Enterprises Worldwide Are Moving to Voice Application Networks to Streamline Customer Service Operations, IDC Says

FRAMINGHAM, MA – JUNE 5, 2001 – According to IDC, voice application networks (VANs) are a driving force for enterprises looking to streamline customer service operations. These voice recognition interfaces are replacing dual-tone multifrequency (DTMF) systems that require the tedious use of phone keypads to plod through predetermined menus. The ease, efficiency, and cost savings of speech recognition interfaces will increasingly displace DTMF systems.


"The traditional means of servicing customers are not sufficient in today’s increasingly multidimensional environments of physical, virtual, and mobile markets," said Mark Winther, IDC’s group vice president of Worldwide Telecommunications research. "Customer communications need to be more frequent, more convenient, faster, easier to access, and more personalized. Network-based voice services deliver on these criteria. Through their impact on customer-facing applications, they are gaining convincing economic justification."

According to IDC, the key enterprise application areas and vertical industries adopting automated voice include travel and transportation services, finance, retail, government, and utilities. "Cost reduction and improved customer satisfaction are driving customer-facing enterprises to deploy speech recognition technologies," Winther said. "While the customer reaps value by obtaining self-service access to information about flight reservations, stock quotes, catalog orders, or tax refunds, the company absorbs the benefit of reducing its labor costs by minimizing call flow to live agents."

Despite the value add of network-based voice services, IDC believes implementation is not without its challenges. Purchasing speech-processing software and server hardware requires large amounts of capital. Additionally, several critical components – such as voice-user interfaces, content, voice technologies, call routing, and network management – must all work together to create a compelling user experience that actually delivers improved automation rates.

IDC’s bulletin Voice Application Networks: The Rise of Network-Based Voice Services (IDC #B24741) examines the value proposition of voice application networks and looks at how the market will evolve. It identifies the enterprise markets for network-based voice services and looks at the challenges of implementation. To purchase this bulletin, contact Bruce Atlas at 1-800-343-4952, extension 4053, or at

About IDC

IDC delivers dependable, high-impact insights and advice on the future of ebusiness, the Internet, and technology to help organizations make sound business decisions. IDC forecasts worldwide markets and trends and analyzes business strategies, technologies, and vendors, using a combination of rigorous primary research and in-depth competitive analysis. IDC provides global research with local content through more than 700 analysts in 43 countries worldwide. IDC's customers comprise the world's leading IT suppliers, IT organizations, ebusiness companies, and the financial community. Additional information can be found at

IDC is a division of IDG, the world's leading IT media, research and exposition company.


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