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How can speech recognition technology support remote work?

Today's speech recognition technology is much more sophisticated than legacy versions. Find out how speech recognition can make remote workers more productive.

Speech recognition technology takes many forms, and IT decision-makers should keep two things in mind when considering its use for remote working. First, speech recognition is not a new technology per se; it has been used by businesses for decades. So, the technology shouldn't be viewed as something novel or unique. That said, speech recognition today is a culmination of a variety of new technologies that fortifies its capabilities -- capabilities that extend to remote working.

Second, for many businesses, remote working will be a new scenario, and new approaches will be needed to support both home-based workers and IT. This doesn't mean legacy technologies don't have a role here, but for speech recognition technology in particular, IT must move on from its legacy mindset. Legacy-based speech applications will have limited utility for remote working, but today's speech technology capabilities will resonate in a big way with remote workers.

If this is new territory, IT will need a refresh on speech recognition, and to help, here are two examples to consider.

Home-based work environments can be chaotic, especially with young families, in which case sitting at a desk all day will not be the norm.

Hands-free working. Thanks to AI, speech recognition technology is more accurate and getting quite close to human speech. It's good enough now for the workplace. Home-based work environments can be chaotic, especially with young families, in which case sitting at a desk all day will not be the norm. Furthermore, many home workers won't have a landline, and they'll be working as much from their smartphone as from their desk. In these settings, there will be less access to a keyboard than at the office, and this is where speech technology becomes an effective proxy. Workers can now use voice commands or voice queries with any endpoint -- smartphone, smart speaker, PC -- to stay productive when they can't be at their desks.

Speech to text. There are many use cases here, with more coming -- again, thanks to advances in AI. Real-time transcription is an especially useful application, where workers don't have to take notes during calls, and it's easier to follow video calls, especially when some speakers are challenging to understand or the environment is noisy. Also, because home-based workers will likely have a mobile-centric work style, their ability to use a keyboard is limited. With speech to text, workers can dictate emails on the go or jot out reminder notes to keep on top of tasks. In addition, many software applications, like Microsoft 365, are speech-enabled, so many operations, such as editing text documents or updating spreadsheets, can be performed via smartphones. The possibilities are endless, and the main takeaway here is that speech to text can be a great productivity tool for home-based workers.

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