Tuesday, July 3, 2007

Slow week in terms of language technology news.
On the gaming front: Nintendo announced they were playing the middleware game for Wii development by opening up the platform to 3rd party technologies. Among the first to sign on was Fonix, allowing game developers to integrate VoiceIn Game edition, their video game console speech recognition and "karaoke" SDK. The karaoke feature seems rather gimmicky, geared only at the karaoke gaming genre, which seems rather niche. Fonix has displayed strong focus on gaming in the past, integrating as Sony PS3 middleware.
Unfortunately, speech in games has never made a big splash, but it represents a refreshing move away from customer service applications. Perhaps the middleware approach of many platform vendors will change things.
Talking about the customer service front: Genesys and Merced Systems team to develop improved reporting tools. Measuring and reporting customer service interaction has made headway recently. Focus on interaction effectiveness of natural language/speech applications intends to help correct some of the poor image that self-service applications live with. Relatedly, this article describes the shortcomings of such applications in the past and proposes a less-is-more, faster interaction paradigm for interactive voice response applications. While not all problems with IVR applications boil down to complicated menu structures and long response times, this is certainly a pointer in the right direction, placing emphasis on dialogue design rather than engineering.
Lastly, showing that not all speech communications is simply about customer service, Voxeo snags Gartners "Cool Vendors in Enterprise Communications, 2007" title, awarded to companies for being among the "interesting, new and innovative".

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