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Dimension Data Keeps the Laughs Coming for Comic Relief Donors

  • 06 November, 2006 11:30

<p>Channel Seven TV program “50 Years of Laughs: A Night of Comic Relief” to utilise Dimension Data’s world class speech application to support its fundraising efforts</p>
<p>Dimension Data has partnered with Comic Relief Australia to support its biggest fundraising event for the year – “50 Years of Laughs: A Night of Comic Relief”, a three hour live television show and telethon on Channel Seven on Monday 27 November 2006, which will feature some of Australia’s best comedians and entertainers.</p>
<p>Working with Comic Relief founding partner ANZ, Dimension Data has designed and implemented a speech recognition application to handle donation payments, which will include Australia’s most complete name and address capture system. The application will support hundreds of ANZ call centre staff who will volunteer their time to handle donation calls received during the TV program.</p>
<p>Comic Relief Australia Chief Executive Officer Peter Sprott hailed the speech recognition application, “We needed to ensure that every person who wishes to donate, can do so as quickly as possible. Through the skills and technological expertise of Dimension Data, Comic Relief Australia will be able to make it even easier for viewers to get to the telephone, call in with their donation, and get back to the fun in as short a time as possible. It takes some of the pressure off our wonderful ANZ call centre volunteers. The technology is a win for the viewers and for the organisations Comic Relief supports.”</p>
<p>Voice Talent: Mark Mitchell
Callers to the Comic Relief Australia donation line will not be required to queue during peak call times – instead they will have their calls answered by one of Australia’s finest and funniest performers, Mark Mitchell, who has provided the voice to Dimension Data’s speech recognition application.</p>
<p>“I’d really like to thank Mark Mitchell for donating his time to record the voice prompts for our speech application,” said Isabella Villani, Dimension Data’s speech consultant responsible for the project.</p>
<p>“What a great experience for callers – having Mark answer the phone, have a joke with them and take them through their donation!”</p>
<p>The technology
IT services and solutions provider Dimension Data has donated its expertise and intellectual property and is working with Genesys and ANZ to provide a positive and enjoyable caller experience at the same time. Genesys is supplying Genesys Voice Portal, Nuance speech recognition and text-to-speech licences free of charge for the night of the event. The new application will also allow ANZ’s volunteer call centre agents to spend more time with each caller, providing the peace of mind that they are being supported by a speech recognition agent taking the overflow of calls on the system.</p>
<p>Sitting behind Mark Mitchell’s voice is Australia’s most comprehensive and accurate name and address speech capture system. The name capture application is able to recognise over 140,000 surnames and 80,000 first names, which covers over 95 percent of the Australian population. The application uses an Australian language model based on hundreds of thousands Australian voices recorded over the last five years, and it has a current recognition rate of 88 percent. Every Australian address is contained in the application, based on Australia Post’s addressing scheme and updated every three months. In addition to name and address capture, Dimension Data’s speech application will handle the payment component, sending data to ANZ’s payment gateway for processing.</p>
<p>“Dimension Data prides itself not only on its technical achievements but also a willingness to lend a hand to worthwhile causes. Through our corporate social responsibility program, our employees are able to use their skills to contribute to the community. Comic Relief Australia brings joy to the sectors of society that need it the most, and Dimension Data is proud to support this project,” said Steve Nola, Australian CEO, Dimension Data.</p>
<p>Staff from Dimension Data will also be volunteering their time to follow up on donation calls received during the show. Acknowledging that the speech recognition application will not be able to achieve a perfect success rate, where the application is having difficulty capturing the name and address component from calls received, these calls will be recorded so that a sound file from the call can be analysed after the event to confirm the caller’s details.</p>
<p>“Callers to the Comic Relief Australia donation line will be having a great time watching the show. The last thing they want is to be sitting in a phone queue and possibly missing their favourite comedian on screen,” said Ms Villani. “It’s the same with our speech recognition system. In the rare case that our system can’t understand the caller, we can simply record the details and deal with it later, so the caller can get back to the TV and have a laugh.”</p>
<p>Dimension Data’s expertise in speech recognition has been widely recognised, with the company winning numerous global and local awards. The system designed for Comic Relief employed the skills of eight Dimension Data staff specialising in linguistics, psychology and software development. The team focused on creating the best user experience by designing an application that is developed from a user perspective and uses the language of real people, involving language specialists from start to finish.</p>
<p>“We were keen to work with Comic Relief to find the best way to maximise the number of donations during the telethon. With the application Dimension Data has developed, all calls that are not immediately answered by an agent will be passed through to the speech application system. Donors will be guided through the donation process by Mark Mitchell’s voice and back watching the show before the end of the commercials,” concluded Mr Nola.</p>
<p>Donations to Comic Relief Australia can be made at any ANZ branch.</p>
<p>-Ends-</p>
<p>About Dimension Data
Dimension Data plc (LSE:DDT), a specialist IT services and solution provider, helps clients plan, build and support their IT infrastructures. Dimension Data applies its expertise in networking, security, operating environments, storage and contact centre technologies and its unique skills in consulting, integration and managed services to create customised client solutions. www.dimensiondata.com/au</p>
<p>About Comic Relief Australia
Comic Relief Australia is committed to the fight against poverty and social injustice, both within Australia and overseas. Comic Relief was founded in the United Kingdom in 1985 by comedian Richard Curtis in response to famine in Ethiopia. Over the years, Comic Relief has educated people about HIV and AIDS, taught women to read, immunised children and helped people rebuild their communities after conflict. Across the UK and Australia it has helped disabled people challenge prejudice and discrimination, supported older people in their fight to get their rights recognised and provided escape routes for women living with domestic violence. Through their GOLDEN DOLLAR PROMISE, Comic Relief Australia ensures that administration costs are covered by sponsorship in cash or in kind so that every dollar donated goes to charity. www.comicrelief.org.au</p>

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