Comprehensive software reviews to make better IT decisions
Speech Technologies – Trends, Applications, and Their Dark Side
At Enterprise Connect 2020, Jon Arnold (Principal, J. Arnold and Associates) outlined upcoming trends in speech technologies. These technologies include a mix of AI, automatic speech recognition, machine learning, and natural language generation. Use cases are not necessarily person-to-machine and vice-versa but are increasingly machine-to-machine through the internet of things.
Present speech technologies, Arnold states, mostly derive their utility from collecting data about specific measures. Given that speech technologies are mostly found in contact center solutions, examples of these measures are call recording and length of call. However, as speech technologies reach their capacity for conversational AI beyond interactive voice response (IVR), other uses will include automation and intelligent communication. These have applications far beyond the contact center. Such applications might include more sophisticated voice assistants or accurate translation technology.
Key drivers in this space are often found in the consumer market, with enterprises following suit from employee demand – Amazon Echo led to Amazon for Business, for instance. With the surge in remote work due to COVID-19, we can expect that the proliferation of advanced speech technologies in the workplace will be accelerated. While AI-driven speech is a new realm for enterprises, the growth of smart devices having ambient interfaces will support more speech-centric workflows and authentications. This latter application could be used for improved biometric authentication, including one’s ID for meetings, signoffs, building access, and fraud detection.
However, these benefits may come with some costs, especially with regards to privacy and security. If speech technologies are gathering data through conversation, questions must be raised about how this data is used. Will information gathered through conversations be deleted, shared, or sold? Will smart speakers always be “awake,” collecting information on everything we say and do? How will this apply for keeping a separation between personal and workspaces, especially given many people are working from home? Laws should not be playing catch-up, but general data protection regulations for this type of data are not yet universal.
Further concerns arise with deepfakes. As AI-driven speech quality becomes more sophisticated, it will become increasingly difficult to tell apart real human speech from machine-generated speech. With advances in video editing for manipulating a person’s face and body movements, the combination of AI-driven speech with video could create serious problems. Should a world leader be a victim of a deepfake, what assurances can we have that such deepfakes can be differentiated from reality before dangerous consequences result? These questions will increasingly be at the heart of legal and political disputes.
Despite the potential gains for AI-driven speech technologies, the present reality is that most organizations aren’t currently in a position to leverage the benefits of AI or even know how these benefits can be achieved. It can be hard to tie the rapidly changing and growing field of AI to your industry and organization, as well as determine if these technologies are worth the time and investment.
Source: SoftwareReviews Virtual Assistants & Chatbots Data Quadrant. Accessed September 3, 2020.
A good place to start for analyzing the market and discovering what capabilities are available is SoftwareReviews’ data quadrant for virtual assistants and chatbots (image above). While these solutions don’t encompass the entirety of speech technology, this marketspace is becoming more established. To prepare potential use cases and a strategy for these technologies in your organization, use Info-Tech’s Prepare for Cognitive Service Management resource. It may be that your organization can reap some rewards from being an early adopter.
Want to Know More?
In June 2023, I decided to remove the password on my primary email account as well as the one used to log-in to all of my devices. Did I wait too long? Am I too optimistic this will work without issue? Are there kinks that still need to be worked out? I recently attended Identiverse 2023 and got a FIDO2 hardware token intending at some point in the future to go passwordless. Why wait though? I was pumped up with all the passkey and passwordless sessions I attended and was eager to try this out and share my experience.
If you’re in the market for a password manager or are interested in secrets management, Bitwarden has a powerful platform for you. This unified platform is delivered via a thoughtful and intuitive UI, which Bitwarden Password Manager users will recognize. Bitwarden ranks as top of the Leader Quadrant in SoftwareReviews under the Password Management category, and the company believes its optimized, wide-range passwordless solution set will address most organizations’ needs.
Next-generation firewalls were smarter than previous firewalls, able to deeply analyze traffic and integrate with complementary security solutions. Today our needs are more complex, however, with a 742% increase in software supply chain attacks over the past three years. Sonatype Nexus Firewall has been paying attention and claims its firewall product is smarter about these attacks.
Have you ever thought of what else you could do to take your security operations center (SOC) to the next level and focus on prevention? Look no further – external attack surface management (EASM) was a popular managed service and topic of discussion at Rivest–Shamir–Adleman (RSA) Conference 2023, named after a popular public-key cryptosystem.
Hillstone Networks has positioned itself as a robust and feature-rich provider of not only hardware but also security solutions. With its ZTNA 3.0 release and support for centralized management of IoT assets and incident response, the company embodies a next-generation firewall.
Acronis Offers a Unique Endpoint Protection and Data Recovery Package Tailored for the Small to Medium-Sized Business
Acronis hopes to overtake many competitors in the data recovery and endpoint protection solution space by forging partnerships with many MSSPs and appealing to the SMB market. The company has doubled down by hiring the former CEO of GoDaddy, who is committed to reinvesting in its technology and increasing and improving its product line.
Zoho, a multinational software and web-based business tool provider, has announced the launch of Trident – a hub that brings Zoho’s pre-existing and new unified communications capabilities into a single pane of glass. How will Trident’s addition to Workplace impact customer migrations from Microsoft and Google.
Field Effect Covalence is an EDR/MDR/XDR offering that translates chaos into order.
To revitalize and strengthen business transformation, Avaya has outlined a five-step plan for restructuring its product lines, go-to-market strategy, and balance sheet. This tech note evaluates these five steps, highlighting the main contingencies for each step’s successful rollout.