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Wireless Headsets and Speech Recognition

Wireless Headset

Introduction

Speech recognition is the process of using technology to convert your spoken words into text. Speech recognition can provide huge productivity gains to anyone who needs to dictate reports whilst using their hands for purposes other than typing. This productivity gain has been recognised by many specialist disciplines - lawyers, doctors, pathologists, surveyors, etc. In fact, speech recognition can provide huge productivity gains to anyone who needs to dictate reports. Over the past few years speech recognition converts have been seeking a wireless headset that provides excellent voice quality input to recognition software. The latest wireless headsets can achieve approximately 99.00% recognition accuracy (source: Speech Empowered Computing evaluation Oct 2011).

Speech recognition software packages perform two primary functions:

  • Converting your voice into text for report production, and
  • Controlling your computing environment (i.e. computer and software functionality).

Correcting words in reports is time consuming. However, losing control of your computer programs through poor recognition is scary. Put a value on your time and invest in a quality wireless headset to optimize your speech recognition system.

The Problem

Plantronics CS60 USB headset

In 1998 a customer of Australian headset reseller AAAHeadsets undertook an extensive assessment of the speech recognition capabilities of a range of headsets (both corded and wireless). This occurred over an eight week period. He determined that while the Plantronics CS60-USB gave the best speech recognition results, they were only acceptable, not optimal. Staff still had to find and correct a number of misinterpretations made by their software package.

Any user of Dragon Dictate or similar speech recognition product knows that every % improvement in speech recognition means more productivity. The difference between a 96% recognition rate and a 99% recognition rate is finding and correcting 15 words instead of 5 in a 500 word document. Error correction kills productivity, so every error eliminated is valuable time saved.

The Solution

The Plantronics CS60-USB wireless headset was the best available solution for some time. Then Sennheiser released their DW Office headset. This headset provided a leap in speech recognition results. For a number of years Sennheiser had been recognised as having the best noise cancelling headset microphones. Now they also had the best interface to speech recognition software. But there were still some recognition errors.

Sennheiser DW Pro1 Headset Sennheiser have now launched their DW Pro 1 (single ear) and DW Pro 2 (two ear) wireless headsets and these have created a new standard in speech recognition. Previous users of the DW Office have reported further reductions in recognition errors of about 15%.

The DW Pro1 and DW Pro2 enable you to improve your speech recognition rate while enjoying the freedom to move around without being tethered to your computer. This freedom supports creative thought and writing which is important when trying to convert complex thoughts to meaningful words.

The Impact of Noise

Background noise is also an important environmental factor when using a speech recognition package. Your headset microphone will pick up any environmental noise (machinery, other voices, computers, etc) and add it to your voice before presenting it to your voice recognition software. This makes it very hard for the package to interpret your words correctly.

The Sennheiser DW Pro1 & 2 have ultra noise-cancelling microphones which successfully filter out unwanted background noise. In fact, in my opinion, Sennheiser has the most effective noise cancelling microphones on the market. That is why noisy schools and doctors waiting rooms choose Sennheiser DW headsets.

Conclusion

Experienced speech recognition users, with a Sennheiser Pro headset, estimate that their keyboard usage has been reduced by around 95%. Would you be happy with 95% less keyboard usage?

Speech Empowered Computing of the UK specialise in speech recognition. Since 2007 they have evaluated a range of wireless headsets with regard to their microphone performance for use with speech recognition applications. They have found that while the Savi W440 performs well, but the Sennheiser Pro performs better.

AAAHeadsets have reported similar outcomes. One of their customers evaluated a Savi W710 and Sennheiser Pro 1 in their speech recognition environment. They found that the Sennheiser gave better results. A pathology client has used the Sennheiser DW Office with success, however, they now exclusively use the Sennheiser DW Pro 1. Experienced speech recognition users, dictating complex reports using a Sennheiser Pro headset, are achieving such a high recognition rate that they find it difficult to operate without their headset.

The Best Speech Recognition Headset