Voice Portals Mean Explosive Opportunity

Voice Portals Mean Explosive Opportunity

Speech-enabled Internet portals, or voice portals, are quickly becoming the hottest trend in e-commerce—broadening access to Internet content to everyone with the most universal communications device of all, a telephone. Voice portals put all kinds of information at a consumer's fingertips anytime, anywhere. Customers just dial into the voice portal's 800 number and use simple voice commands to access whatever information they need. It's quick, easy, and effective, even from a car or the airport.

The potential for voice portals is as wide as the reach of telephones, which today number 1.3 billion around the world. Compare that to the 250 million computers with Internet access and it is easy to understand why analysts believe voice-enabled Web access will take off. Frost & Sullivan* estimate a 54 percent growth rate for the voice portal market segment over the next six years. The Kelsey Group* predicts $5 billion in voice portal service revenues by 2005, including advertising, subscriber bounties, and location-specific commerce, with an additional $7 billion incremental revenue to the infrastructure providers that serve those companies. By 2005, they predict, 45 million users of wireless phones in North America will regularly use voice portals to handle their everyday cyberchores.

Today's voice portals are just the tip of the iceberg—the first step in changing the way people access Internet content and, ultimately, how businesses and consumers will conduct business over the Internet. Over the next few years, voice portals—and the core technologies behind them-are poised to profoundly change both the way people use their telephones and the way businesses view and interact with their customers.

Voice portals are changing telephone interaction from a vendor-centric to a customer-centric experience—increasing satisfaction for customers while improving efficiency and cutting costs for businesses. A voice portal provides telephone users with a natural language interface to access and retrieve Web content. An Internet browser can provide Web access from a computer, but not from a telephone. A voice portal is a way to do that. Of course, simple access and retrieval of information is just the beginning. A voice portal can also provide users access to virtual personal assistants and Web-based unified messaging applications.
Voice portals can also cut operating expenses by freeing up agent time and replacing human operators with an easy-to-use automated solution. They also provide new revenue opportunities by opening up the possibility of new subscription services or building revenue through advertising.

Voice portals are the next frontier in convergence, the intersection of the Internet and telecommunications, blurring the distinctions among voice and data, computers and telephones. And, like any frontier, the rewards are great for staking your claim early.

The voice portal reference system is a packaged, integrated hardware and software reference system for building hardened e-Business and speech-enabled voice portal solutions. Combining the power of server technology with telephony interface boards in an integrated server reference system, it is embraced by leading speech-technology providers.

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