Monday, May 26, 2008

Ubona - India's first Speech Recognition enabled Search Engine

I am quite amazed by the number of search engines in indian e-space that I have discovered in past few weeks. Check Ubona : a Speech Recognition enabled search engine. It is a product from yet another bangalore based start-up which is all set to create a niche for itself atleast in the restaurant market in Bangalore. All you have to do is to dial +91-80-40700000 and say the name of the restaurant that you wish to visit. The system after successful speech recognition guides you through an IVR system which provides you with two key options:

a) Get connected directly to the selected restaurant or

b) Get the contact numbers of the selected restaurant on your mobile via sms.

I actually tried it with couple of restaurants and found it fairly accurate. If the system is unable to recognize the restaurant name it prompts you to say it again. The biggest advantage that I see for Ubona is that they do not have the overhead of managing a call center which would have been otherwise a major cost center. On the flip side, the real challenge will be to handle and accurately recognize speech in a country which is multilingual and has a wide variety of accents to converse even in a common language like English. However, I still feel this is the coolest innovation that I have seen in the recent times as far as search engine market is concerned. The Ubona web site says that very soon they will be extending their search to other segments like real estate, travel, entertainment etc.

I think these are great times for any advertiser who is suddenly offered with tons of options to advertise and gain visibility of his products or services in today's competitive marketplace.

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