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Within the past few years the mobility market has exploded. Not everyone has a personal computer, but almost everyone has a cell phone. Competition has escalated, and most providers offer free phones to users who sign an extended service agreement.
The devices themselves are improving at a steady pace. Users can purchase phones that take pictures or function as a phone and a handheld Personal Digital Assistant (PDA). Providers offer a variety of service plans that include Internet connectivity for phones that function as a PDA and a mobile phone. The barriers that once limited mobile workers are lowering everyday. We have become a mobile society.
A next step to better enabling mobile workers is through speech recognition. Workers with the ability to access critical data through voice commands can react quickly and efficiently. Hands-free earpieces have enabled drivers and those people juggling multiple items to continue talking while moving. The very same earpieces can be used with cell phones or PocketPC's and the Microsoft Speech SDK to enhance traditional mobile applications.
This chapter will present a fictitious company named Slugger Sports that recently invested in a solution for its mobile salesforce. The main application does not always meet the company's needs, but management does not want to start over with a new solution. It wants to supplement its existing solution with a telephony solution.
This chapter will examine the source code for this simple telephony application. Because the SASDK utilizes built-in controls for Visual Studio.NET, very little code is needed to implement a voice-only application. Complete code along with a database file can be found on the book's Web site at http://www.awprofessional.com/title/0321246268.
The chapter includes a case study involving a real company named GMAC Commercial Mortgage. This company recently replaced a speech application it was using with one developed with the SASDK. The new application scales better and is easier for the company's development staff to support.
Also included is a profile box which features a company selling a prebundled speech-based application that accesses information in Microsoft Exchange. There is also a profile box featuring a product named the Vocal Help Desk. This packaged software runs on Microsoft Speech Server and can be used by network users to reset their Windows passwords over the phone.
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