Stories by Nick Booth

Branching out

A middle-management executive recently outlined the situation facing CIOs. In the boardroom, there's no place for them at the table. With no access to the table, how on earth will the CIO step up to the plate? So what do they do? Go for the low-hanging fruit - at least until everyone is singing from the same hymn sheet.
Bemused? So is Alastair Behenna, the CIO at service agency Harvey Nash. He wonders why straight-talking CIOs find it harder to adapt to change than the jargon-spielers. But change they must, he says. He has the unique perspective of working in an agency that specialises in recruitment and as a result is better informed than most people about the pressures on CIOs in the current economy. Behenna, once a policeman in Zimbabwe, says you must move to new areas and adapt.

Written by Nick Booth03 Dec. 09 22:00

Is it time to reappraise speech recognition systems?

One April, 11 and a half years ago, Hollywood actor Richard Dreyfuss presented a new type of software that was going to 'revolutionise business'. He had been paid to host the launch of Dragon's NaturallySpeaking application, which could faultlessly translate spoken words into text. If this worked, we could chuck away our keyboards. Productivity would multiply. Dragon would become the new Microsoft and a new era of IT would dawn.
And work it did too -- in the demonstration. But not everything about the event was quite so well stage-managed. New York was suffering its worst ever blizzard and few made it through the snow. One year later, founders Janet and Jim Baker hadn't found the mass market they may have anticipated. That year, a Belgian firm called Lernout & Hauspie introduced Voice-Express, another desktop speech software product that could potentially free us all from the tyranny of crouching over a keyboard, ruining our posture and giving ourselves RSI. In a demo, it even outperformed the world's fastest typist.

Written by Nick Booth18 Nov. 08 22:00