JetBlue dials in to Microsoft's speech-recognition technology

A recent move by JetBlue is allowing the airline's passengers to retrieve flight information with a voice-activated interface when they call in. It's a simple scenario that most of us are familiar with: You call a toll-free number, speak the flight numbers, arrival and departure cities, and flight times, and you are provided with the information you need. The headlines from a recent Webinar regarding JetBlue's phone changes show the affordability side: "How JetBlue is Replacing their $1,000 Speech Recognition Licenses for $15".

So where does Microsoft come into play on all of this? Well, there are usually steep costs involved with speech recognition. Aumtech, however, collaborated with Microsoft to leverage the speech recognition services built into Office and Vista, resulting in a lower-cost solution. By lower cost, I mean 75 percent lower than competitively placed solutions, according to some accounts.

Here are some of the numbers: When JetBlue wanted to increase its existing Philips/Nuance ASR application license (which had an 88 percent accuracy rate and 60 percent call completion rate), the airline was looking at a price tag of $175,000. Aumtech said it could do it better and for less, $47,500. JetBlue says the system now has an accuracy rate of 90 percent and call completions are at 82 percent with the capability to handle three times the call volume than the previous system. .

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