Voice Technology Solutions in Warehousing
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Speech Recognition Technology vs. Voice Recognition Technology
Speech recognition and voice recognition technology are both advanced processing technologies with many useful applications. The two terms are commonly used interchangeably but have different objectives. Speech recognition is the process of capturing spoken words and converting them into a digitally stored set of words. Voice Recognition on the other hand is aimed at identifying a person. Voice Technology is commonly used to refer to either or both technologies.
Many people are familiar with Speech recognition technology as it is commonly used in telephone applications. However not everyone is found of the voice directed automated systems they encounter over the phone, as they can be time consuming when users are required to repeat responses. The difficulty can be due in large part because those applications on the phone do not utilize voice recognition technology which will remember speech patterns of a given user and work with much greater consistency. In the warehouse environment the best voice technology software solutions will use both speech technologies, so that the workers almost never have to repeat themselves to the system.
BCI has researched and worked with many different Voice Software options and has found that Wavelink’s Speakeasy presents the most value. One of the reasons for this is because Wavelink’s software utilizes both Speech Recognition and Voice Recognition Technology in order to present a user friendly and powerful application.
Voice Technology Solutions in a Warehouse
Warehouse operations receive cost saving and efficiency benefits from Voice Technology. In a warehouse, voice technology software will allow employees to verbally transmit data to the Warehouse Management System (WMS). The voice software will convert words spoken by a worker into text or data that can then be sent back to the WMS or other operations systems. Voice recognition technology is often incorporated into a software in order to remember a specific employee’s voice and speech patterns (such as Spanish speaking workers or those with an accent) and is an important feature to have in many warehouses. Voice recognition technology allows workers with different accents or different languages use the software without having to repeat themselves constantly.
Warehouse operatives use a wireless, wearable computer with a headset and microphone to receive instructions by voice, and verbally confirm tasks which are interpreted and transmitted through speech recognition in to usable data.The wearable computer, or voice terminal, utilizes voice technology to communicate with the WMS via a radio frequency (RF) local area network (LAN).
The most common application of Voice Technology in a warehouse environment is voice picking. This is mainly due to the improved accuracy and productivity that voice technology brings to order picking procedures therefore providing a fast Return on Investment (ROI). Voice Technology can also be used for receiving, pallet put-away and let-down, and stock checking, and other warehousing tasks. Voice technology can also be used outside the four walls of a warehouse for tasks such as mobile inspections, field services, yard management, and even other industries such as manufacturing.
Benefits of Using Voice Technology
Reduce Costs and Improve Efficiency – When voice technology is used for order picking procedures for example, there is no need to print paper picking lists because these lists are verbally communicated to the worker. Voice applications have proven to greatly reduce supply and labor costs by saving paper and reducing steps in various procedures.
Improve Warehouse Safety – When works are using voice technology there are not required to spend nearly as much time looking at and handling mobile devices. The “hands free and eyes free” operation provided by voice applications leads to fewer accidents. In addition the reduced paper also leads to less waste paper or label backing sheets, resulting in a cleaner and safer warehouse.
Reduce Training Procedures – New warehouse order pickers have found that voice directed tasks that are easier to learn and follow than interpreting a paper task. Training time is significantly reduced, and workers are able to adapt to new tasks quicker providing additional cost savings and ROI for voice technology.
Receive Fast ROI – Voice technology provides a realistic and fast ROI. When speech recognition is used for order picking for example, companies operating more than one picking shift will spread the cost out across all shifts and see a ROI of less than 6 months on average. Companies operating a single picking shift will see an ROI of approximately 1 year. When speech recognition is implemented properly companies will obtain a valuable ROI from their voice recognition technology solution.
There are many benefits and valid reasons to use Speech Recognition and Voice Recognition Technology within various operating procedures. However there are many different software and hardware options available and it is importing to properly evaluate a company’s requirements and possible solutions. Contact BCI and we will work with your company to properly integrate voice technology into your operations and ensure a quality ROI.
View the Whitepaper below for more information on Voice Recognition Technology.