Archive for February, 2005

DBScape and Brucall seminar for the finance sector on March, 10

Thursday, February 24th, 2005

Waterloo-based technology provider DBScape (the makers of VocaBase) and Brussels-based contact center Brucall are organising a seminar on self-service voice applications in the finance sector. The seminar is held next week, on Thursday March 10, at Brucall’s premises.

Second Stevin Gathering in Antwerp on March, 2nd

Monday, February 21st, 2005

Next week, on Wednesday the 2nd of March, the Dutch-speaking speech and language technology community will meet in Antwerp at the second Stevin gathering.

An occasion for all speech and language technology professionals from Dutch and Flemish academia & industry to discuss projects for the 4,2 million euro call for tender/proposals offered within the Stevin framework. The Stevin programme is an initiative of the Dutch-Flemish Taalunie (”Language Union”) .

Apart from the official program featuring representatives from the financing government bodies, there will a.o. be workshops on intellectual property rights, offer & demand between industry & academia, and the development of a speech recognizer (engine?) for Dutch.

Check out this blog in two weeks or so for a personal report on this event.

Self-service in European contact centers gains importance, says Genesys Telecommunication Labs study

Monday, February 21st, 2005

According to a European research study by Genesys Telecommunication Labs quoted by NewtelEssence, the importance of self-service in contact centers is more and more being recognised. 56% of all contact center managers taking part in the survey consider self-service as a priority, while 68% intends to invest considerably in the technology. As for business drivers, cost reduction is mentioned more frequently (65%) than increased customer satisfaction (38%).

NewtelEssence, a Dutch company specialised in Customer Contact Management, has a more extensive summary on its website (in Dutch).

A New Start

Sunday, February 20th, 2005

Demystify, gather and develop. Those are the three main goals of this new weblog devoted to self-service phone applications in and around Belgium.

In Belgium, and especially in Flanders, speech technology has epitomised the Internet boom as well as the dot com crash more than in any other European country. The rise and fall of LHSP has led to extreme perceptions about speech technology, that were totally disconnected from reality. Five years ago, at the height of the stock market, speech technology was seen as the chicken with the golden egg, about to conquer the world in no time. A year later, morose but highly exaggerated visions of vaporware and empty boxes were all that remained in many people’s minds.

Now that the psychological dust has hopefully settled, this weblog wants to shed a realistic light on the current status of speech technology, explaining what’s working, what’s not, and above all, why. This is what we mean by demystifying speech technology.

The second goal of this initiative is to bring together all stakeholders of the local speech technology community – a.k.a. the ecosystem, to use a sexier yet applicable term. Our focus will be on speech-driven phone applications, because that’s where today’s speech technology brings most economic value. This blog will comment on the producers, vendors, users, customers, and implementors of speech technology in the self-service contact center field. It will to do so in a down-to-earth way, by shunning hype, speculation and vaporware as much as possible, and by focusing instead on real applications used by real people like you and me. On the other hand, this blog does not limit itself to strictly objective and scientific posts, far from it. For one thing, the subjectivity of man-machine interaction in the voice user interface is bound to impede this somehow.

The third and most important goal of this weblog is to contribute our five cents to the development of a thriving speech technology industry in Flanders and Belgium. And while Prompt! Speech Applications certainly has its part to play as a provider of end applications, it cannot do so without tool vendors, platform providers, customers and, why not, direct competitors.

We therefore invite all members of the community to contribute to this blog. Feel free to comment, or become a guest author yourself.

So, welcome, and let the discussion begin!