Migration of products to cloud is allowing us to deliver new tech with lighter footprint: Derek Austin

Derek Austin, Sales Director, Dragon Professional & Consumer – Asia Pacific & Japan, Nuance Communications
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Nuance has a long history in India as the enterprise division has worked extensively over the years with telecom and financial services companies. In an exclusive interaction with CRN India, Derek Austin, Sales Director, Dragon Professional & Consumer – Asia Pacific & Japan, Nuance Communications, Inc shares the company’s roadmap for Dragon’s speech recognition solution in India

Please share with us Nuance’s journey in India so far?
I have been working with Nuance since 2004 and the company has evolved rapidly over time – from our beginning as a document imaging company, to our transformation into a leader in speech technologies, and now a focus on AI and conversational experiences. Nuance has a long history in India. We have always had strong partners here and our enterprise division has worked extensively over the years with telecom and financial services companies. In the area of Dragon speech recognition, we’ve had local representation for over 12 years. ICONS remains our original partner and focuses on the legal and healthcare markets.

Nuance has recently appointed Redington for its products. Could you share more about the partnership?
Redington was appointed a distributor for our products so that companies can easily source and sell Dragon software in India. We want to provide easier ways for Indian VARs and resellers to obtain Dragon for their customers. Redington provides Dragon Home, Dragon Professional Individual, and Dragon Professional Group. Group is our enterprise software and is available through volume licensing with maintenance and support options. Redington can supply physical products and software downloads, allowing for both personal and online sales by partners. They can also supply the Nuance PowerMic III noise-cancelling microphone, originally developed for hospital emergency rooms, but useful everywhere. We have specialist channels in addition to Redington for the legal and healthcare markets.

Could you talk about the product roadmap and what sort of business opportunities you see?
The trend is for products to move to the cloud. Outside India, our Dragon Anywhere software is available for smartphones and tablets with speech recognition being done on the cloud. We are rolling out enterprise software based on new architecture that can provide ‘lite’ speech recognition services based on cloud, or on-premise. As a company, we are working on integrating our speech technologies with cognitive features such as conversational analysis. This is being spearheaded in healthcare with our Ambient Clinical Intelligence work. Our goal always is to reduce mundane work that takes time away from more important things like talking to clients, solving problems, and being creative.

In terms of your channel engagements and expansion, what is your plan for the India market?
With Dragon, our focus is on English language applications in India. Frankly, we do not have language coverage for our Dragon products across the country. This restriction means our focus has been on law, medicine and international business. The migration of products to cloud is allowing us to deliver new technology with a lighter footprint that is useful for call centre wrap-ups (making notes after a customer call) and other back-office functions.

How important is the India market as compared to other global markets?
As with everything else in India, the Dragon market is growing. Speech recognition is useful for two reasons. Firstly, it saves time. An argument here has been that human resource is cheap, so it’s more affordable to employ another person rather than buying a Dragon solution. However, this argument is fading because human resources are getting more expensive. Even if labour is more affordable, Dragon still provides an excellent return on investment. If it takes one month of productivity gains to pay for Dragon instead of two weeks, that’s still a pretty good deal. The second main use of speech recognition is to provide accessibility for those who find it difficult to use a keyboard and mouse. This has applied to physical disability in particular, but in recent years providing a way for children and adults to overcome dyslexic challenges has become more important. I believe this is becoming more relevant in India as well.

What are the key priorities for Nuance India in 2019-20?
In India, we already have offices in Bengaluru, Gurugram, Pune, Lucknow, and Noida. These are involved with other aspects of Nuance’s business, but we are well-positioned to expand as needed. I am eager to talk with companies that can understand the Dragon business case and are interested in delivering some of the backend solutions.

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