Tuesday, April 24, 2012

'VoiceExpress' - ‘A Snail Being Mugged by a Turtle'

By Dan Villanueva
Vice President, Marketing
Vangard Voice Systems

Martin Henry Fischer, a German-born,  early 20th century American physician, chemist, and professor of physiology at the University of Cincinnati, known for his research in colloid chemistry said ‘that a conclusion is a place, where you got tired of thinking’.   Last week on April 19th, less than 90 days after the release of a January 2012 Aberdeen Report critical of its pioneering voice technology, Vocollect Introduced Voice Express.

In short the Aberdeen Survey reflected user frustration about the complexity, costs, human resource drain, and integration, required to make voice changes to WMS workflows and applications.

42% of the voice users surveyed by Aberdeen said they batched their voice changes until the work effort was cost-justified. Worse yet, 37% said they simply didn’t make the voice changes at all. 50% said they needed a voice solution that is easier to integrate with their WMS. 33% said they needed a solution that eliminates the excessive cost to make voice changes. These and other related acquisition related factors underscore why after 20 years only 8% of the applicable WMS market has adopted voice productivity in the warehouse.

Vocollect’s press release declares that VoiceExpress (the 5th in a series of server-based, integration dependent interfaces) will “minimize their [customer’s] need to modify the host or tap precious IT resources." 

The initial VoiceExpress includes middleware, client software to initially upgrade multi-vendor vehicle-mount and fixed-mount computers, and again continued dependence the Voice Artisan (custom code development) to aide certified partners and customers to re-engineer voice processes.

Professor Fisher's view is relevant here. VoiceExpress…is a place Vocollect arrived at last week, after being tired of thinking.  Another server-based  ‘interface’ is not the answer for its customers, it’s actually the underlying architectural  problem.

By design it’s causing the frustration of Vocollect customers, and adoption resistance for the remaining 92% of the non-voice installed WMS market.  As long as the IT server is the center for voice integration, the related costs and complexity will  slow WMS voice productivity penetration and adoption.

The solution is to be found in mobility, not the back-end IT infrastructure. VoiceExpress might be incrementally faster, but compared to what? It’s  like the snail, being mugged by the turtle. When asked to describe the mugger, the snail said, I can’t… it all happened too fast’.  

If a fully mobile voice solution alternative powered from the device was an option, why would WMS professionals intentionally complicate their IT server environment with unnecessary voice applications,  links, interfaces and integration?

Today large warehouse operations are using mobile innovation that completely circumvent the IT server. Now WMS voice functionality and application integration is delivered, seamlessly and solely from the mobile device. 

Mobile innovation changes everything.   A genuine solution, not a conclusion. The answer is a simplified mobile architecture for voice-upgrading any WMS, ERP workflow or application.   

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