SpeechTEK: Day 3

Today’s the last day of SpeechTEK, all good things must come to an end. It was my first SpeechTEK, but I have heard of this conference long, long ago, and have always wanted to attend. So it happened this year.

It’s definitely the must-go conference for speech technology. In fact, I don’t know of another conference focused on commercial speech technology and application. The location and venue were great, right in the heart of NYC — no shortage of sights and sounds for sure.

My only gripe? The lackluster WiFi connectivity at the venue. A handful of people I spoke to all had problems getting online using the hotel-provided (third party contracted) WiFi. And having a sign-in splash page with a password didn’t help the cause, either. I’ve been to other conferences in the past and their WiFi was just there — no password or sign-in required. Easy. For everybody.

To make matters worse, AT&T 3G coverage inside the building was virtually non-existent. When the WiFi failed, I couldn’t even use my iPhone as the backup device. Most of the time my phone displayed “Searching…” as I stared helplessly. Consider yourselves lucky that the connectivity issues prevented me from flooding the #stek10 tweet stream…

Ooops, did I kill Google Wave?

When I arrived at LaGuardia airport waiting for my evening flight, I checked some news feeds on my iPhone to pass the time. To my horror I discovered that Google’s ceasing development of Wave and will let it die — it didn’t even make it to a second birthday! I still remember that day when it was unveiled to worldwide fanfare. Was it simply ahead of its time?

I liked Google Wave. That’s why I created a Wave for SpeechTEK, but didn’t really pan out because IE isn’t supported, and Safari’s known to have issues with it. Google prefers Wave users to use Firefox or Chrome (of course). Maybe Google thought speech geeks weren’t cool enough to use Wave:

“Sir, somebody’s created a SpeechTEK Wave hoping to capture activities during the conference in NYC.”

“What?! Shut it down NOW! We don’t want to embarrass ourselves… If it’s not about Android or Chrome then it’s shouldn’t be here!”

Not cool.

What’s Next In Speech Technology

Daniel Hong of Ovum and Steve Graff of Autonomy presented in this session about trends and possibilities in speech technology. Things that stood out for me:

  1. Industry consolidation, M&A activities. We’ve seen West Interactive pick up two companies in recent months, Holly Connects and TuVox. Voxeo bought VoiceObjects. Nuance, of course, was also busy shopping…
  2. Voice channel to become the critical last resort. Customers are opting to initially engage the company through other channels. When those interactions are unsatisfactory, that’s when they fall back to voice, and at that point they’re already very frustrated.
  3. Video analytics is already a business reality. Hmmm, have we conquered speech analytics yet? Already moving onto video…


Thanks to Nu Echo for the briefing this morning, and Australia-based Cyara Solutions for the demo.

And NO THANKS to the Naked Grandma I saw at Times Square, especially after just having had lunch. I should’ve read the Naked Cowgirl’s (NSFW) warning on her blog! Oh well, imitation is the greatest form of flattery?


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