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IVR systems interactive voice response

IVR Software - Interactive Voice Response

This section of our technical library presents information and documentation relating to IVR Software and Interactive Voice Response products. Business phone systems and toll free answering systems (generally 800 numbers and their equivalent) are very popular for service and sales organizations, allowing customers and prospects to call your organization anywhere in the country. Our PACER and Wizard IVR systems add another dimension to our call center phone system solutions. An Interactive Voice Response (IVR) processes inbound phone calls, plays recorded messages including information extracted from databases and the internet, and potentially routes calls to either in-house service agents or transfers the caller to an outside extension.

Voice Recognition Software

Dr. Alan Hedge, PhD, HealthyComputing Staff

An Overview

So you're tired of typing, and you want to try a voice recognition program. After all, what could be easier than simply talking to your computer? Well, you might just be in for a surprise. After three days you may lose your voice - or find that you type faster than you talk, so your productivity's taken a dive. Did we mention getting glossed over for that big promotion when the boss overhears you dictating company-confidential documents out loud?

Voice recognition's great for certain environments, but it's not for everyone. People who type repeatedly throughout the day are among the most likely to experience the hand, arm and shoulder discomfort that's associated with repetitive motion, so they're often the most interested. These programs allow users to speak into a microphone (which is attached to the computer) and have the program - which includes both a standard database of terms, as well as the ability to "learn" new ones - transcribe their voice into text that can then be edited manually. Sounds like a great solution, right? Here are a few points to help you decide whether it's right for you.

Increased Comfort

It's an increasingly popular view amongst computer users that voice recognition programs will ultimately replace the keyboard. Voice recognition programs are a popular solution for individuals who are already experiencing uncomfortable symptoms related to typing. They're often recommended for individuals whose jobs depend on their ability to draft documents, but who are suffering from a repetitive stress injury. But beware - the human voice is *also* powered by muscles, which can become fatigued...and are susceptible to injury from overuse. If you're going to be dictating documents all day, take regular breaks to avoid feel drained and developing a hoarse throat.

Decreased Productivity?

Here are a few statistics that might surprise you:
  • The world record for typing is around 140 words per minute.

  • A good touch typist can output 80-100 words per minute.

  • The typical person speaking clearly will only say about 40 words per minute.
The result: you could see a drop-off in productivity when using voice recognition software. A 1,000-word document will take 10-12 minutes to type, but may take twice as long to dictate using software. This problem of decreased productivity is worsened when it comes time to edit. Many voice recognition programs have difficulty effectively editing mistakes by voice command. Instead, authors must review and manually make corrections. Though most voice recognition programs boast an impressive 300,000+ word database, there are bound to be words they don't recognize especially in a professional setting. For example, users preparing a sales report that mentions the well known motor oil company "Pennzoil" may find that their software recognizes the words "pens" and "oil", but not "Pennzoil". The same problem applies to terms of art in many professions.

The Noise Factor

Many people overlook the fact that talking to their computer increases the noise level in their workplace. This can make voice recognition programs prohibitively impractical in offices with open cubicles if the increased noise level distracts others working in the area. There are also privacy concerns; sensitive documents can be overheard by unwelcome ears as they are dictated.

When it Works

Voice recognition software is a great solution for short and simple tasks, particularly where details (such as spelling and punctuation) aren't crucial. It's great for composing quick notes or recording personal memoranda from meetings. If the program is compatible with your e-mail system, it can also be quite helpful in sending short messages, as "We are on for golf. See you at noon," or "Please call Smith in accounting and have him copy me on third quarter sales figures." Many experts also recommend using voice recognition software intermittently to give tired or sore wrists a break.

On average, it takes about 3 months of practicing good typing habits to become an effective touch typist. The return on this investment is tremendous; your well-honed skill will substantially cut the time spent typing. (To further increase comfort and productivity, be sure to use correct typing posture as well as keyboard shortcuts). Voice Recognition's an incredible technology, and great for limited applications; your best results will come from using it to augment - not replace - your keyboard.

Wizard Simplifies Development

DSC provides IVR software including our IVR wizard development tool for creating interactive voice response applications. Our IVR software lets you increase IVR development productivity by providing a visual development environment. IVR applications can be defined in minutes using this sophisticated, yet easy to use development tool. DSC also has available a comprehensive IVR software library known as our IVR Wizard Software Development Kit. This optional package is available for programmers and systems adminstrators who wish to manage IVR programs fromLinux IVR, Unix, or Windows IVR operating environments.

Data collected by your phone ACD (Automatic Call Distribution) or IVR (Interactive Voice Response) systems can be passed to your existing PC, Unix or Web applications through our phone software. The PACER predictive dialer can automatically call your customers and pass only connected calls to your agents. With our computer telephony software, your telephone and computer work together to provide cost-saving benefits.