Bringing speech technologies to the enterprise
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Bringing Speech Technologies to the Enterprise. Ken Waln C.T.O. and V.P. of Engineering Edify Corporation [email protected] Agenda. Why Enterprise Speech? Branding Routing Economies of scale Single-number Access How Technology can help. What do I mean by “Enterprise Speech”?.

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Bringing speech technologies to the enterprise

Bringing Speech Technologies to the Enterprise

Ken Waln

C.T.O. and V.P. of Engineering

Edify Corporation

[email protected]


  • Why Enterprise Speech?

  • Branding

  • Routing

  • Economies of scale

  • Single-number Access

  • How Technology can help

What do i mean by enterprise speech
What do I mean by “Enterprise Speech”?

  • Employing speech for multiple applications and organizations

  • Providing consistency across applications

  • Pushing speech down to smaller applications

  • Branding your Speech Interfaces

  • Making Speech an Enterprise initiative, not just solving a problem

Current state of the market
Current State of the Market

  • Few implementations are truly enterprise focused

  • Many companies have multiple IVRs in many silos and several speech initiatives

  • The customer experience in many cases is horrible

  • Total Cost of Ownership is often unknown (and probably higher than many realize)

How an enterprise initiative can help
How an Enterprise Initiative Can Help

  • Cost:

    • Systems

    • Software

    • Training

    • Application Components

    • Physical Infrastructure

    • Telco costs (including transfers)

    • Back-office connectivity

  • Why not share the burden?

  • Makes it practical to do more applications

  • Customer satisfaction

How it helps the customer
How it helps the customer

  • One phone number, easy to find

  • Enter information once

  • System has access to more data

    • phone numbers to do ANI routing

    • CRM data

  • Reduced transfers between automated systems and between call centers

  • Don’t reenter data (CTI)

Typical situation
Typical Situation

Incoming call

1 English2 Sales

Deep in menu – press 1 for store locations

Network transfer



Press 1 for English Press 1 for service, 2 for sales, 3 for support…

Gets a store location


Vendor 2 – DTMF

Router by product


Vendor 1 – DTMF

Router by product


Vendor 1 – DTMF

Router by function


Outsourced speech

So what did the caller experience
So What Did The Caller Experience

  • Three Voices

  • Two Ringing Phones

  • Two “Your call may be monitored…”

    • Or even three?

  • Two DTMF systems

    • Different instructions

  • One speech system

    • Outsourced

    • Generic voice, no branding

  • Probably 60% of the call was getting to the right place

And what about the company
And What About the Company?

  • Toll charges for long call

  • Network transfer charge

  • Outsourcing fee

  • Many systems to maintain

  • Poor call tracking

    • ACD says call completed with a transfer to locator = success

    • Sales IVR says “call transferred” – may or may not log why

    • Outsourcer says “caller got what he wanted” but did he?

      • What if the nearest store is too far or he asked out of curiosity but had a real question?

      • No chance to transfer back or complete another transaction.

Voice portal phase 1
Voice Portal – Phase 1



Only for live call center

Immediately route all calls to Portal


Built into Portal

Voice Portal

Web Service Data Feed

VoiceXML to Portal


3rd Party App Server supplies VoiceXML


Backend system feeds data to app on Portal


Voice App Server Supplies VoiceXML Dialogs

Results for the caller
Results for the Caller

  • One Voice, One Brand

  • One Disclaimer (if needed)

  • One set of Instructions, etc.

  • One Dialog

    • “How can I help you?”

    • “Briefly tell me the reason for your call”

  • Transfer and go back always available (no transfers)

    • No dead ends

    • E.g. Can do a transaction after the locator

  • Short call

    • In and out – got what he needed

Results for the company
Results for the Company

  • Positive Brand Reinforcement

  • No Network Transfer charge

  • No charge for locator

  • Shorter call

  • Real statistics of call

  • Transaction possible after locator app

    • What if system asked “can I locate a product for you at that store” and fulfilled the order online?

  • One system to maintain

  • Sharing of ports

  • Happy customer!

Other benefits
Other Benefits

  • Smaller applications can be cost justified once the infrastructure is in place

  • Speech easier to cost justify

  • Reuse applications

    • Many functions will be shared between apps

    • Can’t share if they are on different platforms

    • E.g. Product identifier for sales and service, store locator at main menu and in service

    • Also use available packaged applications and modules

  • Net result – speech used throughout

    • Higher containment

    • Happier users

    • Competitive advantage

Voice portal phase 2
Voice Portal – Phase 2


Only for live call center

Immediately route all calls to Portal

VoIP Network

Voice Portal


Built into Portal

Web Service Data Feed

VoiceXML to Portal


3rd Party App Server supplies VoiceXML


Backend system feeds data to app on Portal


Voice App Server Supplies VoiceXML Dialogs

Additional benefit of voip
Additional Benefit of VoIP

  • Portal in front of PBX/ACD

    • Could do this with PSTN, but network transfer charges apply

    • IP transfer to ACD (or IPACD) for live help

    • CTI data transfer simplified

    • Transfer between networks and internationally if needed

  • IP IVR with Speech

    • Just another app server

    • Can be located anywhere on the network

What makes it work
What Makes it Work?

  • Routing Front End

  • Compelling Voice User Interface

  • Robust Open Platform

  • Applications and Components

The routing front end
The Routing Front-End

  • Key to having a one number access is accurate routing

  • Use open prompting with a Statistical Language Model Grammars

  • Keys to success

    • Tools for grammar development

    • Data collection

    • Usability testing

    • Expert designers

Vui design a web analogy
VUI Design -- A Web Analogy

  • In the early days, programmers built the web sites

    • Often lackluster, not portraying the right image of the company

  • In the next stage, marketing took over

    • The message improved

    • But sometimes usability suffered

      • Big graphics on dial-up lines

      • Complex menus

      • Too much “fluff”, substance missing

The web site today
The Web Site Today

  • How is a company’s web site designed today

    • Usually starts with marketing

    • Creative teams, consultants, graphics artists

    • Usability analysis

    • Focus groups

    • And finally the programmers implement it

    • Testing before rollout

  • And the design is likely to be refined and improved on a frequent basis

    • Adding content

    • Refreshing look and feel

    • Give people a reason to return

    • Efficient and effective

Factors in branding and persona
Factors in branding and Persona

  • Personality of the System

  • Voice casting

  • Direction of voice

  • Non-Speech audio (audio icons, music)

  • User Interface

  • Text of prompts

  • Technology production


Designing a speech application
Designing a Speech Application

  • Persona

    • Can become a logo of your company just like a visual logo

    • Can provide consistency with other audio media

    • Applications can utilize multiple voices if carefully designed (different voices for different purposes)

    • Different tones and moods are appropriate for different applications

  • It’s art, not technology

    • Create the persona

    • Cast the voice

    • Write the script

    • Direct the performance

The importance of standards
The importance of standards

  • Platform -- VoiceXML 2.0

    • Conformance tested

    • Allows interoperability of custom and packaged applications

    • Also related standards for grammars (SRGS) and TTS (SSML)

    • But it is not the answer, just a language

  • Infrastructure -- SIP

    • The VoIP standard

    • Note H.323 is widely deployed, but SIP appears to be the standard going forward.

Reducing the cost of deployment
Reducing the cost of deployment

  • Reusable components

    • Reduce time to market

    • Consistent, tested user interface

  • Packaged templates or kits

    • Many reusable components for a vertical application area

      • Locator module

      • Name and address capture

      • Payments

      • Routing

    • Range from a good starting point to complete applications

      • Complete application should come with configuration tools, management reports, complete out-of-the-box VUI

        • But customizable and brandable

How to get started
How to get started

  • Pick the best initial application

    • Fast ROI

    • Demonstrable value

  • Implement it in an enterprise way

    • Standards based platforms

    • Quality, branded interface

    • Enterprise-class infrastructure

  • Partner with experts

    • A wide range of skills will increase success

  • Use the success to add more applications and capacity



Contact me by email -- [email protected]