Improving speech recognition for contact centers

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SpeechContext expanded phrase limit Beta
As part of the tuning process, developers use “phrase hints” to increase the probability that commonly used words or phrases related to their business or vertical will be captured by ASR. The maximum number of phrase hints per API request has now been raised by 10x, from 500 to 5,000, which means that a company can now optimize transcription for thousands of jargon words (such as product names) that are uncommon in everyday language.

In addition to these new adaptation-related features, we’re announcing a couple of other highly requested enhancements that improve the product experience for everyone.

Endless streaming Beta in Cloud Speech-to-Text
Since we introduced Cloud Speech-to-Text nearly three years ago, long-running streaming has been one of our top user requests. Until now, Cloud Speech-to-Text only supported streaming audio in one-minute increments, which was problematic for long-running transcription use cases like meetings, live video, and phone calls. Today, the session time limit has been raised to 5 minutes. Additionally, the API now allows developers to start a new streaming session from where the previous one left off–effectively making live automatic transcription infinite in length, and unlocking a number of new use cases involving long-running audio.

MP3 file format support Beta in Cloud Speech-to-Text
Cloud Speech-to-Text has supported seven file formats up until now (list here). Up until now, processing MP3 files required first expanding them into the LINEAR16 format, which requires maintaining additional infrastructure. Cloud Speech-to-Text now natively supports MP3 so there are no additional conversions needed.

Woolworths’ use of conversational AI to improve the contact center experience
Woolworths is the largest retailer in Australia with over 100,000 employees, and has been serving customers since 1924. “In partnership with Google, we’ve been building a new virtual agent solution based on Dialogflow and Google Cloud AI. We’ve seen market-leading performance right from the start,” says Nick Eshkenazi, Chief Digital Technology Officer for Woolworths. “We were especially impressed with accuracy of long sentences, recognition of brand names, and even understanding of the format of complex entities, such as ‘150g’ for 150 grams.

“Auto Speech Adaptation provided a significant improvement on top of that and allowed us to properly answer even more customer queries,” says Eshkenazi. “In the past, it used to take us months to create a high quality IVR experience. Now we can build very powerful experiences in weeks and make adjustments within minutes.”

“For example, we recently wanted to inform customers about a network outage impacting our customer hub and were able to add messaging to our virtual agent quickly. The new solution provides our customers with instant responses to questions with zero wait time and helps them connect instantly with the right people when speaking to a live agent is needed.”

Looking forward
We’re excited to see how these improvements to speech recognition improve the customer experience for contact centers of all shapes and sizes–whether you’re working with one of our partners to deploy the Contact Center AI solution, or taking a DIY approach using our conversational AI suite. Learn more about both approaches via these links:

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