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Using Speech-to-Text in Facilities Management
Senior Account Manager
BuiltSpace Technologies Corporation
is a type of speech synthesis application used to
create a spoken audible version of text in a computer document, such as
a help file or a Web page. TTS enables the reading of computer display
information for the visually challenged person, or may simply be used
to augment the reading of a text message. Inversely, TTS is also
used to create text representations of the spoken word. This aspect of
TTS is quickly becoming more functional and useful in everyday life
with the rapid development of software and mobile technology
The first fully functional voice synthesizer, Homer Dudley's VODER (Voice Operating Demonstrator), was shown at the 1939 World's Fair. The Vocoder (Voice Operated reCorDER) and Voder (Voice Operation DEmonstratoR)) developed by the research physicist Homer Dudley, was invented as a result of research into compression techniques for telephone voice encryption at Bell Laboratories, New Jersey USA and was the first successful attempt at analyzing and resynthesizing the human voice.
Modern day devices like computers, smart phones or tablets capture speech with a sound-responsive element in a microphone that converts variable sound pressure into equivalent variations of an electrical signal, i.e. current or voltage. This analog signal is then sampled and quantized into a digital bit stream (format). Current TTS applications include voice enabled email and text messaging. Today this feature is ubiquitous to any person who owns a smart phone or tablet computer.
How can we apply TTS to managing and organizing information around and in buildings better?
TTS can help us by creating efficiencies such as reducing the time it takes to collect data in the field resulting in faster operational processes and reporting.
Here are a few examples:
Preventive Maintenance Inspections
Preventative Maintenance inspection forms with the ability
to record work done is a clear winner. Quickly completing data entry
while an activity is in process and the details are fresh in your mind
is best time to capture accurate information. The ability to
automatically create a follow-up task and other workflow is
ideal. In your world, how many work reports are filled out after
the fact when important details are lost or forgotten?
if you your maintenance staff or building occupants could submit a
service request by scanning a QR code to identify location of the issue
and speaking into their phone? QR codes placed throughout a
building on fixed assets (equipment) and spaces can provide location
specific identifiers. Building occupants or service technicians only
need to scan a code to identify the location of an issue then speak
into their device using TTS to add specific detail.
Work orders and Sales Quotes
sales quotes or work orders while in the field speeds up
turn-around time and gets information into the hands of managers and
decision makers to get the authorization to move forward. “Ground
Truth” is a military term for distinguishing what is actually happening
in the field compared to what is known by management. It is an apt
metaphor for discussing buildings. What is
actually happening at the equipment level on the ground is often
different from design intent or even operations management
perspective. Using TTS to rapidly convert a description of a
technical problem into text that can be transferred to multiple
stakeholders with different levels of understanding.
Audits and Inspections
audits and inspections of equipment and location detail is
another ideal application. How much detail can truly be captured with a
pen and paper in 12 minutes per-room? “Not much” is the correct answer.
Combining digital photographs with TTS will allow for rapid data
collection in the field. The key to this process is having an
appropriate system for tracking and organizing the data as it is
All of the above examples are based on one simple truth. Data entry in the field is cumbersome and time consuming and does not fit well within existing work practices. TTS incorporated into a well-conceived process will benefit building service professionals immensely.
About the Author
Josh Susser is the Senior Account Manager BuiltSpace Technologies Corporation, Vancouver BC, Canada. He has over 16 years developing and marketing complex technology and web-marketing offerings. Find him on LinkedIN at http://www.linkedin.com/profile/view?id=11618122&trk=nav_responsive_tab_profile
BuiltSpace provides building information
management, integration and
related services to the facilities and construction
industry. The company launched the industry’s first
integrated, collaboration FM platform in January of 2012.
For more information please visit our web site at http://www.builtspace.com
or blog at http://blog.builtspace.com
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