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The World's first Mixed-Language Speech Understanding System that Powers PCCW-HKT's Call Centre

PCCW-HKT (formerly known as Cable & Wireless HKT) is one of Asia's leading integrated communications companies committed to accelerating economic growth throughout the Asia-Pacific region and a major full-service communications provider in Hong Kong. The company markets an array of voice and data services backed by a fully digital fiber-optic networks, serving the largest wireline and wireless market in the city. As a customer-focused telecommunications service provider with strong commitment to technology, PCCW-HKT strives to meet the needs of its various customers, as well as to offer a high degree of personalized customer service.

The Solution

In 1999, the company was looking for convenient and cost-effective solutions to automate its largest call center in Asia. Realizing the cultural demand of an international city like Hong Kong, PCCW-HKT was searching for an industry-proven multilingual speech understanding technology. In December 1999, PCCW-HKT launched Asia's first speech-activated multilingual call center using InfoTalk's award-winning conversational speech understanding engine, InfoTalk-Recognizer.

Callers to PCCW-HKT International Direct Dial (IDD) call center in Hong Kong can now access a variety of information relevant to long-distance calls including country codes, area codes, tariffs, and time differences without the need for operator intervention. Callers can simply speak on the telephone in a normal voice and the new system's built-in intelligence understands the caller's request and responds with information in a friendly voice.

The Technology

- Natural language processing
- Mixed-language processing
- Multi-dialect recognition
- Conversational speech understanding
- Text-to-Speech
- Languages include: English, Mandarin and Cantonese Chinese

The Benefits

Virtual operator: The system can understand and process natural language and conversational speech, accommodating both dialect and accent variations. This intelligence gives customers virtually the same level of services and understanding as a human operator.

User-friendly and convenient: Callers can quickly access information by simply talking naturally, in a language and style that they are familiar with. They don't need to listen and work through long lists of touch-tone options or to wait for an available operator.

Diversified customer care: A multiple and mixed language speech-activated system enables callers of different cultural backgrounds to enjoy the same service quality.

Cost efficiency: The maintenance-free, fully automated system runs 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, and is able to handle many calls simultaneously. It delivers an effective solution to the rising costs of call center operations.

Higher efficiency and productivity: Automation reduces the average call time dramatically, and helps free up operators to serve more customers who need operator assistance while providing higher service quality.

Competitive edge: User-friendly, reliable and convenient service is the best way to boost customer satisfaction and to retain them. With this system in place, telecom operators are able to stay at the forefront in the competitive telecommunications industry.

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