Tuesday 25 October 2011

Speech recognition software as a KM tool

One of the tools I use most often in my trade as a knowledge management consultant is speech recognition software. 
As humans, one of the most common ways in which we transfer knowledge to each other is through speech.  In after action reviews, in retrospect, in peer assists, we talk to each other and transfer knowledge in words and in stories.  If you can’t be there at the event, then somehow those words and stories need to be passed on in text, losing as little of the richness as possible.  You could also pass them on using video or audio, but even then you might need a transcript that you can read on the plane or make available for the hearing-impaired.
There is a lot to be said for recording events like Retrospects on to a digital voice recorder, but these are generally pretty dull to listen to afterwards, and there is nothing quite so tedious as typing speech into the computer.  However dictating into the computer is relatively straightforward, and with practice you can dictate the recording almost real-time.  You play back the recording into headphones (maybe at half speed to start with), and read it into a microphone, and the computer creates a transcript for you. 
Speech recognition software nowadays is pretty good. I used to use Dragon Dictate, but the free speech recognition software that comes with windows 7 or Windows Vista is almost as good.  You can find this under Accessories, Ease of Access, in the Start menu.  It’s not perfect, there is an error in most paragraphs, but it is still far far quicker than typing.

1 comment:

Unknown said...

Hi Nick,

I remember speech recognition software getting some bad press in the early noughties, however the more recent technology is very accurate as you've mentioned.
Just thinking out loud, I wonder if events could be video recorded and speech recognition software employed together? The speech recognition software to provide a detailed narrative and snippets of multimedia recordings to add some personality.
Although there could be the issue of conversations being stifled when people realise they are being recorded perhaps.

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