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IVR - AT&T's Watson to Improve IVR Use for All
July 16, 2012

AT&T's Watson to Improve IVR Use for All

By Susan J. Campbell, TMCnet Contributing Editor

Interactive Voice Response (IVR) technology owes all of its abilities to the efficiency at which the software can accurately detect spoken words. IVR has proven itself as a money-saver for businesses that rely heavily on inbound and outbound calls to generate revenue. But IVR isn’t just for the call center anymore.

According to this Plum Voice blog, AT&T (News - Alert) is offering developers a new application-programming interface specifically for IVR solutions. Applications for mobile devices have spawned a new culture of sharing among developers who leap frog into new processes through collaboration and borrowing. 

AT&T’s new application programming interface – entitled “Watson” – allows developers to build IVR applications without having to build the IVR component from scratch. AT&T has been working to refine Watson, which involves software that transcribes spoken words into text in a very quick and accurate manner. 

The problem that most IVR developers encounter is that spoken words come in many dialects and accents, which makes it very difficult for the IVR solution to determine exactly what the speaker is trying to accomplish in their interaction with IVR. Because of Watson’s ability to break through these difficulties, many companies are running to the API for their IVR needs.

Watson is much like a normal IVR solution in that it detects spoken words and converts the audible into text form. The technology is available to any company interested in its features, which should help make the growing popularity of IVR among the newest generation of consumers even more popular with companies that are looking to the new generation as a revenue source. 

One of the ways Watson is accomplishing this is by focusing on the specific uses of IVR solutions so the software will know what words to expect. Watson also utilizes a plug-in architecture that, depending on what task is being performed, selects the correct plug-in at the right time, which hugely enhances the ability of the IVR to understand what the user is trying to communicate.

With more developers using the same speech recognition API, the possibilities of the IVR of the future having greater understanding of the spoken word should improve significantly. This should result in more uses for the user, including social media and gaming uses in the near future, and overall better service from IVR systems in the immediate future.

Apps are hugely driven by third parties; with everyone on the same playing field and drawing from an efficient voice recognition solution, IVR is bound to become a significant part of every technological apparatus.

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Edited by Allison Boccamazzo

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