A group of leading technology companies are working on a project to enable anybody to shop online using speech recognition technology whether via the Web or telephone.
The V-Commerce Alliance, which includes Motorola, Broadvision, SAP Labs, Visa International and Nuance Communications, will together build and promote applications using a voice interface.
With V-Commerce applications, people will be able to buy goods or services from the Web whether they are in their home, office or anywhere in between.
While ecommerce has revolutionised the way consumers and businesses buy goods and services, it still requires someone to sit in front of a PC for the duration of the transaction. V-Commerce will allow any or all of the transaction - from information gathering to purchase and support - to be done by speaking over a telephone or other devices connected to an automated speech-recognition system.
?V-Commerce builds on all the benefits of electronic commerce and makes them easy and accessible to everyone,? said Ronald Croen, president and chief executive of Nuance Communications. ?Electronic commerce provides a cost-effective infrastructure for self-service for anyone who has access to the Internet. V-Commerce makes electronic commerce possible over the telephone.?
Ecommerce has been shaped by consumers demanding a high level of customer service. Analysts have said that as ecommerce matures companies must be flexible to meet the wide range of customer needs. In a recent report, Forrester Research warned, ?Over the next 24 months, companies must adopt a cross-channel service strategy that will enable customers to use any channel they choose and to switch channels easily.?
The companies in the alliance have a lot of work to do as although voice recognition technology has improved significantly, it must have matured sufficiently to be used as a major channel for ecommerce.
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