Tuesday, January 31, 2006

"Our helpdesk system detected some urgency in your request, Sir"

Nice technology scoop from my alma mater, Groningen University, or rather: from one of its technology spinoffs, Sound Intelligence.

SI specializes in intelligent automatic sound recognition. Its sound sensors can be programmed to distinguish between a smooth-running engine and one with worn-out parts, or to recognize the sound of breaking glass or other burglary-related noises.

The technique is so robust that it can do all this even when the progammed sound is 'drowned out' by background or other noise. The company's current hot item is the 'Agression Detector', a security camera that can detect whether human sounds are produced by aggressive or non-aggressive individuals, and swivel and focus on aggressors in a crowd. An experiment in Groningen's city centre has just been succesfully concluded.

For a Direct Marketing mind, no more cues are needed. I can picture a host of applications here, from prioritizing support requests in a helpdesk's voicemail box to intelligent voice response systems. (No, that is not necessarily a contradiction in terms.)

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