Nuance Communications has embraced the standard signalling system for IP (Internet Protocol) telephony to deliver a less expensive system for dialling by voice.
The SpeechAttendant Internal Dialer, like earlier products for circuit-switched and IP phone systems, lets employees call their co-workers by just tapping one number and saying the name of the person they want to talk to. The new product supports SIP (Session Initiation Protocol), which is rapidly being adopted by IP telephony vendors and makes it easier for Nuance to port its technology to each vendor's platform, according to Pat Delgesso, director of Auto Attendant Solutions at Nuance. The dialler is already compatible with infrastructure from Cisco Systems, Avaya, Nortel Networks and other vendors.
SIP is helping to open up the enterprise telephony market, once dominated by proprietary products, to a variety of vendors that can introduce new capabilities, said IDC analyst Abner Germanow.
Faster, easier development means lower cost, Delgesso said. At less than US$20,000 for a four-port system that recognizes 1,000 names, the new product costs about one-third less than its existing product for IP phone systems that use TAPI (Telephony Application Programming Interface), he said.
The dialler is intended to boost productivity by slashing the need for human operators to direct calls. This is a particularly big issue in health care and education, Delgesso said. It's also designed to give outside callers an easy way to reach people inside the organization, eliminating the need for expensive direct lines, he added. With a single outside line, the dialling system could automatically answer calls and ask the caller to say the name of the person they want to reach. Employees can also direct the dialler to forward calls to another number in the enterprise, at home or on a cell phone.
For quick name recognition, the system draws upon a Nuance database of about 1 million names that have been in use at other companies with Nuance automated diallers. That database includes multiple pronunciations of commonly mispronounced names, Delgesso said. The system can be synchronized with human resources databases to stay up to date. A system with four ports can handle about 330 calls per hour. The product is available now in U.S. English and bilingual Canadian English/French versions through Nuance resellers.