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7th September 2000

Vocalis launches unique PostCode identification system at Call Centre Expo 2000

Vocalis, the international speech technology group, is introducing a ground-breaking new system that uses Advanced Speech Recognition (ASR) to achieve postcode-based caller identification.

The Vocalis Intelligent Query Engine (IQe), a suite of applications for the call centre market, can reduce the time a call centre agent spends with callers, offering the potential for huge productivity increases. The technology, which is developed by Vocalis and has a patent pending, asks the caller specific questions and using Advanced Speech Recognition (ASR) matches the callers responses against customer records. This enables the caller to be accurately identified before they are connected to an agent. All relevant information about the caller can then be sent to the computer screen of the agent handling the call. Automation of this type of query has, to date, been impossible within the speech recognition industry. The accuracy levels achieved by Vocalis IQe can be higher than that achieved by human agents. The IQe-Postcode application, which requests the caller's postcode and street name, is the first application to be available.

The Vocalis IQE-Postcode application, which is being launched commercially at the Call Centre Expo 2000 exhibition taking place at Birmingham's NEC on 19-20th September, will produce major improvements in the efficiency of call centres. The system has the potential to save millions of pounds in operating costs through the reduction of agent call time and to significantly improve levels of customer service.

"We believe this is the world's first live implementation of a speech driven automated British postcode recognition system," said Minesh Patel, Technical Director of Vocalis. "Following extensive research, the techniques we have developed for achieving this represent a real breakthrough, and it is a task conventional speech recognition systems have been unable to do to date."

For call centres, a fundamental job is to verify the identity and address of the caller, a task taking up to 25% of the agent's time in handling a call. UK companies are currently investing more than £46m1 annually in the deployment of new technology to make call centres more efficient.

People costs account for over 80% of the cost of running a call centre. Applications like Vocalis IQe-Postcode can deliver quick returns through significant productivity increases.

Postcodes are an effective method to identify callers. However, to date, accuracy levels achieved by automated recognition systems have been under 50%, too low for a practical system. In addition, it is not feasible to use tone driven services, a technique widely used for other purposes by call centres, where the caller uses the telephone's touch-tone keypad to input information.

The Vocalis IQe-Postcode application represents a real breakthrough in that it achieves accuracy levels far higher than previous systems, as Patel explains.

"The recognition accuracy provided by our system can actually be greater than that typically achieved by human beings. The arrival of the Vocalis IQe-PostCode application is now a practical solution that will be of great benefit to most call centres."

Vocalis has achieved this accuracy through the development of a special matching process, for which a patent is pending.

"As well as achieving high levels of accuracy, the IQe-PostCode application is designed to keep the interaction with callers very natural, so that they have almost the same experience as they would with a human operator," Patel says. "That is a further reason why we believe the system has huge potential for all call centres that need to identify callers."

At the Call Centre Expo 2000 exhibition, Vocalis (Stand Number Y43) will be staging a series of live, practical demonstrations, including the Vocalis IQe-PostCode application.

1 Source DataMonitor

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:

Rebecca Knight Philippa Buttle
QBO Vocalis Group plc
22 Endell Street
Covent Garden
Chaston House
Mill Court
Gt Shelford
Tel: 020 7379 0304 Tel: 01223-846177
Fax: 020 7497 2533 Fax: 01223-846178
Email:[email protected] Email:[email protected]

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Wednesday, July 02, 2003
Location :: c_corporate/news