SpeechWorks International, the Boston-based provider of conversational speech recognition technology and products for the telephone, today introduced the SpeechSpot, a speech-based ad unit that can be played over the phone.
The new ad vehicle offers dot.coms, hungry to capitalize on the mobile phone explosion, a revenue generator as they expand into the speech recognition space to increase customer loyalty and differentiate themselves from the competition, said Steven G. Chambers, vice president of marketing for SpeechWorks.
SpeechWorks, which has been setting up speech-activated telephone systems since 1995, has already deployed speech-enabled telephone services for brokerage house E*Trade, Boston, and restaurant reservation network foodline.com, New York.
With the planned launch of its toll-free number on June 1, MapQuest.com plans to use SpeechSpots to serve up relevant advertising based on the consumer’s travel itinerary. With SpeechSpots, “We can spend advertising dollars more wisely,” said Katie Kinney, director of business development for MapQuest. “It will be much more captivating.” The New York-based mapping and destination source hopes to build traffic from its online base of 4 million visitors a month by expanding into voice recognition.
SpeechWorks will also set up a speech-activated telephone system for calendering service AnyDay.com, Cambridge, Mass., early this summer.
There are three types of SpeechSpots with different levels of complexity and interactivity. Broadcast SpeechSpots are played during a call and are not interactive. For instance, a Broadcast SpeechSpot for foodline.com might say, “This service is brought to you by New York magazine.”
SpeakThrough or Interactive Speech-Spots allow a caller to solicit further information–the equivalent of a click-through. If callers are uninterested, they simply say “Skip it.” If callers say “Tell me more,” however, they are presented with further information related to the advertisement and possibly transferred to another system to make a purchase or follow up on an ad.
SpeechCasting or Personal SpeechSpots are both interactive and specifically tailored to actions taken during the caller’s interaction with the host. This could prove to be a powerful tool for host applications and their advertising partners. For instance, if a caller requests a restaurant in New York’s theatre district, an advertisement for a long-running Broadway musical might play, said Tom Infantino, chief technology officer for foodline.com.
Although a pricing model isn’t defined yet, Chambers proposes the advertisers and SpeechWorks’ customers adopt one of two models. With a fixed-pricing model, the advertiser pays a fixed fee for each SpeechSpot play and each consumer action related to the ad that follows. In a CPM model, the advertiser will pay about $35 to $50 CPM. Both models allow for revenue sharing, where the SpeechWorks’ customer could earn about 5 percent of the transaction.
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