Telecom looks across Tasman to voice system

Telecom is considering an XML-based voice recognition system which will allow customers to carry out billing transactions without speaking to customer service staff.

Telecom is considering an XML-based voice recognition system which will allow customers to carry out billing transactions without speaking to customer service staff.

Such a system is to be introduced at AAPT, Telecom’s Australian subsidiary.

It will be provided by Australian speech recognition vendor VeCommerce. Alcatel, the provider of Telecom’s latest network, also has a hand in the deal, supplying the voice application platform through a subsidiary, Genesys.

Two VeCommerce applications, VePay and VeSecure, will sit on top of the Alcatel platform. VeCommerce’s natural speech recognition engine and SOAP/XML interface will let customers directly access the telco’s billing system to perform transactions, rather than having to wait for a call centre employee to do the same thing.

AAPT is spending $A2.5 million on the system but says it isn’t eliminating customer services staff — customers will still be able to speak to someone if they wish.

Telecom is looking at introducing such a system but no decision has been made, says Telecom Advanced Solutions contact centre services business manager Jo Allison.

Allison says that Telecom is aware of the benefits of speech-enabled interactive voice recognition platforms such as those about to be introduced by AAPT, and notes there may be “synergies” between what AAPT has done and Telecom’s own future planning.

“At a later date [we] may look into options for introducing the technology for Telecom’s own contact centres.”

VeCommerce managing director Paul Magee told Australia’s ITnews he is keen to sell the system to Telecom and that partnering with Alcatel on the AAPT roll out opens the doors to deals with other Alcatel customers globally.

Gartner Australia analyst Geoff Johnson told Computerworld Australia that voice-based XML technology has been growing rapidly in the past 18 months, in the wake of VoIP adoption.

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