Buzzworks & SearchtoPhone : Same Apps in two different parts of the world
Posted by tggokul on August 17, 2007
I know what Buzzworks are trying to do, since they demoed their product in Proto.in. I have been intending to write more on their product but never got around to it. Today GigaOm has a piece on a company called SearchtoPhone and once I read what they are upto, I thought it was time I wrote about Buzzworks.
Basically, this is Buzzwork’s premise. You want to reach one of your neighbourhood services but you don’t know whom to call. So you call up a number and do a voice search ( through open source speech recognition) and the centralized software searches for the most likely candidate and calls them up for you and you get to talk to the guy whose service you want to use. But from what I see, SearchtoPhone is more or less similar except for one bit that the author neatly summarizes
Using voice recognition and knowledge of your location, Search-To-Phone determines merchants or service providers who might be able to help. These businesses receive calls from Search-To-Phone and listen to your recorded job request, decide if they want to talk to you further, and place a call to you via Search-To-Phone. Your phone number remains private.
Interesting to see two companies in entirely different parts of the world coming up with similar ideas at the same time. Had they been big companies, this is when the litigation would start :) Of the two, SearchtoPhone has a slighter edge because the caller maintains his privacy. Having said that, it shouldn’t be too long for Buzzworks to incorporate this feature as well.
I don’t know about what powers SearchToPhone’s software. But in case of Buzzworks it is open source all the way ( Asterisk, openSER and oopen source Voice recognition software). So I am going to take an educated guess that Buzzworks would be the cheaper solution.
The problems I see either of them facing is that they have to work with the service providers and that requires lot of time and patience. On the technology front, I am not a big fan of Voice recognition software ( yes, that includes leader Nuance as well) and the accuracy is not something I would bet my life on. Buzzworks would have more problems because they are powered by open source ( not sure how stable that would be) and secondly, the dialects/languages in India are so much and I would be surprised if accuracy is more than 20%.
Two companies that I surely will be following for the next few months.