Voice-based service arrives at Dublin Airport


4 Oct 2007

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A fully automated speech-based flight information system has been deployed at Dublin Airport that integrates with the airport’s existing call centre and back office systems.

The new system will manage enquiries such as flight arrivals and departures, freeing up customer service staff to handle more complex enquiries at the airport where more than 60,000 passengers pass through every day.

The system is based on technology from speech-verification player VECommerce in partnership with Damovo.

VeCommerce’s VeQuery system allows customers to naturally speak to the automated system to establish real-time flight arrival and departure times.

According to Suzanne McKenna, IT Solutions manager at Dublin Airport Authority (DAA), over 65pc of callers are receiving the information they need without having to speak to a live operator.

“With further experience and fine-tuning, DAA expects this figure to rise to over 80pc within the next few months,” she added.

The decision to deploy speech technology was influenced by the fact that call centre operatives at the airport were swamped during busy periods, particularly late afternoon and holiday periods.

“Expanding capacity by adding more operators did not make sense as the additional operators would only be fully utilised for a part of the time,” added Declan McCarthy, head of passenger operations at Dublin Airport.

“What we needed was a two-tier solution whereby callers who needed simple flight information such as arrivals and departures could be answered automatically, freeing up our agents for more complex enquiries,” McCarthy explained.

The VeCommerce system is based on automated speech-recognition technology that can process information such as alpha-numeric flight numbers, cities and airports to provide the right information to travellers.

VeCommerce won the deal with Dublin Airport following a competitive tender.

By John Kennedy