As a Microsoft Partner we get early previews on new technology, which we find exciting in the CAPIX office.

Recently Microsoft have been promoting their “Cognitive Services”, in particular the Speech Recognition capabilities that are being incorporated into Windows 10 and the Bing Internet services.

At first we sat around scratching our heads, trying to figure out how this would assist our treasury software users. It’s neat to try, and is impressive technology that we’ll see more of in the future, but as first it seemed a bit of a gimmick.

After a few hours we plugged it into the software menu, so that instead of pressing the “Contracts” and “Money Market” menu items with a mouse to view Money Market Contracts, the user could just say “Money Market Contracts”.

We sent Jack down to Officeworks to get some microphones and gave it test.

The Microsoft speech recognition is more developed and smarter than we ever suspected. Rather than having a hard-coded hierarchy, the speech recognition could understand context in sentences.

For instance, we started by saying “Reports”, Money Market Position” and “Print” to output a Money Market Position Report.

However, we underestimated Microsoft Speech and found that the more natural phrase “Print the Money Market Position Report” worked intuitively as well.

The impression we get is that the Microsoft Speech Recognition is targeted more at mobile devices such as phones and tablets. The cloud-based version of our treasury software runs on mobile devices, but we’ve found that treasury data is too complex and detailed to work effectively on small screens.

One possible application might be to bring up treasury notifications on the mobile devices, and then use Speech Recognition to respond.

For instance, a notification of an Unconfirmed Contract could be pushed thru to the mobile device. The treasury user could view the notification and respond by saying “Confirm Contract …”.

However, as this stage we think it’ll be a while before Speech Recognition technology becomes popular, simply because people don’t want to be seen talking to their computers in the office.