Interactive Voice Response Technology is a Technology Which Allows the Caller to Interact with a Host Computer via Key or Speech Recognition. A typical example can be; the Caller receives a verification call, picks it up; after saying “Hello” to the call, the speech dialogue system gets activated and answers : “Welcome to XYZ company’s verification system. Abhishek, your secret code is 567890, to repeat dial hash from your keypad.”
It is common in the industries to refer to an automated attendant as an Interactive Voice Response system. The terms, however, are distinct and mean different things to traditional telecommunications professionals, whereas emerging telephony and VoIP professionals often use the term Interactive Voice Response as a catch-all to signify any kind of telephony menu including a basic automated attendant.
Basic Structure of a Interactive Voice Response System
IVR systems consist of the following components :
- A Speech Recognition System (Automated Speech Recognition, ASR) with grammar / semantics for interpreting voice inputs (Natural Language Understanding NLU)
- Speech synthesis (text-to-speech, TTS) for conversion of text into computer-generated speech output
- Dialog flow interpreter (VoiceXML browser) as a front-end
- Business logic and databases for integration into business processes as a backend
- Interfaces to the IP network , telephone network , DECT systems or audio connections
There are biometric method for speaker authentication (“voice password”) and are used in high security scenario, like in the Federal Office for Security in Information Technology. Due to the advancement of speech recognition in recent years, full sentence synthesis possible. Natural Language Understanding NLU is the intelligence of the dialogue partner. To use NLU effectively, the artificial intelligence of the dialogue system must keep pace with the natural time to perform the steps. After the core technology is now regarded as largely mature, new disciplines are into the focus of the developers.
Application Area and Commercial Interactive Voice Response Systems
Interactive Voice Response Systems or IVR systems make it possible to use language as a further input tool, next to the keyboard, mouse and monitor. The types of applications can be technically divided into
- Pure voice services: provide only interaction on language and
- Multimodal applications: combining voice interaction with other graphical interface.
Since the user can not be trained personally, the functioning of the systems do not know and feels bothered by possibly the voice service with rehearsal, end users often take a negative attitude towards voice services. The following fields of application are exemplary of the commercial area:
- Services to retail customers ( business-to-consumer ) :
Information and advice on the phone, such as driving and flight plans
Automatic order / reservation on the phone, such as ticket hotline, catalog orders, telephone banking
Automatic telephone exchange / placement
Pre-qualification / authorization of callers, such as querying the customer ID or PIN
Intelligent waiting fields of call centers
Televoting , competitions on the phone
- Services between business processes ( business-to-consumer ):
No known solution.
There are advantages and disadvantages of current Interactive Voice Response Technology, mostly it is a cost effective yet error proof solution for the business.