI (“Natural User Interface”). Kudos to Microsoft for some daring live demos — most of them executed without a hitch.

Hey…have I stalked you before?

After attending VoiceCon Orlando and ACCE New Orleans earlier this year, it was great to see some familiar faces and logos here at SpeechTEK. I’m getting that stalker deja vu feeling…

Burning questions

One area of interest this year is biometrics. It’s definitely a subset of speech technology that has matured enough to see great interest to be adopted, especially in the financial sector. And why not? Biometrics offers a better way to identify a person and can improve IVR call flows tremendously. Personally I’d rather speak a phrase to authenticate my identify than having to enter a combination of personal data (e.g. account, last four SSN, and phone number) to earn the trust of a machine. But what I really want to see is the built-in camera on the mobile phone becoming a retinal scanner. How cool would that be? (Well, until somebody loses an eye.)

Social media continues to generate buzz at the conference, but implementation-wise it seems to be coming from the CRM side of things. I have seen demos of tweets being monitored and queued in a CRM system, but where’s the demo of tweets being queued in a contact center routing engine? It appears the CRM vendors have a head start in expanding their existing platforms to support something like social media — and they’ve adopted it fairly quickly, but the IVR and CTI vendors are still foggy on how to go about it, or in some cases, still evaluating its inclusion in their software packages. And maybe doing it on the CRM end is enough and the right way to do this. Social media APIs are readily available to the public, and current contact center routing is capable of multimedia delivery. But I sure would love to see a demo or prototype melding social media into routing.

On the topic of mergers and acquisitions, so far this year we’ve seen several notable activities. What’s next? How will it shape the industry? How will it shape the technology? How will it impact the talent pool?


Big thanks to Angel, Empirix, Voxeo, and Nuance today for the briefings. Also appreciate the demos by RightNow, West Interactive, Calabrio, and GM Voices. Oh, and catching up with the good folks at IQ Services.

The day ended with meeting up with a couple of friends, over good food and good drinks, of course. After a day of meetings, demos, and walking the show floor, it’s refreshing to hear about their day and their interests. Fascinating insight into movies and films dominated the conversations — one of the friends being a constant student of the art of filmmaking and production. So if you ever need to make corporate videos or even personal videos, have I got a recommendation for you.


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