Look Mom, No Hands: Implementing Speech-Enabled Applications
Speech-based technology has evolved to where it is robust enough to be used by emergency responders.
Transitioning from traditional information systems to speech-based applications
Getting speech-based data retrieval and input systems up and running is simply a matter of systems implementation and personnel training. Admittedly, the switch from a PC-based environment to a speech-based one is a large and seemingly risky step. However, a number of measures can be taken to ease the transition, and the advantages of such a system outweigh the transition and learning curve. A simple set of measures to ensure the smooth transition to a speech-based environment include:
Selecting a good pilot environment — Initial candidate agencies will have a well-defined forms-based process using a program like FormStream from Patron Systems (www.patronsystems.com), a willing management team with a track record of trying innovative approaches and a good economic or mission-oriented case for streamlining its data collection process.
Addressing application development productivity — The specific technology should provide an integrated workbench for designing, building and testing the voice-enabled application components prior to downloading to the target environment. It also is important to include expertise in voice user interface (VUI) development on the team.
Involving real users — During the design, build and test cycle, it is important to involve "model users" whose capabilities and accomplishments are appreciated in the organization. These users can make the design team aware of best practices among field users, and can help the team be creative in streamlining processes.
Roll out the application systematically — Once the application has been lab tested, the agency should roll out the application following a deployment strategy including initial user training, rapid collection of user feedback and quick dissemination of software enhancements.
Learn from feedback and plan wider deployments—Following a successful pilot, the agency can adopt suggested enhancements to the training and rollout process and deploy speech recognition in a wider set of mobile applications agency-wide.