Iarnród Éireann invests €500k in ‘talking timetable’

17 Aug 2004

Iarnród Éireann has signed a deal estimated to be worth €500K with Damovo Ireland to implement an interactive voice response (IVR) and speech recognition solution.

The €500K contract will be co-funded by the Government under the National Development Plan 2000-2006 and will enable Iarnród Éireann customers and staff of the national rail company to utilise new services like talking timetables, breaking news and email and calendar reading services.

Iarnród Éireann selected Damovo following a rigorous tendering process for which leading industry alternatives were also considered. The solution will replace the current system of recorded messages and touch tone responses, enabling callers to access information simply through speech. The new system’s built-in natural language facility ensures callers will not have to change the way they speak in order to be understood, conversing as they would with another person.

The new IVR and Speech Recognition system will interface with Iarnród Éireann’s existing web and IT systems and also has the capability to integrate with future web developments such as online tickets sales and reservations.

The upgraded Talking Timetable is the first phase of the project. The company’s Breaking News service, currently available on its website, will also be accessible via the phone system. Further phases will see the implementation of an Auto Attendant PABX phone system and Email and Calendar Reading services, all equipped with voice recognition capabilities.

In addition to the Talking Timetable, this year has already seen the introduction of DARTXT, a service whereby DART users can receive updated timetable information directly to their mobile via text message. It is envisaged that these technological advances will change the way customers interact with the company and allow unparalleled access to information about Iarnród Éireann’s services.

Damovo partnered with Scansoft, the global leader of speech and imaging solutions, around this project. John McCabe, managing director of Damovo Ireland, said: “The Damovo team will implement a solution which will create working efficiencies and cost savings and ultimately enhance service levels to CIE customers and staff.”

By John Kennedy