.NET Speech Server Day: Video Clips Update

In a previous post regarding the recent .NET Speech Server Day in Waltham, I noted that Thom Robbins had posted video clips over at his blog. I also considered myself lucky that none of those clips were of me.

Well, Thom has added more clips – and they now *do* include parts of my presentation. If you want to check them out, head over to Thom’s blog. Just remember – the camera adds 10 pounds. Streaming video adds another 20… ;-)

Windows Mobile and .NET Speech Server – A Natural Match

It’s been less than a week since my presentation at .NET Speech Server Day here in the Boston area, but the impressions from that day are still very much in the forefront of my mind. One of the things that continues to come to mind is what a great marriage .NET Speech Server can be in a number of Windows Mobile deployments.

Over the last few years, I have had the opportunity to work with PDA deployments that have been – well, “input-hostile”. In these situations, the devices were deployed for focused enterprise applications. The users of the devices were often unfamiliar with PDAs and (more importantly) stylus input. In some cases, these devices were actually the first computing platform for the users, with paper and pencil previously used for data capture. The industries I can think of included manufacturing shop floor control, inventory control and field support. In these cases, introducing the end user to a completely new and not entirely intuitive input methodology often created a number of issues. In certain cases, the application was rejected by some users as simply not being usable. Enter .NET Speech Server.

By using a speech-enabled multi-modal application using Pocket Internet Explorer, it is very possible to overcome the idiosyncrasies associated with stylus input. Speech enablement essentially -

  • Provides a natural method of user interaction and data acquisition;
  • Provides a truly “hands-free” option from a data input perspective (well, one hand will often need to be used to hold the device ;-))

There are, of course, still some limitations to this solution. It is a web-based solution, which limits it to “always-on” network connectivity and therefore does not support occasionally-connected scenarios. Even when connected, the amount of “data across the wire” in speech-enabled applications may restrict deployment in “bandwidth-challenged” environments. 

The potential of extending existing enterprise applications using speech enablement is extremely exciting to me. I encourage all developers who work in environments where speech enablement might provide a distinct user input advantage to check out the technology more closely. You may be surprised, as I was when first introduced the Speech Application SDK, at how easy it is to leverage your .NET and Visual Studio experience to create these types of applications. 

.NET Speech Server Day

I just thought I would take a moment to thank everyone who attended by presentation during the .NET Speech Server Day in Waltham this past Wednesday. I would especially like to thank you all for -

  • Not falling asleep (I know that the last presenter is the toughest to stay focused on)
  • Not hurling any objects at me :-)

Special thanks go to Thom Robbins for giving the opportunity to speak to and meet so many of you folks.

Thom has posted up information on the Speech Server Day, as well as some video clips, on his blog. As of this writing, I am thankful that none of me have yet to appear. Be thankful for the little things, I always say…

An “If I Knew Then What I Know Now” Question

First off, I’m glad to be back blogging. Not that I had really gone anywhere. It’s just that my normally hectic life has been even more hectic recently. Now it’s just back to the normal chaos ;-)

A little project I am currently working on reminded me of a question I have wanted to here back from the community on for quite some time. I guess now is as good a time as any to ask.

We all have our “if I only knew then what I know now” moments. For the .NET Compact Framework developers, are there any “gotchas” that you can think of that you only wished someone had told you about and/or shown you how to avoid or work around? I’d really like to hear about them, as well as to use this post as a way of sharing the information. From a selfish perspective, I can potentially use this kind of feedback to help make this little project I’m working on a bit successful, if for no other reason than my validating some of my thoughts. Of course, the collection of shared wisdom in this post should (hopefully) counter-balance the selfish factor :-)