SpeechTEK: Catching up with Nu Echo


You may not have heard of Montreal-based Nu Echo, but that’s probably because you’re American. The company is well-known in Canada and boasts major customers there — Air Canada, RBC Financial, and Telus, just as a sampling. The company bills itself as speech experts and certainly has the DNA and projects to back up that claim.

Yves Normandin, CEO of Nu Echo, founded the company in 2002. Prior to that, he was founder and CTO of LocusDialog. Yes, that LocusDialog which was bought by ScanSoft which merged with Nuance. So if there’s anyone who knows speech — the technology and the business — it’s him.

The company firmly believes that speech technology has been wrongfully accused of damaging user experience. It has faith in speech technology because it knows it inside and out. Nu Echo’s expertise lies in developing tools and performance tuning to speech systems so that their full benefit is realized. Much like an automobile, a speech system requires regular maintenance to achieve its best performance.

Aside from professional services, Nu Echo has four distinct products: NuGram, NuBot, NuAddress, and NuID:

  • NuGram – A complete grammar development platform, based on open source Eclipse framework.
  • NuBot – Originally devised as an internal tool for testing, now productized as a hosted IVR application test solution. Monitoring features to come soon.
  • NuAddress – The leading Canadian address capture solution in the industry, the result of over three years of R&D.
  • NuID – An application to provide automated identity authentication, something that contact centers do every day. NuID is highly optimized and specialized just for this purpose and is able to achieve over 90% success rate.

The 20-person company is heavy on the developer side, so expect it to produce new tools and products regularly. The company advocates “test-driven development,” an approach that some other firms find hard to swallow (or willingly ignore). However, as Nu Echo’s track records have proven, this approach fits speech app development perfectly. Add on top Nu Echo’s obsession with performance tuning and monitoring, and you would get an ironclad speech app deployment.

Normandin is also eager to expand its business south of the border. So, my fellow Americans, prepare your speech systems for the invasion…

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