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31 August 1995


Customers of one of the UK's leading banks, the Abbey National, can now easily obtain their account details and access a range of services 24 hours a day whether they own touch-tone phones or not. This has been made possible thanks to an innovative speech recognition system developed by speech technology and call processing specialist, Vocalis and based on Abbey National's ATM (automated teller machine) host computer software provided by Logica, the leading independent consultancy, systems integration and software company.

The Abbey National system is based on the recognition by a computer of continuous language spoken at natural speed. The significant advantage is that callers can give a normal spoken response to questions put by the automated system, such as "What is your account number?." Most speech-based telephone banking systems demand that the caller reads out each digit very slowly, often in response to a prompt, a procedure which customers often find tedious and time consuming. With growing customer demand for efficient, user-friendly round-the-clock banking, the ease of use of this service will set it apart from telebanking facilities currently offered by other high street banks.

As Mac Millington, IT Director at Abbey National, explains, the bank chose this particular system, because, "Our customers are accustomed to a high quality service and we know that many would welcome the flexibility of an account which can be accessed with ease at their convenience. We chose the Vocalis/Logica solution because it combined leading-edge technology with field-proven capabilities. The system will extend the benefits of banking with Abbey National, enable us to position skilled staff more strategically and to run our operations more cost effectively."

Jeremy Peckham, Managing Director of Vocalis, adds, "Abbey National had stringent criteria in mind when selecting the new system. First, it had to be based on a robust, proven link between the telephone banking system and the bank's host computer. Secondly, it needed a tried-and-tested speech recognition interface tailored to British English. Thirdly, it had to be very user-friendly to ensure that people would welcome it. Finally, the system had to be built on flexible, easily upgradeable computer platforms. The Vocalis/Logica solution satisfied each of Abbey National's requirements."

Andrea Fieldhouse, Account Manager at Logica said, "Successful systems integration means designing the best solution to match the client's systems environment and selecting the right partners. It was sheer teamwork that enabled us to deliver the project on time and to budget; all partners worked towards the same goal, including Abbey National's systems division and business managers. This degree of cohesion, which has developed over time between Abbey National, Vocalis and Logica, ensured project success."

Abbey National chose to work in partnership with Vocalis and Logica to guarantee the successful development, implementation and roll-out of its new telephone banking service. Logica's familiarity with Abbey National's information technology infrastructure combined with the fact that Vocalis could provide a compatible speech recognition interface ensured that a very cost-effective solution could be developed for the bank. Following trials within Abbey National, the new service was announced to the bank's 1.6 million bank account customers in summer 1995.

Notes to editors

Vocalis is a leading provider of solutions that help businesses and people stay in touch, naturally. Based on it’s proprietary voice recognition technology, Vocalis offers a range of packaged voice activated telephony products for the customer premise and network service provider markets world-wide.

Vocalis products include Operetta™ , the world’s first voice activated auto attendant, and SPEECHtel™, a family of voice-activated services, such as voice dialling and directory assistance for fixed and mobile telephone operators. Formed in 1993 and traded on the London Stock Exchange since July 1996, Vocalis services its customers from offices in Cambridge, UK and Boston, MA US.

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About Vocalis

Vocalis works with organisations to create contact centre solutions that build the organisations business and brands. These solutions can turn your contact centre from a cost to a profit centre by ensuring it builds your brand, helps your business be more competitive, and increases customer loyalty through more effective and efficient service. Vocalis was formed in 1993, is publicly traded on FTSE Stock Market and has been listed since July 1996. Vocalis brings back the reassurance of the most personal human touch in business - putting voice to work.

The Vocalis Website is at

Email: [email protected]

For further Vocalis Group information, contact:

Philippa Buttle
Vocalis Group plc
Chaston House
Mill Court
Gt Shelford
Tel: 01223-846177
Fax: 01223-846178
Email:[email protected]

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Friday, August 29, 2003
Location :: c_corporate/news