Experiences

Clients

We do not present information concerning the content of projects or our current clients. This is a selection of clients we worked with in the first years of Accipio Consulting.
Clients

Earlier key achievements

Prior to Accipio Consulting, I (VS) had the privilege of contributing when Philips Electronics launched several of the world’s first-of-a-kind systems: The world-wide first 20k-word continuous-speech dictation product (with work-flow), the world-wide first GSM hand-held cell-phone with name dialing, and the world-wide first mixed-initiative natural speech dialog system. In addition to these achievements in speech recognition, I can also add one from the area of video security when I worked for plettac electronics.

Professional Dictation System with Automatic Speech Recognition

Problem: Overloaded typing pools, massive handling of cassettes, turnaround times in the range of days: The world of many dictating professionals used to be like this.
Measures: Introduction of a system with fully automatic transcription of the recordings into text, followed by manual correction, integrated into a complete Hospital Information System with optimized workflow.
Results: Cost reduction, dramatically reduced report turn-around times, automated and centralized documentation workflow, way of working changed only a little for the document creator, less routine work for the transcription service.
Comment: Automatic transcription as part of the work-flow today has a significant market share in medical transcription.

Cell Phone with Name Dialing

Problem: In the nineties, mobile phones with their ever-shrinking physical dimensions could not be equipped with name dialing due to the limited hardware performance.
Measures: Dramatic reduction of the resource demands of the speech recognition software in cooperation with the developers of Philips Consumer Communications in Le Mans, leap-frogging competition such as Motorola.
Results: Presentation of the world’s first GSM mobile phone SPARK at CeBIT fair, 1997.
Comment: Although many smart phones are equipped with name dialing today, this feature has not yet made it into wide-spread use. To my opinion, this is mainly due to the poor ergonomic design of current systems that makes voice dialing on a mobile phone as unpleasant as smart phone use before the advent of the iPhone.

Dialog System in the Telephone Network

Problem: Consumer interaction with enterprises was growing at the end of the nineties, but customer services over the phone – in contrast to interaction via the Internet – could not be automated – IVR (interactive voice response) systems were only suitable for the most simple applications, while call centers were cost-effective for high value interactions only.
Measures: Roll-out of automatic speech dialog systems enabling the caller to interact naturally and easily by voice.
Results: Dramatic cost reduction for customer services, improved availability, and the functionality of web browsers via voice over the phone.
Comment: World-wide, several tens of billions of phone calls per year are made with automatic systems that meet high expectation levels. The pioneering company in this area was Philips Speech Processing (its assets are today part of Nuance). Although there is still a surprisingly high number of insultingly bad systems out there, the technology is totally ready to significantly improve customer contact.

Voice Portal

Problem: Before end customers use a paid telephone service, there is the bottle-neck of knowing the number and having the primary experience. The telecom industry was discussing the concept of a voice portal (analogous to a web portal) which promised to bypass this bottle-neck: just one single phone number would give easy and fast access to services. However, the wide-spread IVR technology was not powerful enough.
Measures: Roll-out of the world’s first and largest voice portal at the Italian mobile operator Omnitel in 1999.
Results: Under one single number, Omnitel’s customers could access many, partially paid, automated services just by speaking into their mobile phone. Novel business concepts implemented (differentiated billing).
Comment: Acknowledging that this impressive work was the world’s first and very complex voice portal installation, it is fair to say that the system suffered both from its complexity and some usability issues (long intro prompt).

Managing a Disruptive Technology Change in the Video Security Business

Problem: The European market leader in video security solutions, having a high technical and customer-service reputation, was being perceived by the marketplace as having missed the transition from analog to digital video transmission. The disruptive technology change from analog to IP-based video transmission was a major threat to the company’s leadership position (which to a significant part was based on their technological excellence in analog transmission).
Measures: Analyzing both the company’s technological assets as well as the market trends and the competitive landscape. Committing the company’s managers and thought leaders to one single perception of the situation and the coming market change. Defining and implementing strategy and roadmap. Choosing and negotiating with a premier supplier. Closing the gaps in the company’s portfolio, especially the video management system.
Results: Presentation of the first video management system with both analog and digital transmission capability and full backward compatibility at the Security tradeshow in Essen, 2002. Positioning the company as a technology leader in digital video security solutions, thus putting it back on the competitive scene.

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