“Stop talking to machines and talk to a real human” – that’s the unofficial motto of a new service at NoPhoneTrees.com. They are in beta launch at the moment but claim that they can “walk the tree” for you and they currently handle over 150 companies in several different categories. They will place the call for you then navigate the phone tree and call you back and connect you.
Personally I have mixed feelings about things like this and things like and gethuman. I can see the need for them with all of the badly designed Speech/IVR interfaces that are out there. One part of me hates to see people circumventing the interface to get to an operator but the other side sees the need. If we all did a better job designing our interface then there would be no need for sites like these.
I’m glad that speech is becoming more ubiquitous and that the tools are making it easier for developers. OCS Speech Server 2007 is a great example of how easy, convenient and powerful the tools have become. But with all of this power comes two problems, everybody wants to get involved and most people don’t know how to do good design.
To quote Peter Parker’s Uncle Ben – “With great power comes great responsibility“. If you are going to use these tools and call yourself a speech developer then you should learn how to do it right. This is where GotSpeech and other sites can play a big part in shaping our industry. It behooves each of us to do the best that we can. If we don’t know how to design a good interface then we should take it upon ourselves to learn. Blade Kotelly’s book The Art and Business of Speech Recognition: Creating the Noble Voice makes a great starting point.
I don’t want to discourage or put down the developers of NoPhoneTrees and the other sites. I just long for the day when they are no longer necessary. That will mean that we are finally doing our jobs right.
So, tell me what you think.
I got this from the Unified Communications Group at Microsoft. If you are interested then email this address – firstname.lastname@example.org.
The Unified Communication Marketing team will be conducting six focus groups at Tech Ed, Orlando in June 2007 focusing on Unified Messaging, IP telephony space. We would like to work with you to identify and recruit IT administrators and IT managers in this area for participation in these 2 hour sessions. We are conducting focus groups to gain clarity concerning the roles and responsibilities in an IP telephony environment, given Exchange Server 2007 Unified Messaging and the public release of Beta 3 Office Communications Server (OCS) 2007.
We would like recruit IT administrators and IT managers currently working in an enterprise environment, which is defined as an organization with 100+ servers and 500+ PCs. They may work as full time employees or as contracted vendors. We are looking for a group of IT administrators and IT managers who have experience with Microsoft products such as Exchange Unified Messaging, Office Communications Server 2007, Office Live meeting, Live Communications Server, etc., this experience would be a plus. We are also interested in IT administrators and IT managers who have experience in an IP telephony environment and not strictly a TDM/legacy telephony environment, with expertise in IP telephony equipment from vendors such as Cisco, Avaya, and Nortel.
Also request participants to sign up for one the following sessions if they are an IT administrator or IT manager who manages the technology related to the session.
Session 1: June 4th, 1:00pm-3:00pm – For IT administrators and IT managers who manage Microsoft LCS or Microsoft OCS pilots.
Session 2: June 4th, 3:00pm-5:00pm – For IT administrators and IT managers who manage Microsoft LCS or Microsoft OCS pilots
Session 3: June 5th, 3:00pm-5:00pm – For IT administrators and IT managers who manage Exchange Unified Messaging or Cisco Unified Messaging solutions
Session 4: June 6th, 12:00pm-2:00pm – For IT administrators and IT managers who manage Exchange Unified Messaging or Cisco Unified Messaging solutions
Session 5: June 7th, 1:30pm-3:30pm – For IT administrators and IT managers who manage Cisco, Avaya, Nortel or any other VOIP solution.
Session 6: June 7th, 3:30pm-5:30pm – For IT administrators and IT managers who manage Cisco, Avaya, Nortel or any other VOIP solution.
All sessions are in Peabody Hotel Bayhill Suites II.
I got a brief look at the UCMA when I was in Redmond back in March and I really got excited. Now Joe Calev has done an introduction to it on his blog. You really should take the time to familiarize yourself with this API.
Joe will be doing a series on this and I’m going to make sure that I find the time to keep up with it.
I really need more hours in the day as there is so much to OCS 2007 that I want to play with but work and family keep getting in the way. Developers should really be wealthy, single and a hermit. It’s the only way to get enough time to play with new technology.
I put this together based on what Albert showed us at teh MVP Summit. It should give you a visual overview of how things fit together.
If you have listened to Brandon’s last Podcast then you should know that I have registered gotUC.net as a domain name. I will be standing up gotUC as a sister site to GotSpeech. There is so much going on in the area of Unified Communications that I thought it was time for an online user community built around the UC platform.
gotUC will be modeled after GotSpeech and will contain articles, downloads and forums for each of the platforms that make Unified Communications possible. You will be able to post your questions in forums that are dedicated to the area that interests you (Unified Messaging, Office Communications Server 2007 etc).
My goal is to make GotUC into the same vibrant user community that GotSpeech has grown into. I plan to stand things up to coincide with the OCS launch though I may bring it on line sooner.
Now for the contest – I know how to stand up and grow a user community but I’m not the artistic type. I need a logo for the new site that reflects it’s name and mission. I’m no good at logo design (Brandon did the one for GotSpeech) and that is where the contest comes in. You design the logo and the winner gets a prize. See how simple that is?
This is your chance to exercise your design skills and come up with the new logo for gotUC.net and win the laptop case shown below. Be the envy of all of your friends as you carry your laptop around in this beautiful Office communications Server 2007 bag. Show the world your pride in OCS!
You can email me the logos at email@example.com or you can upload them to the files section.
I’m also looking for individuals who are interested in stepping up and getting involved in this new community. I would love to have separate administrators for each of the different forums. So if you have expertise and a willingness to get involved then email me.
I got an email today that started like this:
This will sound strange, but a new Martial will be filling the vacant IVR position at Landstar. I’m very excited about the possibilities. It looks like I’ve got some big shoes to fill. ….
Yes that’s right my old position is being filled by someone with the same name as me (though spelled differently). I called my old boss Dave and accused him of missing me so much that he had to hire someone with the same name as me. Or maybe he did it so as to not confuse himself.
Regardless of the reason I bet it will feel weird having someone there with my name in my old job.
I wish Martial well and hope to see him around GotSpeech. Don’t worry about the “big shoes”. I’m not that good, I just have a good PR department (me).