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Updated:Sep 25, 2008
Q. What is Speech Connect for Cisco Unity?
A. Speech Connect is a Speech-Enabled Automated Attendant (SEAA) for the enterprise that is available in installations that include a Cisco Unity or Cisco Unity Connection system. Internal or external callers speak the name of an employee into the phone and are connected to that employee. The Speech Connect solution from Cisco
® delivers superior voice-recognition performance with enhanced software that allows Speech Connect to learn from its mistakes, improving its accuracy over time.
Q. What is disambiguation and how does it work?
A. If there are multiple employees with the same name or Speech Connect does not have a perfect match for the name spoken by the caller, Speech Connect will present a number of name choices for the caller and include additional information, such as the employee's location or department. This process is called disambiguation. Speech Connect retains caller preferences over time, expediting transfers as it builds knowledge about a caller's community-of-interest. This feature enhances caller satisfaction because callers are not repeatedly presented with lists of potential names for the person they seek.
Q. What are the primary features of Speech Connect?
A. Speech Connect comes with the following features:
• Support for up to 200,000 directory names
• Advanced disambiguation: Speech Connect stores caller preferences over time, expediting transfers as it builds knowledge about a caller's community-of-interest when given choices among similar names
• Optional Names Tuning service: This service monitors results in an automated manner, inserting improvements and updated pronunciations within 72 hours of a failed utterance
• Speed dial: Speech Connect can be configured as a speed dial soft key on Cisco Unified IP phones
• Name response collection: Allows the caller to hear the target's name in the target's own recorded voice to help determine proper pronunciation
• SIP integration to Cisco Unified Communications Manager or a private branch exchange (PBX)
• Support for U.S. English only
Q. How will my company benefit from using Speech Connect?
A. You and your company benefit from Speech Connect because employees will collaborate more quickly and easily by connecting with each other without having to know multiple phone numbers. With the proliferation of mobile devices, flexible workplaces, and employee turnover, removing the need to know numbers and location is essential to effective collaboration.
Q. Does Speech Connect work for employee names only?
A. Speech Connect can be configured to respond to a number of different voice commands, not just employee names. For example, if you deploy product names in the Speech Connect grammar logic, customers can speak the name of a product and reach a person responsible for that product. Employee names, departments, conference rooms, product names, and any other entity that steers a caller to a phone number can enhance the value of Speech Connect.
Q. What support and services does Cisco offer for Speech Connect?
A. As employees join and leave your company, there are frequent changes such as new names and pronunciations in your directory. To protect the performance and your investment in Speech Connect, Cisco provides an optional service called the Speech Connect Names Tuning service, an entirely automated method of correcting errors in the background, without you having to report issues to a technical support team. The Names Tuning service uses professional linguists to correct problems that cannot be easily solved automatically by the Speech Connect speech engine.
A customer who subscribes to Speech Connect Names Tuning service receives:
• Thorough linguistic support for 30 days post-installation
• Ongoing, automated monitoring and corrections (corrections generally appear within 72 hours of receipt)
• Cisco Help Desk support for recognition issues - the Names Tuning service will allow for prioritization of any cases relating to linguistic analysis and correction through the normal Cisco Technical Assistance Center (TAC) process
• Monthly reporting of Names Tuning corrections and updates
• Alerts notifying your Speech Connect administrator of corrective actions to be taken
Q. How does the Speech Connect Names Tuning service work when a caller speaks an entire name that Speech Connect does not recognize?
A. In this situation, Speech Connect provides no choices after you speak a name, or all choices presented by Speech Connect through disambiguation are incorrect. This occurs generally when the spoken name is not in the Speech Connect directory. A Names Tuning linguist will identify the missing employee record and report the absence to the Speech Connect administrator at your company via an e-mail alert.
Q. How does the Speech Connect Names Tuning service work when a caller speaks either a first or last name that Speech Connect does not recognize?
A. In this situation, Speech Connect cannot find the record for the employee because the first or last name has alternative pronunciations. A Names Tuning linguist will add a nickname, preferred name, synonym, alternative pronunciation, or improved phonetic definition to Speech Connect.
Q. How does the Speech Connect Names Tuning service work when Speech Connect presents callers with incorrect choices and there are too many choices to disambiguate?
A. A Names Tuning service linguist will add alternative pronunciations or improved phonetic definitions to the set of suggested names. If the poor results are due to audible voice quality issues, the issue is reported to your Speech Connect administrator via e-mail.
Q. How does the Speech Connect Names Tuning service work when the caller is offered choices but hangs up, cancels, or transfers to the operator?
A. A Names Tuning linguist will add a nickname, preferred name, synonym, alternative pronunciation, or improved phonetic definition to Speech Connect for the set of suggested names.
Q. Which Cisco Unified Communications products are compatible with Speech Connect?
A. Speech Connect is compatible with Cisco Unified Communications Manager versions 4.x and newer, Cisco Unity versions 4.2 and newer, and Cisco Unity Connection 2.x and newer.
Q. Are there any special software requirements to deploy Speech Connect?
A. There are no specific software requirements for Cisco Unified Communications Manager and Cisco Unity solutions because Speech Connect, in this initial release, operates independently. Company directory records can be imported into Speech Connect from any directory source, including Active Directory and Lightweight Directory Access Protocol (LDAP). Speech Connect comes with an installation disk for installation on a Cisco speech server.
Q. What hardware do I need to deploy Speech Connect?
A. Speech Connect runs on a separate Unity Messaging Product Server for speech (Cisco MCS 7825, 7835, or 7845 Media Convergence Server) as an independent application. If you have deployed a speech server for Cisco Unity 5.x or 7.x to take advantage of the speech recognition features in Cisco Unity, another speech server will be required to support Speech Connect.
Q. What languages are supported in Speech Connect?