In a sense, the Unified Communications sphere is coming full circle. The unsung hero of UC systems is voicemail, the feature that everyone needs to have, but nobody feels it’s necessary to talk about. A lot of time has been spent diversifying UC beyond voice, but its time in the sun has finally come again.
In the beginning, voice was king
In the beginning there was the PBX, voicemail, and then, eventually, automated attendants (in those days, rudimentary phone trees). The goal was making sure humans could audibly communicate with each other, even if one of the participants’ desks was hidden in a massive office and they were out to lunch, not there to pick up the phone.
Digital communications took over
After that, we entered the digital age full force, with tying up fax, voicemail, email and instant chat (as they emerged) into a Unified Communications system being the next goal. Email was supposed to set us free – we can dash off a message any time we’re thinking of it and it’ll be right there waiting for the recipient. Unified Messaging gathers everything together into one place, the email inbox, so people don’t have to chase conversations from device to device.
Now voice is back in the spotlight
Believe it or not, voice technologies are generating buzz again as the rediscovered key to a more efficient, intuitive world. The key to the future is speech recognition. Here are three ways it’s making itself felt.
- I read what you said: Speech-to-Text
We need voicemail, but we don’t want to waste our time listening to an irrelevant message. That’s where speech-to-text technology comes in. Being able to receive a transcript of the voicemail via email or text message can save you time, allowing you to spot a solicitation call in seconds.
- Faster than speeding fingers: Voice Personal Assistants and Text-to-Speech
Apple, Google, Microsoft, Amazon, and others are betting big on voice-driven personal assistants for consumers. The reasons they’re doing so make as much sense for the home as they do for the office: we typically speak about three times faster than we type. While you can’t type while you’re driving, cooking and covered in flour, or across the room from your computer, you can use your voice.
The consumer-grade personal assistants are great for simple tasks like finding out the distance from earth to the moon, calling a friend in your address book, or setting a reminder to feed the cat. However, their abilities are less relevant to the business user.
A true business-grade personal assistant will allow users to adjust their meeting schedules, change their presence status across all their communications systems, listen to & respond to emails (via Text-to-Speech), and more.
- Having your communications cake & eating it too: Voice Auto Attendants
Customers have never been fond of phone trees, but they serve a critical role for businesses – freeing up staff resources for the calls that actually need someone’s attention. Speech-enabled automated attendants help salve that pain point because they are much faster and more intuitive. Rather than having to sit through a menu of “press 1 for accounting, press 2 for scheduling…,” all the caller has to do is tell the system what they want.
Voice recognition can be a great asset for our rapidly aging population as well – elderly users may find button-based phone systems bewildering, but asking the computer for what they want comes naturally.
The end result is a win-win – generating much less customer frustration, making them feel heard, but still protecting scarce staff resources that organizations need to allocate elsewhere.
Bring the Power of Voice to Your Organization
XMedius produces a Unified Communications solution that brings powerful speech-enabled applications to your existing infrastructure. Adding our XM Connect (formerly known as CX-E) platform puts powerful speech automated attendant and personal assistant applications at your employees’ disposal to improve efficiency and how they interact with the public. Speak to an expert to learn more about what our solutions can do for your organization.