Throughout history, technology enablers have shaped the way people conduct their daily lives. But as we come to expect more customization and refinements from the tech tools we use, there are important differences to recognize in the applicability of certain types of technologies to different audiences. It is becoming increasingly apparent that some solutions that have been wildly successful in the consumer space haven’t yet reached its full potential to adequately address business needs.
Voice technology is one prominent example of this disparity. While voice-to-text applications have become commonplace for consumer use, a Statista report estimates the voice recognition market will grow from $10.7 billion (U.S.) to $27.16 billion (U.S.) by 2025. However, while these statistics are astounding, there is a needs gap, particularly for legal professionals, who specifically use these solutions in their daily routine. Voice tools such as recorders have been used for decades to help firms stay more productive and keep ahead of the curve as the pace of business has accelerated. However, many legacy voice tools fall short in meeting the demands of firms that are challenged to compete in the new digital era.
This is where next-generation voice solutions are helping those firms overcome many common challenges legal professionals face, delivering breakthroughs that significantly propel the power of voice for business transformation. A few of the most common obstacles may include:
Lag times in workflows
Voice recorders that require physical docking, software that is not web-enabled or is incompatible with other systems in the firm’s IT stack can create bottlenecks at multiple points in the workflow process. New AI-based voice solutions, mobile apps, or even WiFi and 5G enabled devices can accurately capture language as it is naturally spoken. This is critical for the large amounts of a firm’s work product that stems from transcription, including document creation, interviews, file review, and record-keeping, so firms can exceed client expectations with faster response times.
Risk of data breach
Exposing sensitive or confidential data can be a serious concern when working with recording devices or applications that have not been explicitly designed for the security needs of business users. With the growing volume and sophistication of cybercrime, using the wrong devices or applications can leave attorneys and their clients vulnerable. Using voice solutions with enterprise-grade security for all business functions and communications, including encryption, hardware and software with native security measures or role- or user-based access, is an absolute necessity regardless of the platform or device. As business is conducted digitally more and more, this is one of the key pillars to protecting both the firm and its clients.
Opportunity costs due to non-revenue-generating tasks
Excessive administrative obligations that are traditionally manual, such as routing files for transcription, researching mis-filed or lost audio recordings needed for reference, and coordinating document creation or approvals represents time that could be better spent on high-value work or with clients. With increased competition to win and retain business, legal professionals need to devote as much of their day as possible to strategic, billable work. Advanced cloud-enabled voice tools that automate and streamline time- and labor-intensive tasks help do that. In addition to freeing up more of the workday for client-centric work, these innovative voice tools also reduce the burden on IT resources, as there is no physical installation, and far less maintenance and management.
The very latest emerging developments in voice and speech recognition, especially for the legal industry and its professionals, will deliver even greater capabilities as the market moves forward. Expanding industry-specific vocabulary and nascent emerging technologies, including smart channel recording, which leverages patented AI to identify separate speakers during the recording, are poised to help the industry and legal professionals seamlessly transition from task to task without imposition. While other relevant benefits are already clear, the full potential of these capabilities is still unknown.
Two (or more) speaker recording solutions that capture a natural conversation for easy transcription have not been executed at a level needed for business purposes to-date. For instance, previous approaches to two-speaker recording have employed noise-cancelling microphones, resulting in poor recording quality for the non-dominant speaker. On the other hand, AI, which recognizes speaker melodies and cadences, cannot recognize and discern two speakers at the same time, which happens more often than expected. Today’s new technology innovations can combine the best of both. Leveraging high-performance audio channel inputs to achieve noise-cancelling together with a proprietary algorithm, it is now possible to accurately delineate and separate speakers’ voices as they talk to seamlessly – and automatically – create a two-person transcription.
The prospective applications of this new development are immediately apparent for firms of all sizes and disciplines – interviews, client meetings, and other human interactions can easily be recorded in a way that facilitates further processing of the recording. The true business impact is that it will drive better intelligence, better communication and better continuity, so legal professionals can more meaningfully engage with their teams and their clients by capturing natural, organic conversations. This new approach to two-speaker recording illustrates the power of voice technology to support firms as they evolve and adapt to an ever-changing business environment.
Staying abreast of the latest voice technology innovations reaps numerous benefits for firms that want to achieve continuous process improvement, enhancing productivity, speed of service and client satisfaction. These are all crucial components to thriving today while preparing for tomorrow, and problem-solving advancements in voice will play a mounting role in the industry’s digitally driven future.