New speech recognition approach converts audio into text to power searches of multimedia files.
Posted Sep 27, 2007
Coveo Solutions announced yesterday that its audio/video search technology, powered by speech recognition, has received a patent. Part of the company's Coveo Audio-Video Search (CAVS) technology, the Coveo speech recognition application differentiates itself from others because it can both cater to a specific industry's jargon and modify its dictionary as needed.
The Quebec City, Canada-based company's largest two verticals, consulting firms and complex manufacturing, often use these products for indexing information in formats such as training videos or Webinars. According to Richard Tessier, Coveo's executive vice president of products, the company wanted its CAVS technology to not only provide accurate searches, but also to include customer-specific terms. "When we talked to prospects [about searching rich media content], their prior experiences with speech recognition technology provided good results, but only with very generic types of content," he says. "We looked for ways to improve the technology, and also train it to recognize the vocabulary in these organizations."
The CAVS technology works with Coveo Enterprise Search, and searches audio and video formats the same way other search engines assess emails, PDFs, or chat sessions. Tessier says many companies employ CAVS with their training videos, allowing employees to quickly access necessary information without wading through minutes, or even hours, of irrelevant material.
"You may have someone who needs to repair a piece of hardware, and there's a video for that, and you want to look for a particular item within that by using a word," he states.
To enhance the engine's search capabilities, CAVS technology "self-learns" by mining content from audio and video files, using that information to further tailor the application to a specific industry. The technology also recognizes proper names, including employees, products, and brands. Tessier says that enabling these capabilities "takes the deployment cycle from months to days."
Earlier this year, CAVS received the Best Audio Search Technology award at Speech Technology magazine's SpeechTEK West, as judged by board members of the Applied Voice Input/Output Society (AVIOS), the speech industry's professional society; the product also made the cut in KMWorld magazine's Trend-Setting Products of 2007. (Speech Technology and KMWorld are sister publications of CRM magazine.) More recently, Coveo was named to the "visionaries" quadrant of Gartner's September 2007 Magic Quadrant for Information Access Technology report, and was noted by IDC as one of that research firm's Top 10 Companies to Watch in Canada. Coveo's enterprise clients include HP, Procter & Gamble, Deloitte, Lockheed Martin, NATO, NASA, AC Nielsen, U.S. Navy, Verizon, and ESPN.
Typically, software patents can take as long as four or five years to be awarded, Tessier says, but Coveo chose an option offered by the U.S. Patent Office called Fast Track. By disclosing more information and aiding the Patent Office with its research efforts, the company received its patent in one year. Though requiring more work on Coveo's part, Tessier says the effort was worthwhile. In some cases, he says, going through the regular multiyear patent process can delay a company's potential window for impact. In those instances, he added, "you get the patent when the technology is less useful [than] it would have been."
Additional reporting by Joshua Weinberger.
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