Speech recognition applications have been around for decades. Until recently however, outside of specialist areas such as warehousing, voice recognition hasn't seen a huge uptake by the small business community as a whole. With high accuracy rates and professional apps available for mobile devices, is voice recognition a service your business could make great use of today?
Many business users may have already experienced what voice recognition can offer. Apple's Siri may grab the headlines but Windows 10 users have Cortana, which moves the digital assistant to a whole new level of functionality. More importantly for today's businesses is the fact that Cortana is available on phones, tablets and desktop PCs offering a level of integration and familiarity across a number of devices being used across your company.
The power of voice recognition applications is that they can turn us all into high-speed typists. Being able to dictate at normal speaking speed and have your words accurately transcribed is a huge productivity bonus all businesses can benefit from.
And if your business has to endlessly type the same blocks of text into numerous documents, the leading speech recognition applications can have special voice commands defined that will enter these blocks of text for you. Think standard clauses in contracts or email signatures.
More than transcription
However, voice recognition can go further than being used as an accurate transcription application. Today's voice recognition systems can be set up to operate multiple applications. So, if you are a sales rep for instance and have just dictated an email to a new customer, you can use your voice to enter that customer's contact details onto your business' CRM (Customer Relationship Management) system. This seamless integration of voice control is where these systems come into their own.
Your business is now run on the move. Voice recognition systems from Nuance have a cloud component that makes these systems infinitely more flexible especially in a business setting. You can use your phone to dictate an email when you're travelling and see this document on any device connected to the cloud. Being able to sync your dictated documents can have a profound impact on your firm's overall efficiency.
Businesses in highly specialised sectors such as the legal profession are in an ideal position to take advantage of what voice recognition can offer. All of the systems are learning machines – the more you use them, the more accurate they become. If your business often creates documents that include jargon and other specialised terminology, voice recognition systems will learn these terms to ensure high levels of accuracy.
Ultimately it's the time-saving factor that attracts businesses to voice recognition. Being able to spend less time typing and more time working on more important aspects of running a business such as customer service, is why more businesses are adopting voice recognition into their business processes.
Even if your company only uses these applications for simple transcription, you'll be surprised at the efficiency gains that can be obtained from relatively low-cost software.
To decide whether voice recognition would be useful for your business, ask yourself these questions:
- Does your business generate high levels of written documents?
- Does your business trade with overseas companies?
- Does your workforce often generate documents outside of your office?
- Does your business frequently create documents with similar content?
- Does your business operate in a sector using high levels of jargon or technical language?
If you answered yes to any of these questions your business could be a candidate for voice recognition applications. The best course of action is to test the systems in your organisation. Even a short trial will reveal whether these systems can be seamlessly integrated into your company's working patterns.
Always consult with your staff, as they will be using these applications, which can take some getting used to after a lifetime of typing with a keyboard. What many businesses usually find is that they augment their day-to-day practices with a level of voice recognition. And over time, this increases and expands, as they gain experience of its advantages and of course its limitations.