Case study: BT uses open source BI to support its voicemail system

BT has deployed open source software to support its voicemail system, which currently serves around eight million UK customers.

With the help of systems integrator Unisys, the telco deployed Jaspersoft ’s open source business intelligence (BI) software in its statistical data warehouse (SDW) around 18 months ago, following an initial six-month development project around the source code.

About 50 employees currently use Jaspersoft to query and report on data stored in BT’s vast voicemail database. Staff can analyse mailbox and message counts by class of service, service provider, and usage level and frequency, for example, and produce and distribute reports quickly and easily in multiple formats, which include PDF, Excel, Word and CSV.

This has helped the telco reduce the time it previously took to research and respond to its voice mail customer queries, and to lower the cost of producing ad hoc reports that were previously available only either in standard, daily formats or obtained by submitting a special request to Unisys.

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SRC is Awarded Digital Dictation and Speech Recognition Framework Agreement by NHS Yorkshire and Humber Collaborative Procurement Consortium

[Nik's comment: it has to be said, appointing 5 suppliers as the outcome of a tendering process seems rather like skipping the tendering process! We await annoucements from the other 3!]

SRC appointed as a supplier under a four year framework agreement with the NHS Yorkshire and Humber Collaborative Procurement Hub (YHCPC). This agreement covers the deployment of SRC's digital dictation, voice recognition and outsourced transcription solutions to over 200 Acute, Mental and Primary Care Trusts.

Voice Recognition Firm Eckoh In Shareholder Boardroom Battle


British speech recognition technology firm Eckoh is locked in a battle for boardroom control from its largest shareholder. reports that 12 percent shareholder OCS Management has criticised executives’ performance and called for a new chairman to be appointed, while Eckoh execs are reportedly urging shareholders to resist its bid for more control and to back their own preferred candidate for the chairman position. Founder and CEO Nik Philpott ominously says he won’t “preside over the company’s death”.

Current chairman Peter Reynolds, who is stepping down at the end of the year, is expected to write to shareholders to drum up support—so far shareholders have been split in their allegiance. According to Reynolds, in initial meetings “OCS…stated that they saw little value in Eckoh’s Speech business but did see uses for the cash held by the company.”

James Golightly, executive director of OCS’ parent company ORA Capital Partners, says the plans is simply to “put a stronger board in place”. Expect fireworks at the company’s shareholder meeting on September 4.



Eckoh wins £1.5m contract with Government Transport organisation

Eckoh, the hosted speech recognition services business, has won a new five year contract worth a minimum £1.5 million to supply services to a major Government Transport & Infrastructure organisation.As part of the deal, Eckoh will provide automated telephone services using its advanced speech recognition technology, with the first service expected to launch later this year.

Eckoh plc: Vue Cinemas Renew Exclusive Contract for Three More Years


Eckoh plc is pleased to announce it has successfully renewed its exclusive contract for a three year period to provide a speech-enabled cinema information and ticket booking service and live contact centre to Vue, the UK?s leading developer and operator of state-of-the-art cinemas.

Under the terms of the contract, in Autumn 2009, Eckoh will deploy a completely new automated telephone service which is being designed to reflect the same innovative approach that Vue bring to the cinema market as a whole.

The service will allow callers to easily access information and to book tickets from the full and extensive range of ticket and performance types across the Vue network and to select where they would like to sit in the cinema auditorium and to keep this as a personal preference. It will also feature increased levels of personalisation so it will offer callers where desired, selections based upon their previous call patterns to make the call quicker and more intuitive.

The new service will also benefit from being deployed on Eckoh?s new state-of-the-art VoiceXML call platform which operates the very latest in speech recognition technology from Nuance. This new platform which goes live in the Summer will ensure that the technical performance of the Vue service and the accuracy of the speech recognition will be best in the market.



Hands-Free Car Kits Not Truly Hands-Free

The Strategy Analytics Wireless Device Lab service research, “Hands-Free Car Kits: Consumers Lack a Truly Hands-Free Experience,” shows that purchasers of after market car kits in the UK would like to use speech recognition in order to make their car kit experience truly hands-free; but speech recognition systems fall short of expectations.


These findings are based on in-depth one-on-one research sessions with participants near London, England.

“Strategy Analytics research shows that consumers would like their car kits to provide easy and intuitive hands-free methods for dialing and answering their cell phones while driving,” commented Chris Schreiner, Senior User Experience Analyst at Strategy Analytics. “However, consumers struggle with speech recognition due to usability issues.”

Kevin Nolan, Vice President of the Strategy Analytics User Experience Practice, added, "Our research also shows that streaming music is a service in some car kits that adds value for the consumer, although consumers prefer to experience music via direct hookup through their vehicle speakers rather than via an FM transmitter.”

Telephonetics wins Empire Cinemas multi-year contract

Speech recognition and voice automation specialist Telephonetics has signed a multi-year contract with Empire Cinemas to supply its MovieLine automatic speech recognition (ASR) ticket booking and IT system to all of Empire's 17 UK cinema sites. 

The company grabbed the Empire deal from rival firm Eckoh, which has been working with Empire for the last three years. 

Speech recognition specialist Eckoh leaps ahead on new contract wins

Eckoh is the UK's largest provider of "hosted speech recognition services" with some very big name clients to its credit.

Today, the company gave us a trading update from which it would seem that the infernal things aren't going away. Quite the contrary in fact, as Eckoh reckons it's benefiting from the economic crisis as the large organisations it serves look to cut costs by using Eckoh's services instead of call centres. The lesser of two evils perhaps?

Last year, Eckoh made an operating loss of £2.75m, but that has been turned around and today we learn that profit that will be in line with market expectations as the company's Speech Solutions division has been doing so well.

Eckoh has also managed to improve margins and reduce admin costs by 25%. And the best thing of all is that the company has a nice big cash pile of over £5m -- representing over a third of the value of the entire company. Also, at the last count, the company had an overall net asset value of £9.6m.


East Kent cuts turn around times with SRC

East Kent Hospitals University NHS Foundation Trust has been able to reduce cancer diagnosis times by deploying digital dictation with speech recognition from SRC.

The new technology is allowing pathologists to dictate results in real-time. As a result, histology reporting turnaround times have been cut from a week to often the same day.

Paul Williams, head of BMS cellular pathology at East Kent said: “It has been invaluable in helping us to improve reporting turnaround times and eradicate typing backlogs in spite of increasing workloads. Another, unexpected benefit has been freeing up secretarial staff to train in laboratory duties.”