Voice Portal Challenges in India

VAS in India is moving from SMS/WAP based services to voice services.  One of the main reason for this shift is due to the fact that India has large rural population.  So, providing information to them using Internet, SMS, etc  may not be as useful. Voice portal can be used effectively for providing information in voice in their native languages.  Some of the leading players in this market segment are OnMobile, IMIMobile, Cellebrum, Symbiotic, etc

These applications are typically called IVR/ voice applications which are written in JSP/PHP/ etc which generates VXML pages instead of HTML pages which are then interpreted by voice browser and executed with help of ASR (Automatic Speech Recognition), TTS(Text to Speech Engine), etc

Challenges:

Difficult to add support for more languages

Takes time to roll-out new services.

Downtime when main menu changes(new service gets added, etc) – Prompt, Grammar changes when menu options change.

Contents are tightly coupled with applications which makes it difficult to manage the content

Quality of content reduces as it is duplicated in many applications and verifying / testing each content takes lot of time and effort

Managing prompts and grammar for different languages becomes cumbersome

Browsing content through categories is cumbersome. Most of the applications limit to “top” and “latest” category with few content.

Personalization – circle, interests, promotion, etc.  Caller should get services menu which interests him. For example caller calling from Karnataka should get services which are available in Kannada, etc

Lack of skill set availability for voice developers/vendors in market.

Content is centered around Astrology, Bollywood, Cricket, Devotional.

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