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Nuance's SmartListener Technology Enhances Speech Recognition Automation Solutions

July 16, 2008

Nuance (News - Alert), a global provider of speech and imaging solutions for businesses and consumers, today announced the launch of SmartListener software technology, offering more automated solutions to call center businesses. 
 
Using SmartListener technology, an automated speech recognition system can better focus on the concept behind caller’s words and decipher caller’s actual request.  The resulting system adapts to a larger variety of more natural responses from callers, said Nuance officials.
 
According to Nuance, the most important feature of SmartListener technology is that it can recognize out-of-grammar inputs received in a speech-enabled automated system, enabling the system to recognize the caller requests correctly the first time more frequently.
 
“Out-of-grammar error rates present a set of challenges to businesses and their customers,” said Steve Cramoysan, research director, Gartner (News - Alert), in a statement. 
“Innovation that enables speech solutions to accurately interpret the meaning of the unexpected words and phrases that customers use will help drive the ease of use, quality and accuracy of automated speech solutions while improving the most important element -- the customer experience,” added Cramoysan.
 
SmartListener technology uses Nuance’s Adaptive Grammar Engine to transform the grammar versions of an existing speech solution into adaptive grammars. 
 
“By helping speech solutions proficiently handle unexpected caller inputs, SmartListener technology can increase the savings from speech applications by quickly and cost-effectively achieving greater automation rates,” said officials at Nuance in a statement. 
According to a research conducted by Nuance using its Deployment Databank, out-of-grammar utterances are the main reason for the failure of automated customer service solutions across the world. They outnumber other performance issues by a ratio 5:1. This situation leads to customer frustration and business loss.
 
Nuance Deployment Databank consists of terabytes of contact center interaction data collected from millions of real world samples. Nuance found that when a caller gives a response for which the application has been designed, the accuracy is well above 90 percent. The accuracy falls when the caller gives a response that the application has not been designed for; it falls to about 16 percent.
 
SmartListener addresses the issue by enabling speech solutions to understand what the caller intended, even if their response doesn’t precisely match the application design, according to the company.
 
“Addressing out-of-grammar represents the greatest opportunity for a profound improvement in speech solution performance,” said Lynda Kate Smith (News - Alert), vice president and chief marketing officer of Nuance Communications, in a statement. 
 
 “Out-of-grammar utterances are the largest single challenge facing speech applications today. SmartListener technology significantly advances how the industry can improve the caller experience while providing cost savings to business,” said Smith.
 
Rajani Baburajan is a TMCnet Contributing Editor.
 

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