Workflow with Voice as a Feature

Workflows typically use Email to send intimations or alerts to people reminding them that they have a work item in their InBox. That means if someone does not check their email frequently OR are not a PDA owner, work items get piled on when you are on the go. Why not use SMS  or Voice to reach out people. There two mechanism are more intrusive, when you cannot say no to a incoming SMS or a incoming phone call. Unlike email, which waits for you to open up the mailbox, SMS and Voice come to you.

This article focuses on the power of Voice with a workflow solution. Lately we were looking at different workflow solutions and found that almost none of them supported VOICE. A few of them supported SMS, but not VOICE. We started working with a workflow company and integrated our product with their workflow engine. This implementation enables Voice as a feature for their product. Here is how it works.

When there is a Human action (an work item that needs human intervention), and it is associated with a Voice Channel, the system instead of sending mails or SMS, calls the person on their phone. Then it goes about asking the questions as enlisted in the work item. Typical entries are multiple-choices, text entries, drop down selections, radio buttons, memos etc. The way we collect this information via voice is as follows. For Choice items where multiple items can be selected, using Speech recognition we ask for the choice item one by one.  The response expected is one of the multiple choice items.

System : Pick one from Red, Blue, White. If you are done say ‘done’

User : Red

System : Pick one from Blue, White. If you are done say ‘done’

User : White

System : Pick Blue. If you are done say ‘done’.

User : Done

So the selected items are Red, White. Now for the drop down list the above question is asked only once. For a radio button also the question is asked only once. For a Text or Memo entry we record the voice into a audio file and then tag it to the work item. (Currently we do not run it through a dictation engine to convert the speech to text.)

Once the work item is finished, we hangup on the call and work flow engine continues further.

What we have shown here is a very effective way to work when not at work. This is a very effective way of working for a Mobile work force. No matter where you are, you are always going to be connected with the system. One can always set up the good times to call, or what to do when their phone is busy, re-attempt settings etc.

This does not stop here. Any enterprise solution which needs human intervention can add Voice as a feature to their system. Sending imporant updates, alerts can be easily achieved using our product. For more information on our product please visit hummingbytes and also visit our solutions page.


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