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Voice recognition in telephone answering services (hospitals)
Describing an IT System Voice recognition software used by automated telephone answering services (used in hospitals)
Background <ul><li>Voice recognition technology allows a computer user to input commands or text by speaking to the computer usually bypassing the use of mouse and keyboard. As computers’ processing power has increased, as well as improvements in the software, voice recognition technology has become more widespread. More and more large companies are using automated voice answering services that instruct users to press buttons to move through option menus or understanding simple spoken requests to deliver information. </li></ul>
How does it work? <ul><li>Analog audio is received by a microphone and converted into digital signals. For a computer to decipher the signal, it must have a digital database/vocabulary. This is stored on the hard drive and then loaded into memory when the program is run. People's voices differ in quality, speed, pitch and accent. The database needs to have samples of user's speech in order to recognise words as spoken by the user for comparison. The more words used in training, the better able it is to interpret words correctly. Hospitals are using this technology to handle appointments, give out general information about the hospital, or to direct calls to the appropriate department. </li></ul>
Analysis of Advantages & Disadvantages <ul><li>Advantages include fewer people needed for answering telephones who can then do other things, consistent service, multiple languages offered, improved efficiency. </li></ul><ul><li>Disadvantages include frustration when voice is not recognised correctly because people speak in so many different ways or noise interference, time taken to navigate through too many menus, and the amount of time taken to program the system during set up and when changes are required. </li></ul><ul><li>The inherent costs of the system initially and for ongoing maintenance may be prohibitive in many cases, but if the situation requires an answering system that does not change often and needs to function all the time, the long term savings in employing staff to do this task outweigh these costs. </li></ul>