• December 1, 2011
  • By David Myron, Editorial Director, CRM and Speech Technology magazines and SmartCustomerService.com

Voicing the Future

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During the month of December, many people tend to think about the holidays, family, eating delicious food, and then, of course, dieting. But as 2011 draws to a close, we're focusing our attention on the events of the year and how they could influence 2012.

Our cover story, "Past Is Prologue" (page 18), underscores an important development in 2011: While social CRM is receiving a lot of press, it's not at the expense of traditional CRM. Organizations understand that social CRM is not replacing traditional CRM, but enhancing it. And many organizations are no longer struggling to figure out what social CRM is; rather, they're trying to figure out what to do with it and how it can complement their existing CRM efforts. There were several other significant developments in 2011; read this cover story to find out how they might shape the year ahead.

One of the developments that wasn't mentioned in the cover story was the release of Apple's iPhone 4S this year, which includes Siri, the voice-enabled personal digital assistant. Apple, under the direction of the late Steve Jobs, had a history of making technology cool and useful. (Just take a look at the success of its iPhones and iPads—sales are off the charts.) While the latest voice-enabled iPhone is not exactly a CRM tool, it will improve the general public's perception of speech technology and voice-enabled CRM technology. This could give way to more adoption of speech-enabled enterprise applications, especially voice biometrics applications.

Voice biometrics technology—which is used for security purposes as each person has a unique voiceprint—has grown slowly over the years. However, adoption might speed up in 2012 and beyond as the technology has improved and it's less expensive to deploy, thanks to the lower-cost software-as-a-service model. Organizations no longer have to spend $500,000 on a voice security implementation, according to the feature story "Can Voice Biometrics Hack Computer Security?" (page 24) by News Editor Leonard Klie. The story suggests that the speech verification process isn't overly cumbersome for customers, and, once they know how it works, it's actually quite convenient. Already, 6 million people have created voiceprints for security purposes and, according to one industry analyst, that number is expected to climb to 30 million by 2015.

If 2011 is any indication of what's to come, 2012 should be a very good year for the CRM industry. While planning for 2012, if you have an interesting CRM story, consider telling it at the 2012 CRM Evolution conference in New York (August 13–15). Our call for papers is open and accessible online at www.destinationCRM.com/conference.


Allow me to take this opportunity to welcome two additions to the editorial team. Judith Aquino is CRM magazine's latest associate editor, covering marketing and business intelligence. She comes to us from Institutional Investor, where she was the publication's Web editor. Prior to this, she held several internships at Business Insider, The Street.com, and the Daily News. Judith's email address is jaquino@destinationCRM.com. Sherri Lerner is our new managing editor. Sherri joins us from Grandparents.com, where she was the managing editor. Prior to this, Sherri served as the managing editor of Nick Jr. and Nicktoons magazines as well as Style Channel (AOL). Sherri is also an experienced copy editor, holding the position of copy chief at Parents magazine and copy editor/deputy copy chief at Cosmopolitan magazine. Sherri's email address is slerner@infotoday.com. I am confident that Judith and Sherri will be tremendous assets to our team and I look forward to working with them.

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