• March 22, 2006
  • By Colin Beasty, (former) Associate Editor, CRM Magazine

Speech Analytics Vendors Are Listening

Two contact center speech analytics vendors announced enhancements and product upgrades to their offerings yesterday, indicative of continued growth and sophistication in the industry. Nexidia, a provider of audio search and speech analytics, released the latest version of its enterprise speech analytics solution, Nexidia Enterprise Speech Intelligence (ESI) 6.0. Likewise, contact center software provider etalk introduced its new speech analytics technology, Qfiniti Explore. Nexidia ESI 6.0 premieres Forensic Search, a feature that allows end-users to quickly ad-hoc search large sets of audio, such as recorded conversations from a call center. Forensic Search enables the system to learn search patterns within the organization, tuning and adapting the application to create highly optimized searches and results. Forensic Search was developed with both advanced and beginner users in mind, says John Willcutts, president and CEO of Nexidia. "It [Nexidia ESI 6.0] was designed to open the vast and growing world of audio mining and speech analytics to both power users and casual users," Willcutts said in a written release. Etalk's Qfiniti Explore is powered by etalk's Intelligent Data Operating Layer (IDOL) technology, which gives it the ability to understand the concepts and context of a conversation rather than using phonetic word spotting, according to the company. Capabilities of Qfiniti Explore include automated trend spotting, real-time notifications of 'hot' customer topics, and ad-hoc and customized agent searching. "With all the call recording, monitoring, and evaluation capabilities that call centers have had for years, they've never had the ability to actually understand what goes on in a conversation between the customer and the agent," said Scott Shute, CEO of etalk, in a written release. Qfiniti Explore was originally developed for the government, and is used for intelligence gathering and security. That is representative of the technology emerging from this growing market in general, according to Donna Fluss, principal at DMG Consulting. Vendors realized its contact center implications in 2004, though 2006 is expected to be a breakout year for this market. "At the end of 2004, there were no more than 25 implementations of speech analytic solutions in contact centers," Fluss says. "At the end of 2005, there were at most 250. It took a few years for vendors to adopt these solutions for businesses, but the market is coming into its own in 2006. It is expected to be the first year of large-scale adoption of speech analytics solutions in contact centers, with a projected growth rate of 120 percent." Interest in this technology is high because it addresses two of the core requirements of contact centers; by reducing cost and improving a center's ability to extract information from interactions it can better understand its customers, Fluss says. "These two announcements show that this market is alive and well. The interest is high and that's because the value proposition is for real." Related articles: Keeping Balance in the Center
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