In the world of modern business, you have to be quick and nimble in the way you handle transactions with clients and inside your own organisation. Most of that business needs to be documented, either on paper or in emails, and the speed and ease with which that documentation can be achieved has a direct bearing on the efficiency of your company.
Dragon NaturallySpeaking is the leading speech recognition software available to sole traders, through small and medium enterprises to corporate businesses. Used with any Windows PC, notebook or tablet, it enables anybody to be able to dictate and control applications using voice alone. But how does that switch from keyboard text entry and mouse control improve your business?
The key advantage of Dragon NaturallySpeaking for the majority of people is that they can speak much faster than they can type. This single fact is the major reason any business should consider the technology for office use. Well-trained typists can manage around 70 words per minute (wpm), while most people talk normally at up to 150wpm, well over twice the speed.
So, even if you're a trained typist (and there are far fewer people with this skill in modern offices than there used to be), you can still more than double your text production speed by dictating through speech recognition. That doesn't even take into account the increased efficiency of controlling your word processor, email or spreadsheet through voice command, or a combination of voice and mouse.
The latest edition of Dragon NaturallySpeaking, version 13, makes it even easier to start dictating and controlling your computer by speaking to it. You used to have to teach the software to recognise the pitch and accent of your voice before reaching full recognition accuracy, but now you can jump straight in and use the software out of the box without prior training.
Being able to dictate exactly what you want, straight onto the screen, makes it very easy to create memos, emails and longer documents, such as reports. It frees up staff to get on with more constructive and proactive work.
As well as speaking directly to your Windows PC, laptop or tablet, text can be fed from a digital recorder, a media player such as an iPod, or even an Android phone or iPhone with appropriate recording software. As long as the device can produce a good quality audio file of a recognised type, such as MP3 or WMA, Dragon 13 should be able transcribe it. You just have to create a profile in the program for the specific device making the recordings.
This means that a company with a bring your own device (BYOD) policy can use third-party software to create dictation files, which can then be run through Dragon NaturallySpeaking 13, rather than having to get them transcribed manually. This allows text to be created quickly and easily into almost any device with a microphone.
Those using Android- or iOS-running smartphones can also download a free app which enables these devices to act as portable microphones to a PC running Dragon software. The devices have to access the same Wi-Fi network as the PC, but it gives freedom for staff to move around while dictating, in much the same way they would answer a call.
For staff who regularly use headsets, such as those involved in telesales or customer support, it's possible to tie the same headset into Dragon NaturallySpeaking 13 for recording details of a transaction or the outcome of a support call and any further action to be taken.
Those staff who spend time on the road and in hotels as part of their work will benefit from the software's new ability to work directly with the built-in microphones in many modern Windows laptops and tablets. Rather than having to carry around a headset - even a lightweight Bluetooth one - individuals can now speak directly to their portable Windows devices and generate text more quickly and neatly, working from their bedrooms in the evening.
If your company has standardised on Microsoft Office as its office suite, Dragon NaturallySpeaking 13 can be used for much more than simple dictation. It offers full command control for Word, Excel and PowerPoint, so staff can benefit from being able to create, format, save and share documents.
The new version of the software expands how staff can interact with the Internet, too. It now supports Internet Explorer, Google Chrome and Mozilla Firefox browsers and within those gives full control over email clients such as Gmail and Yahoo! Mail, as well as the offline client, Microsoft Outlook.
The commands Dragon NaturallySpeaking 13 understands can be supplemented by ones created specifically for a custom use. If you need to insert a company logo or a custom header and footer in a house style, you can record the sequence of actions and give it a name, which the software can then be trained to recognise like a predefined command.
The software can benefit anybody from secretary through to chairman of the board, as it requires no special expertise to use it, other than to gain familiarity with the commands that control dictation and applications.
Although the software has a wide vocabulary, including specialist words and proper names, there are specific versions for the legal and health care industries, with extended vocabularies geared to those specialisms. Large productivity gains have been reported from those required to transcribe medical notes and reports when able to work from first drafts produced through speech recognition.
The same is true in legal offices, with specialist vocabularies helping to format legal citations, support third-party correction and recognise dictated legal terms accurately straight out of the box.
Dragon NaturallySpeaking 13 can increase the efficiency of almost any office, by removing the need for typing. Creating text with something as natural as the human voice releases staff from keyboard and mouse and gives them the opportunity to respond quickly and accurately to any new business opportunity.
Dragon NaturallySpeaking 13 is now available from the official Nuance store for £139.99.