Mis-reporting of postcode voice recognition system

By on 06/11/2012 in Rebuttals

Birmingham City Council’s response to inaccurate reporting of the discontinued postcode voice recognition system:

The system was introduced into the council’s Housing Service in March 2012. At no time was there a problem with it being unable to recognise local accents – it was a technical issue where sometimes the system could not recognise combinations of numbers and letters in the postcode. Even with this occasional fault, callers whose postcode could not be recognised were directly answered by a member of staff.
This voice recognition system was discontinued on 8th October this year, and upgraded to a press-key system providing an improved, more accessible menu of options, enabling tenant enquiries to be dealt with more quickly and efficiently. The last telephone transactional survey data showed an 89% satisfaction rating for the service from customers who were asked about the speed with which they were able to access the service.
Again, it must be stressed that there was not a problem with being unable to recognise accents; it was caused by a teething problem with the original system technology which has now been replaced.

In addition, contrary to a report in the Sun newspaper today (November 6) which quotes £11 million for the voice recognition system.  This is incorrect – cost is approximately £45,000.

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  1. Automatic voice recognition technology is not still matured to produce accurate transcription for non-American accents, or with people speaking quickly or multiple speakers .