When addresses learn to talk
Modern mail sorting using speech
The French company OUTILS OCÉANS SAS has its origins in the production and trade of seafaring equipment. The company now has another specialist area, namely postal industry services. In addition to offering the perfect postal worker equipment, such as textile letter bags, it is now also offering the language-based mail sorting solution FACILITRI. The software programme, FACILITRI, was developed in partnership with dawin.
An impressive reference list is evidence of the expertise that OUTILS OCÉANS has brought to the field of postal services for over two decades. Crédit Agricole, Société Générale, Banque Populaire, Allianz, Aprio-nis, Sanofi Aventis, Aéroports de Paris, Air France, and Cofely as well as local authorities and ministries are some of the more than 500 renowned customers in this French top-class niche market.
In companies where a high volume of mail is received, the sorting of postal items is usually fully-automated. Smaller volumes or letters that cannot be sorted by machine must be manually sorted afterwards. Sorting these letters afterwards can take a lot of time, especially if the names and addresses are hard to read or incomplete, since the sorter will often have to search through long employee and duty lists. These lists usually come in the form of paper documents or as files on a PC. Paper lists must be paged through or the search criteria must be entered into a computer. Both of these keep the sorter at the desk, use up more time and increase the incidence rate of errors. The FACILITRI sorting solution removes this shortcoming by enabling the sorter to enter the sorting criteria using speech, doing away with the need to search through lists or to use a keyboard. FACILITRI software searches using the stated criteria and tells the user the correct pigeonhole by way of an audio response. “We have tested the performance of the software. 250,000 addresses can be easily retrieved using the software. That surely explains the increases in productivity of between 50 and 400% that have been observed by OUTILS OCEANS clients,” says Sébastien Bratières, Project Director and Speech Evangelist at dawin.
Technical requirements for using the system are a cordless headset capable of transmitting a signal and a PC with the software programme FACILITRI installed on it. The programme facilitates speech-supported use of EXCEL with client-specific sorting criteria, such as name, post code, contract number, etc. and allocates mail to the correct pigeonhole (employee name, department, etc.). If a criterion is unclear (e.g. name is not legible), then a more detailed query can be carried out with additional criteria. Entries in Excel as well as the audio response associated with each one, and the speech recognition feature can be customised and optimised for each individual client at any time without additional programming. This allows clients to make changes to sorting criteria or classifications themselves, for example. dawin uses language technology by the market leader, Nuance, for speech recognition and audio output. This means that the user does not have to read out a text aloud beforehand to familiarise the system with the user’s voice.
FACILITRI currently supports English and French. The most important features are, in short:
- Full speech-supported system control
- Voice recognition of popular sorting criteria
- Management of unlimited user lists, site plans and sorting settings, based on Excel
- Quick sort functions (power user)
- Fuzzy matches, partial information recognition
About OUTILS OCÉANS
Company name: OUTILS OCÉANS
Legal form: SAS
Founded in: 1987
Address: ZAC DE TROYALAC’H
10 RUE NICOLAS APPERT
29170 SAINT EVARZEC
In Germany and in the rest of the world, the product is marketed by dawin under the name speech sort.