Anticipated benefits Faster and easier access to back-end data; 24/7 unattended operation; fewer operators and call center agents; support for PC, mobile phone and wireless device users; and shortened calls.
Hurdles Planning and designing an implementation; integrating with existing phone systems; and fine-tuning the voice recognition engine to work with the widest possible range of voices and phone-line conditions.
Primary markets Call centers and enterprise communications centers.
Cost $50,000 to more than $70,000 for basic directed dialogue systems; $80,000 to more than $500,000 for full-featured natural language environments.
VendorsMicrosoft www.microsoft.com: Microsoft Speech Software Development Kit?a full speech platform is currently in technical preview.
IBM www.ibm.com: IBM WebSphere Voice Response software.
Nuance www.nuance.com: Nuance Voice Platform software.
SpeechWorks International www.speechworks.com: SpeechWorks software.
ScanSoft www.scansoft.com: SpeechPearl software.
Phonetic Systems www.phoneticsystems.com: Voice Search Engine software.