Voice recognition technology is a branch of computer science that deals with getting computer systems to recognize human speech. Voice recognition technology is here to stay, yet some people are slow to embrace it. Perhaps some are disappointed by the early speaker-dependent software that had to be “trained” to understand a human user. Voice recognition has made great strides forward and demand for it will only grow for the foreseeable future. What follows are five benefits to this technology we can be thankful for.
1. Hope for the disabled
People suffering from blindness, or people with medical conditions that limit the use of their hands, can now perform many business and personal tasks just as well as, if not better, than those tapping away at their keyboards. This means jobs – it means more money, more independence, and a greater sense of self-worth. It is not hard to imagine now a world of smart cars, GPS-connected headsets, and voice activated software where a blind person is doing most of the daily tasks a sighted person does.
2. Persistent and immediate shared data
Many may think of data in terms of numbers and text, but modern voice recognition isn’t just about capturing information, it’s about taking any input efficiently and with little or no skills or training – just the ability to speak. Most people naturally talk better and faster than they can type. Speech automatically saved and translated to text is instantly available via computer networks to others in an organization, or around the world. Think what this means for law enforcement, organ donors, and more.
Today people can listen to and even query any data at any device, at any time. Gadgets like smart phones and tablets, along with voice-over-internet and Bluetooth, mean people can utilize data and documents when and wherever needed. From waitresses to pharmacists, anybody can get the information they need on the spot, or save new information without the need to memorize input and go scrambling for a notepad or keyboard. This means filing reports or application while driving home, or taking a bath.
4. Customer service
Automated phone systems can be frustrating, but this is a technology in its infancy. For those willing to make the investment, a sophisticated computer with voice recognition can do the job far better. Customer questions can be answered, and customer input taken, quickly and accurately. Of course this applies to more than just business. Voice recognition can also provide security. It can apply to medicine or government. There is absolutely no reason that next year, or the year after, we shouldn’t be filing taxes, voting, or renewing our driver’s license over the phone.
There is already software available allowing lab workers to record or request results while still physically performing tests. Clerical workers can dictate while doing filing. Warehouse workers can request invoices and packing slips while pulling orders from anywhere on site. The opportunities to take advantage of this aspect are endless. The advantage of natural speech over keyboards also means more accurate information. Growing use in the medical field by companies like PowerScribe has demonstrated that this technology, does, indeed, eliminate many errors in what can clearly be a life-and-death situation. But the same benefit applies to your local auto shop or any other institution, since errors cost time and money. It means an end to superficial paper forms for data collection, since more complex documents can be more easily created, stored, and retrieved- again, with less training. Voice recognition software means more productivity, and that’s good for everyone.