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Voice recognition sector ready to boom

The voice recognition industry is set for take off, according to Datamonitor. The analyst house says the sector will recover from its current dip to reach a total value of US$4.33 billion by 2007.<br>

The voice recognition industry is set for take off, according to Datamonitor. The analyst house says that the sector will recover from its current dip to reach a total value of US$4.33 billion by 2007.

At the end of 2001, the sector, including platforms, enabling software, applications and services, was valued at US$629 million, a 3% decline from 2000. However, Benjamin Farmer, voice business analyst, Datamonitor, believes the sector may actually have benefited from the rethink this decline caused.

“Vendors have been forced to apply their technologies towards solving actual business needs. As a result, many vendors have been able to demonstrate return on investment (ROI) to enterprises and service providers through voice solutions,” he explains.

Datamonitor estimates that 25% of Fortune 500 companies invested in voice business in 2001, up from 12% in 2000. This has created opportunities for voice technology vendors especially in customer-facing enterprise applications.

The analyst house believes that the sector is currently being held back by the general telco malaise as well as less proven application business cases. This is expected to change in 2003-4, however, as service provider voice portals and applications become growth opportunities. This depends though, on the service provider investment environment and on the acceptance and success of earlier applications.

Call centre automation is predicted to be the biggest driver of growth, and it represents 44% of supply-side revenues. Presently, voice recognition is contained in large call centres, but it is expected to spread to smaller ones as prices drop.

“There are a number of exciting developments in the speech recognition industry. Deployments are on the rise, revenues will soon return to positive growth, and the industry is ready to solve many business needs. Notably, a number of large technology vendors, including Oracle, Sun and Microsoft, have increased their presence in this space. While this has caused some concern among voice vendors, it nevertheless represents significant opportunities for the market,” concludes Farmer.

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