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IVR - The Impact of the iPhone 4S on IVR
October 13, 2011

The Impact of the iPhone 4S on IVR

By Juliana Kenny, TMCnet Managing Editor

By now, most who pay attention to hot technological developments are well aware of the speech recognition software called Siri that is accompanying the new iPhone (News - Alert) 4S. While voice recognition features and tools have been employed by enterprises and SMBs for years now, few regular Joe consumers are aware that such technology exists. The Siri software in the iPhone 4S now brings that technology directly to the consumer.

Will Siri change the way the public thinks about interactive voice response (IVR) technology? We have yet to find out. Those over at Plum Voice have a thing or two to say about it, though. 

Matt Ervin, president of Plum Voice, a provider of IVR, said, “The new Siri voice-recognition technology in the iPhone 4S is a milestone in voice recognition.  With voice commands, users can schedule appointments, read and write text messages, take dictation, read stock quotes and do a host of other things. Siri enables practically hands-free use of a smartphone. Plum is excited to see how Siri performs and whether it can bring voice recognition to the mainstream via consumer devices.”

The growth of natural language processing in the development of IVR systems has gained ground in recent months, and, as Plum writers mentioned in a recent blog post, “With Siri, Apple (News - Alert) has purportedly designed a system that allows for voice control of a phone by allowing it [to] recognize natural language and considering both sentence structure and colloquial grammar.” This inclusion of natural language processing in a consumer-targeted device brings IVR to a whole new level of application.

Until recently, IVR and speech recognition technologies have only been able to recognize a certain number of words and/or sounds that they use to bring a caller through a series of customer relationship management (CRM) portals and steps. With this new software from Apple, the voice recognition capabilities extend far beyond what we’ve known IVR to be able to accomplish.

Plum’s writer continued, “This is a HUGE leap forward for speech recognition. To have artificial intelligence available that recognizes natural language and isn’t only operational through the use of limited vocabulary is revolutionary. If Siri works as well as it does in the Apple promos, this marks a huge milestone for speech recognition and voice technology on the whole.”

Juliana Kenny graduated from the University of Connecticut with a double degree in English and French. After managing a small company for two years, she joined TMC (News - Alert) as a Web Editor for TMCnet. Juliana currently focuses on the call center and CRM industries, but she also writes about cloud telephony and network gear including softswitches.

Edited by Jennifer Russell

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