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Customers soon can reach out and touch UP to release cars


When customers speak, Union Pacific Railroad plans to be a better listener by using Boston-based SpeechWorks International Inc.’s speech-enabled software, which is designed as a self-service e-business tool incorporating speech recognition, text-to-speech engines and speaker verification modules.
UP June 4 announced plans to begin using the software in the third quarter to speech-enable its 30,000 freight customers to release empty rail cars by phone, complementing the railroad’s current phone, fax and Internet-based services. UP monthly receives about 10,000 car-release requests.
Customers using UP’s phone service would choose a speech-enabled menu option designed to verify customers’ voices through a highly-secure SpeechSource™ solution and speaker-verification software developed by Veritel Corp.
The speech-enabled system would hold a dialog with customers, who could voice initials and numbers of rail cars they wish to release. The phone service is designed to understand car names and immediately route data to back-end systems, which would authorize car releases to UP’s train work-order system.
Using SpeechWork’s text-to-speech software, UP then would phone customers to confirm car releases.
UP plans to design the phone service for customers who can’t access the railroad’s Web site to release cars. The speech-enabled system would run on hardware designed by SpeechWorks’ partner Dialogic, which is owned by Intel Corp.