Eircom and Kainos unveil speech recognition service

16 Jan 2006

Eircom and the software company Kainos have collaborated on a new solution based on speech recognition technology that they claim can reduce the cost of telephone transactions by up to 80pc.

Pitched as an alternative to the usual “press one for sales” answering service, the new system recognises natural speech and works by responding to a caller’s spoken prompts. Based on the person’s answers, the system can then route calls, gather information about the person or complete certain routine transactions without involving an operator.

Eircom and Kainos have both invested substantially in the offering, which is aimed primarily at the corporate market and the public sector. The speech recognition technology, branded as Eircom Speech Solutions, will be provided on a managed service basis. It is available as a pre-packaged or customised application.

Paul Gannon, a director at Kainos Ireland, said that recent advances in speech recognition technology means that large organisations and government departments can use automated speech solutions as an always-on channel for their customers. “Using natural speech and an ordinary telephone or mobile phone, customers can carry out routine transactions in a hassle free manner using their normal voice,” he said. “The new natural speech interface will provide a welcome relief from the frustrations experienced with many of today’s traditional touch-tone systems.”

The applications are designed to automate high-volume routing transactions, offering benefits to large organisations. Kainos and Eircom also said that it improves customer service as all calls are answered quickly and routed to the right person. As the system doesn’t require the use of touch-tone phones or an internet connection, anyone can access this type of service. The companies claimed cost savings of up to 80pc per transaction over using call centre agents; an additional bonus is that agents’ can be redeployed towards more complicated customer queries requiring personal attention.

By Gordon Smith