Talk to me, baby...
jbone at place.org
jbone at place.org
Wed Oct 22 11:50:47 PDT 2003
Voice XML gets some traction? I can't speak to Emily (huh, huh, huh -
pun intended) but I know that if I ever meet Claire from Sprint in some
virtual bar sometime I'm going to try to give her a piece of my mind.
Not hopeful that this'll go anywhere --- "I'm... sorry, I didn't
understand that." That patronizing tone, aaaargh! But I'm going to
overload her puny Markov chains trying. ;-)
Anybody hereabouts a Bell Canada customer w/ experience w/ Emily?
[Hmmm... a quick Google reveals that Sprint is a customer of Nuance
as well. Perhaps Emily and Claire are siblings. -jb]
Talking to a computer named Emily
Posted on:Wednesday, October 22, 2003
In "2001: A Space Odyssey," a smooth-talking supercomputer named HAL
9000 (named after a fictional lab in Urbana, Illinois) sang, carried on
conversations and killed humans who tried to unplug it. In 2003, the
HAL is here, but its name is Emily and it gives out telephone numbers.
Emily is actually a voice-automated directory service Bell Canada
installed, according to Chuck Berger, CEO of Nuance Communications, the
software company that came up with the system. The Nuance software is
based on Voice XML, a version of the Extensible Markup Language for
enabling voice applications.
Rather than navigating through preset options on a keypad or speaking
to an attendant, Emily (Emilie for French speakers) digests an oral
query and spits out an answer. Voice-automated call centers will,
Berger hopes, become one of the hot new Web services that will allow
companies to reduce the size of their help desks and increase customer
satisfaction by making it easier to access information. British
Airways, he asserted, cut the average cost of a customer support call
from $3.50 to 15 cents.
"Next year, some major financial institutions will complete the pilot
programs," Berger said. Wells Fargo is on the verge of deploying a
voice-activated customer support service. Advances in the software will
also reduce implementation costs.
But will customers like it? Acceptance is "part technical, part
cultural," Berger said. Spoofing the system has already spawned a Web
site. Could a sequel be next?
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