Waiting by the Phone by ProQuest


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by the                                                           Why the U.S.

                                                                  watches and
                                                              waits as Europe
                                                              and Asia roll out
    t’s a familiar scenario: A young couple drives down
    a deserted Texas road in the middle of the night.          voice and video
    The moon is full, a wolf howls off in the distance, a
    dark, dilapidated house ruptures the horizon ahead,
    and then the inevitable happens—the young cou-                   response
ple’s car gets a flat tire. Pulling over to the side of the
road, they exit the car and scratch their respective
heads, unsure of how to change the flat. At this point,            technology
our young couple has two options:
   1) Go to the aforementioned dilapidated house for
help and risk being massacred by a chainsaw-wielding              by Adam Boretz
madman, or
   2) Use a 3G mobile phone to call into their motor
club’s interactive voice and video response (IVVR) sys-
tem, proceed through a number of voice prompts, watch
a video that shows—right on their handset’s display
screen—how to change a flat, and continue on their way,
safe, sound, and in one piece.
   Clearly, the second option is preferable. However,
since our young lovers find themselves in the United
States—and not, say, Europe or Asia—they will be
forced to seek assistance elsewhere. Option two just isn’t
a reality in the U.S.
   “We don’t have any IVVR deployments in the U.S.,”
says Daniel Hong, senior analyst at research firm Data-
monitor. “Quite simply for us, we don’t have IVVR.
There’s definitely nothing in the U.S. that I know of that
has gone live.”

   20 | Speech Technology     NOVEMBER/DECEMBER 2008                               www.speechtechmag.com
www.speechtechmag.com   NOVEMBER/DECEMBER 2008   Speech Technology | 21

  According to Hong—who cites the               “What we are doing at H-Care is work-        she politely phones users with reminders
potential benefits of IVVR as improved        ing on a platform which enables multi-         and assists them through menu options
customer experience, reduced costs, and       channel, self-service capability through       via their mobile devices.
revenue generation—such voice and             the Web, mobile video calls, and multime-         “H-Care is a leading company which
video systems require a robust infrastruc-    dia messages,” Basso says. “Basically          supplies new multichannel solutions,”
ture, a standardized 3G wireless network,     what we enable is to have a real-time,         says Mauro Veglia, senior vice president
and the proliferation of 3G mobile            very high-quality face rendering based         of customer services at Fiat. “FGA
devices and applications, all of which        on a 3D model which would represent the        selected H-Care for piloting the HDA
are, for now, sorely lacking in the U.S.      brand’s customer care rep, and this…[cre-      experience because of its technical excel-
  “Right now in the U.S. market, it’s still   ates] on-the-fly communication [that is]       lence in graphical rendering solutions.
too early,” he says.                          very
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