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The Speech Attendant - A Next-Generation solution for Today's world Ben Lixandru, Product Manager Active Voice LLC About us…. Global distribution channel of 400+ resellers Active Voice products are also sold through:

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The Speech Attendant - A Next-Generation solution for Today's worldBen Lixandru, Product ManagerActive Voice


About us…

  • Global distribution channel of 400+ resellers
  • Active Voice products are also sold through:
    • Key OEM partners: NEC, Tadiran, Philips, Crane, Aspire, NECii
  • Active Voice, LLC is a global provider of unified messaging, computer telephony, and voice messaging solutions
  • Headquartered in Seattle, Washington, Active Voice, LLC was established in 2001 and is a subsidiary of NEC Unified Solutions, Inc.
  • Corporate headquarters in Seattle, WA
  • 120+ employees, including offices abroad
  • Largest switch-independent messaging provider *
  • Over 170,000 systems installed in over 60 countries
  • 20+ years of messaging product development experience
  • Development centers in Seattle and Romania

*Source: InfoTech

our products
Mainly voice messaging and IVR

Windows and Linux based, TDM and IP

Plain voicemail or Unified messaging

Automated attendant, Information delivery, Self-service, IVR

Business oriented applications (custom design)

Speech attendant (Nuance OEM partner)

Our products
our typical customers




School districts

Small and Medium Size Companies

Our typical customers:
voicemail based speech attendant
Quick, cost-effective solution

Standard solution, well documented and supported

Rigid conversation (press 1 for …, etc)

Completely under customer’s control

Sequential by nature, slow transfer if multiple levels are required

Voicemail based speech attendant
speech enabled voicemail

2/3 of the customers prefer a company that has a better call center

Speech recognition has become affordable

Voice messaging is a necessary presence in any business environment

Voicemail covers most of the requirements


What is the business case?

Avoid “all the eggs in one basket”

Performance issues, heavy usage for the speech processing software

Training, support and maintenance issues

Speech enabled voicemail?
just one number to dial anywhere

Internal calls

Company Directory

External calls

Personal Contacts

Just one number to dial anywhere

Call anywhere…

Just say the name!


Thank You. Transferring your call to . . . Laura Jones

“Can I speak to Laura Jones please?”

Who may I say is calling?

Caller states

the request

Seven transfers

the call

Voicemail performs Call Screening/Call Holding

VM transfers

the call

Speech attendant with Call Screening and Hold Queues

Seven answers

the call

best of both worlds
Complementary solutions

Directory integration possible

Flexibility (call screening, call hold)

The voicemail offers a reasonable backup solution

Best of both worlds
Speech Attendant vs. traditional DTMF solution

“Say the name and get transferred” – natural and fast

Over 95% recognition out of the box, no tuning needed

Install and forget – very little management required

Automatic speech directory update (LDAP or .csv file)

Advanced performance evaluation tools – built-in

Nice business features, multilingual

Stable and very reliable, very good documentation

Anybody can learn to use it in 2 hours

No development costs

Total control on the customer side

things to consider
Customers are trying to keep their investments

Lots of our voicemail systems in the field get updated once in 5+ years (OS/2-based systems still in service)

Adding incrementally pieces of infrastructure works better for SMB

Things to consider…
18 months statistic, 100% acceptance, no major issues

Very reliable and mature solution (1 support call per year per site!)

All customers kept their voicemail-based IVR in parallel as an alternate solution

Business features and basic features are ignored or misused in 60% of the situations

The customer wants just a simple voice dialing directory in over 90 % of the situations

4 hours of training for the technician and end-user are a must

Good planning makes good implementations


Multiple sites having same services everywhere (ex. Radiology, or Emergency)

A single directory to cover all the locations worked best, with clustering option for failover

Lots of foreign names, large fluctuation in the personnel, large diversity of callers, bi-lingual sometimes

Over 70% less calls to operators, much better customer service overall

Having a voicemail-based IVR as a backup solution is important to not disrupt the services

Banks and Financial institutions

Reliability is very important (clustering suggested)

A well designed interface is very important

Automated routing features are very important (a bank can have 40+ locations, each with different locations, and different operators with different schedules)

Some business users need personal directories

High satisfaction once implemented


Large diversity in names

Limited resources (personnel and time) on the customer’s side, busy tech people

Over 70% less calls to operators, very low maintenance

Gradual approach worked best

Integrating the Speech attendant and the voicemail proved to be a better solution

City services:

Large diversity in names, bi-lingual sometimes needed

No operators!

Limited resources (personnel and time) on the customer’s side

Gradual approach worked best

Great customer satisfaction

Production environments:

Large diversity in names, multi-lingual

Untrained users, calling from noisy places

Limited resources (personnel and time) on the customer’s side, little room to customize

Using multiple schedules, multiple operators, multiple points of entry

Other languages (Dutch, German, French, UK English)

Gradual approach worked best

Good communication and a hands-on demo of the capabilities before closing the sale is very important

conclusions for customers
Properly used, an automated speech attendant can give lots of benefits to a company

Customer’s focus, education and cooperation are essential

Ask for training first, make a proof of concept, then plan a gradual deployment

The technology quality + vendor’s experience are very important

Conclusions for customers: