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Philips SpeechAir and SpeechLive: A chance to outsource recording and typing

4th Apr 2018
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Macro of digital dictaphone
istock_Jaroslav Frank

Accountants work in different ways and Philips has developed a pair of new solutions which could save time, money and effort particularly for those on the move. In principle either can be purchased on its own although there will be most effective when used together.

SpeechAir is a sophisticated recording device with top-quality microphones and a simple, encrypted dictation app designed to facilitate dictation on the move. It will also record meetings, conferences etc., which could be a real boon for those who go to great trouble to create transcriptions.

Effectively, SpeechAir is a solidly-built android device without the sim card, capable of doing pretty much anything such as taking photos that you would want to do on a mobile phone, except making a call or sending a text. However, its primary use is to make the recording of notes, meetings and so on ridiculously easy. It then connects wirelessly to your desired recipient, possibly your own computer or that of a secretary or members of a typing pool.

That is where the second product, SpeechLive, can come in. This is software which might best be considered as an opportunity to rent typing services by the minute. This product can not only store and organise your recordings but also send recordings to relevant parties and get them typed up in a number of different ways.

On one level, it will link in with Dragon speech recognition software, which you can purchase as part of a package for a one-off fee of £88.

Alternatively, you can buy packages of minutes from as little as 19p per recorded minute (all prices are quoted before VAT), which once again gets your typing done automatically in no time at all. Realistically, while this sounds good on its own, it is worth shelling out for the additional software since the accuracy is touted to be around 85% to 90%, which will leave you doing quite a bit of editing.

In any event, most users are likely to tap into the more sophisticated offerings. These come in a number of different formats. For those with secretaries or typing pools, there is a workflow system which enables you to record on the go and then upload the work to one or more selected typists. In theory and quite possibly in practice, this means that, by the time you get back to the office from an important meeting, a letter or meeting note could be sitting on your computer or desk.

If that is beyond your firm’s means, then Philips offers its own Manchester-based typing team. They are able to transcribe recordings generated using SpeechAir but also almost any other recording device using common formats such as MP3 or wav, possibly even utilising something as simple as free software downloaded to a mobile phone.

This facility comes with a standard 24 hour turnaround version at 99p per recorded minute or an urgent five hour equivalent, the latter with a 25% uplift in the price. The accuracy should be second to none, although in a few experiments it was never quite 100%, which might, in part, be a reflection of the quality of the dictation.

For most smaller firms, the obvious attraction of this service is the ability to use professional typists who are able to create high-quality documents for a few pounds. If you send your letter headings, the typists will even incorporate these into the process.

It may not happen as often but there can also be a significant benefit in the ability to obtain a full record of a meeting with numerous attendees. This service can typically take up to 72 office hours but the speed and price depends on the number of speakers in the meeting, ranging up to £2.95 per recorded minute if there are six or more in attendance.

There are even facilities to transcribe dictation or conversations in a number of foreign languages, primarily from various European countries.

Philips’ mix-and-match approach provides an impressive recording device for those who wish to invest around £600 but combining it with speech recognition software or professional typists could be a perfect solution to short-term absences. It will also help practices that do not have a regular flow of typing work and could therefore potentially cut down on staffing costs by outsourcing some or all of their administrative needs.

Replies (5)

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