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Asia's First Speech-Activated 'Postal Code Helpline' Assists more than 70 Percent of Callers.

Business/Technology Editors


Service offers callers convenient, self-serve access to over

122,000 postal codes 24 hours a day, seven days a week

In a first for the postal industry in Asia, Singapore Post (SingPost) and SpeechWorks International, Inc. (Nasdaq: SPWX), the global leader in speech recognition and text-to-speech (TTS) technologies and services, today launched the speech-enabled "Postal Code Helpline," an automated system that offers the public easy and user-friendly access to over 122,000 postal codes island-wide.

SingPost offers a means by which the general public can inquire about the 6-digit postal code for any building name or street address throughout Singapore. Today, with over 122,000 postal codes in Singapore, it's common for callers to inquire about postal codes so they can update their database of addresses, confirm an address and complete an address. Powered by state-of-the-art, SpeechWorks(R) speech recognition technology, callers can now access postal code information 24-hours a day, seven days a week. Callers can say the name of a building or a combination of street name and block, building, or house number and the system will respond with the correct postal code.

The "Postal Code Helpline" is accessible at 1 800-842 7678 (toll-free within Singapore only). Compared to the previous touchtone system that serviced only 30% of callers, the speech-activated "Postal Code Helpline" services 70% of callers, a significant increase in caller-friendly automation that enables increased self-service.

According to Mr. Tan Swee Guan, SingPost's senior director, eBusiness and Engineering, the previous self-service option was a touch-tone system that was difficult and cumbersome to use due to the many different streets and options that needed to be keyed into the telephone key-pad to get a postal code. "The previous touch-tone system was only assisting 30% of callers. The new speech-activated `Postal Code Helpline' is much easier to use. Callers will no longer have to wait nor will they have to navigate through a time-consuming touch-tone menu. Now, callers will instantaneously gain access to a friendly and efficient service by using the simplest but most powerful tool - the human voice."

The system was first piloted in December 2001. Since then, the speech-enabled "Postal Code Helpline" has significantly improved service for SingPost customers through fast and easy access to postal code information. Customer service representatives can now dedicate more time to assisting callers with more complex inquiries, as the automation rate has risen to over 70% since the speech-enabled system has been in place.

"We believe in using the latest technology wherever possible for better service and the convenience of customers. We are extremely pleased to partner with SpeechWorks to be the first in Asia to bring this innovative and efficient service to our customers," said Mr. Tan.

The "Postal Code Helpline" is yet another SpeechWorks-powered application in the Singapore market. Since establishing its Asia Pacific Headquarters and Regional Center of Excellence in September 1998, SpeechWorks has deployed speech solutions for Singapore Telecom, Singapore Association for the Visually Handicapped, DMG & Partners and more.

"We are delighted to have teamed up with Singapore Post to deliver the first speech recognition technology solution for the postal industry in Asia," said Arthur Goh, general manager, SpeechWorks Asia Pacific. "We applaud SingPost for leading the industry in creating enhanced services for the public, and we are excited to be launching this system live to the general public today."

About Singapore Post

Singapore Post (SingPost) is the national postal services provider in Singapore, offering an extensive and strategically located network of about 1,000 outlets and an efficient next-day mail delivery standard. SingPost has established a strong reputation especially within the Asia-Pacific region, where it provides first-rate mailing solutions for international marketers, publishers and corporate businesses located within the region.

About SpeechWorks International, Inc.

Through the power of SpeechWorks technologies, the human voice is all a person needs to access instant information and conduct transactions from a phone or device. Around the world, customer service innovators such as America Online, Microsoft, OnStar and Singapore Telecom are realizing returns on SpeechWorks applications that consistently delight and serve customers 24 hours a day. With over 160 partners, SpeechWorks (Nasdaq: SPWX) delivers natural language speech recognition, speaker verification and text-to-speech (TTS) solutions to leading corporations, telecommunications providers, device manufacturers and government organizations worldwide. For a description of our products, services and unique customer programs such as the SpeechWorks Here S.T.E.P.(TM) call 617.428.4444 or visit

Don't Miss Global Speech Day - May 21-22, 2002

Join SpeechWorks for its second annual Global Speech Day, a live and free 2-day Web event May 21-22, 2002. Global Speech Day features top business and technical minds leading the way in the deployment of and vision for speech solutions and services. This year's international event includes presentations and interactive panels from leading companies and analyst firms such as ABN AMRO, America Online, Datamonitor, Intel, InterVoice-Brite, Kelsey Group, Merlin Telecom, Microsoft, Nortel Networks, Wildfire, Yankee Group and many others, along with online chat, breaking news, and live audience polls. If you are interested in the speech industry and where it is headed, you won't want to miss Global Speech Day 2002. For more information and registration, visit

SpeechWorks and SpeechWorks Here S.T.E.P. are trademarks or registered trademarks of SpeechWorks International, Inc. in the United States and other countries. All other trademarks are the property of their respective owners.
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Publication:Business Wire
Date:Apr 16, 2002
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