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29 June, 2006 - 10:27 By Staff Reporter

Speech recognition specialist turns in good figures

Herts-based Eckoh Technologies, one of Europe's largest providers of outsourced automated solutions, has won two major contracts in alliance with BT and produced a good financial performance for the year ended March 31.Herts-based Eckoh Technologies, one of Europe's largest providers of outsourced automated solutions, has won two major contracts in alliance with BT and produced a good financial performance for the year ended March 31.

Turnover was 59 per cent ahead to £127.1m while a 2005 loss of £9.4m was turned into a profit of £1.3m. Cash and short-term investment balances total £12.7m (2005, £13.3m).

Eckoh and BT have won an extended five-year deal worth a minimum of £3 million with National Rail Enquiries to deliver a ground breaking automated train information service, which is expected to launch in July.

The new speech enabled travel information solution will supersede and enhance the already highly successful TrainTrackerTM service, designed to give travellers up-to-the-minute times on direct train times across all 2,500 mainland stations.

TrainTracker was built for National Rail Enquiries by Eckoh and strategic business partner, BT in January 2005 and has already proved highly popular with the travelling public; 30 per cent of callers have become repeat users and the service receives more than 225,000 calls per month. I

The partners have also clinced a three-year contract with UK express carrier Parcelforce Worldwide.

The contract, which marks Eckoh's entry into the £23 billion European express logistics market, is to supply Parcelforce Worldwide with a new automated information service that allows customers to track parcels and make re-delivery arrangements over the phone on a 24-hour, no queue basis.

The service, which will go live this summer, will be one of the first in the UK's express logistics industry to give customers personalised information. It will use advanced speech recognition technology and caller identification processes to recognise callers, anticipate their information requests and offer personalised information about their particular packages.

A further innovation of the service will be the ability to give customers the option of receiving

status updates on parcels via text message.

Customers will be able to arrange new delivery times and later this year they will be also be able to automatically make the additional payments to secure a Saturday delivery or a delivery to a new address using Eckoh's automated payment solutions.

In the first year Eckoh expects to manage in excess of one million calls to the new Parcelforce Worldwide service.

• Eckoh has direct contracts to supply hosted speech solutions to clients including Vue Cinemas, William Hill, 02, Virgin Mobile, Ideal Shopping Direct, Tote and The London Stock Exchange.

It formed a strategic alliance with BT in 2003 to capitalise on the growing opportunity for speech recognition services in the corporate marketplace.

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