Monday, June 01, 2009

Where are Speech Biometrics in Europe?..... and the Your Call Blog

I was very interested to see the news on the Call site that CentreLink is moving to replace its PIN and password system with voice biometrics. For those not so familiar with Australia, CentreLink is the Australian Government's welfare agency and so it's a pretty substantial and sizable public facing organisation (there's more information on the organisation here).

What I find interesting is that in Europe I'm hardly seeing interest in speech on the same scale. Last time I wrote about speech (in the post "BBC Moneybox on Speech Recognition for banking"), I got a big response and a very good example of speech being used in the Philippines for accessing government services. Another APAC example, and I can't think of anything comparable in Europe.

What it makes it very relevant to me is that this week the Call blog ("Your Call" by Dr. Catriona Wallace) is over in Europe. I admire Dr. Wallace's blog for the frequency of posting, even if this week I wasn't so sure of the etiquette discussion! Now in this week's blog post, she highlights that Europe seems to know very little of the APAC and Australian contact centre market. Of course she is writing from Lisbon, and Portugal is not one of those countries with strong connections to Australia. This is one of the problems with treating Europe as a single entity, I suspect she'd probably find Britain much more knowledgeable on APAC, but Britain would be no where near as knowledgeable on Brazil and South America as a Portuguese audience.

I appreciate that the many languages and size of some of the markets has made things difficult for speech vendors in Europe (and I went into this in more details in the post "Technology firms, Europe and speech recognition"), but that doesn't fully explain why speech seems to be taking off in Australia and making little headway in Europe. Is it perhaps ignorance of what is being achieved elsewhere? Are there more fundamental barriers to speech adoption in Europe that I'm missing?

This is perhaps time to appeal to my readership and say, "Why do you think we're not seeing many speech projects in Europe?" All ideas welcome!

No comments: