Posted on

Speech Recognition Makes a Comeback into Law with the Power of AI

By Ed McGuiggan for

Law firms depend on documentation to serve their clients, prepare for cases, and ensure they have the most updated information. Traditionally, inputting this information into the requisite legal systems has been subject to human error and is time-consuming, requiring hours of typing or writing. Meanwhile, firms are also under pressure to keep costs low in an effort to maintain efficiency for their clients and retain their business. These challenges have only grown as a result of the pandemic, which has forced more lawyers to work remotely, requiring them to keep careful, accurate documentation without their usual tools and workspace.

Ironically, the answer to solving these new problems may be in a “new/old” skill: dictation coupled with speech recognition technology, which is making a comeback in the legal space. Vastly improved from the days of tape recorders and Dictaphones, speech recognition today is automated and incorporates the power of AI to provide better, faster, and more accurate record-keeping. When weaved into speech recognition tools, conversational AI helps with productivity and collaboration, while also reducing costs and making lawyers’ lives easier. Perhaps this trend is best summarized by the American Bar Association, which has stated, “The advent of voice-recognition dictation has ushered in an entirely new and streamlined way to dictate documents.”

The idea of using recordings and subsequent transcription is not new, especially in the legal space. Originally built off Thomas Edison’s phonograph—the first recording device invented—dictation machines have been used across industries for years to make it easier for professionals to record meetings, classes, or other important events so that they did not have to take arduous notes. The discs and tapes could then be played back so that someone could transcribe them.

This was an extremely popular practice in the legal industry, as it would save lawyers from having to transcribe every meeting or court appearance they attended. However, speech recognition was not without challenges in the modern workplace, as shared workspaces became the norm, making it harder for workers to leverage speech recognition devices without disturbing their colleagues. In fact, a 2015 study conducted by Avanta Serviced Office Group found that 42% of respondents list conversations and people talking as the most annoying office noise. This sentiment only started to change as voice-powered personal assistants rose to popularity—particularly in office settings. mean

By combining the power of speech recognition with new technology like AI, law firms can increase productivity while also decreasing costs. First and foremost, adding AI into speech recognition enables advanced accuracy and thoroughness capabilities, which eliminate the need for anyone to transcribe notes. Instead, when users dictate, the speech recognition software uses algorithms to transcribe the spoken word, rather than simply recording it. Not only does this save valuable time—it’s up to three times faster than typing—but it also eliminates the potential for human error that often occurs during a manual transcription.

With lawyers spending less time documenting everything needed for a case, costs for clients are significantly decreased, and risk is mitigated—leading to improved experiences and an increased likelihood for them to be repeat customers. Meanwhile, lawyers are freed of the burden of time-intensive paperwork, enabling them to quickly switch to higher value, client-facing, and strategic tasks. Not only will this improve the law firm’s output, but job satisfaction is also likely to increase with attorneys and other legal professionals able to focus on their “real job” of serving clients.

While security may arise as a concern with AI technology, many solutions allow for encryption options and server protection to ensure all sensitive data is secure and only accessible by those in the firm using the technology. However, law firms should address their concerns with technology partners upfront to guarantee their needs are met, and privacy is upheld.

Keeping costs low while also keeping morale and productivity high is no small feat—particularly during a pandemic, as individuals adjust to the predominantly remote world. While speech recognition may not be the first solution that comes to mind, the new, AI-enabled platforms available to law firms today have completely revolutionized what was once a tool of the past. By turning to AI-enabled solutions, law firms can confidently navigate difficult times with grace and agility, secure client retention, and give their employees the tools needed to succeed.

Posted on

How Law Enforcement Benefits from Speech Recognition Tech

By Ed McGuiggan for State Tech

The value and importance of police reports cannot be understated. From traffic and collision reports to those documenting theft, injuries and arrests, police reports are not only highly scrutinized by prosecutors, courts, media and insurance companies, they’re also essential to ongoing investigations. Police officers spend a significant amount of the workday managing these reports and other such documentation. 

It’s now possible to deploy voice-enabled technologies to provide officers with an alternative to the traditional, manual methods of creating reports. Officers simply speak to create detailed, accurate incident reports, using the power of their voices in place of typing. Reports created this way have been shown to take a third of the time that manual data entry would typically require and provide enormous safety benefits for officers out in the field.

Public Safety Officers Are Consumed with Incident Reporting 

One law enforcement survey conducted by Nuance uncovered just how extensive the documentation burden is: More than half of the surveyed public safety officials reported spending more than three hours of each shift on paperwork. 

In addition, more than 70 percent of survey respondents said they spend at least one hour in their patrol vehicles to complete a single incident report. Human memories can be faulty, unfortunately, and over that hour, it can be easy to forget to include details that may factor into a case or outcome. Add in multiple incidents and calls, and both memory recall and the ability to decipher hastily prepared handwritten notes can fade.

In other words, officers are dedicating too much of their days to documentation and administrative work — and it’s all time they would prefer to spend on more mission-critical, proactive policework that improves the safety and security of their communities.

Spending extra time capturing accurate, comprehensive and detailed information may mean officers are “heads down” in the field, a scenario that diminishes situational awareness and can have negative consequences for their own safety and that of the public. Consider even the seemingly routine task of entering data into a records management system; if officers lose focus on their surroundings, they can be more prone to an accident or ambush.

Voice-Powered Tools Give Officers Control of Their Time

Law enforcement professionals are ready for solutions to help them regain command of their time while having a positive impact on safety, community service and report quality. Voice-enabled technologies can be the answer, and can make incident reporting faster, safer and more efficient. 

Although they’re certainly not a new technology (the first speech recognition platforms were developed in the 1950s), they have reached an inflection point in recent years, culminating in a wide range of applications and devices for use at home and at work.

Today’s speech recognition solutions continue to push the boundaries of what’s possible. Deep learning technologies help advanced speech engines achieve high levels of accuracy, even accounting for speakers’ accents and environments with background noise. Specialized platforms purpose-built for healthcare, financial services and other industries have emerged, and the same is true for law enforcement. 

The voice-enabled process can also help departments reduce their dependence on outsourced transcription services — reducing the costs associated with this process while avoiding the typical turnaround times, helping ensure that reports are available in central systems in real time. Because there’s simply no room for inaccurate, incomplete or delayed reports, police departments that use speech recognition are in a better position to meet reporting deadlines and keep criminal proceedings on track.

Some speech-enabled platforms can be integrated with departmental computer-aided dispatch and records management systems. In this way, officers can use their voices to enter incident details into the system, conduct license plate lookups and otherwise navigate within and between forms while more quickly delivering critical information out in the field.

Good police work is often reflected in good police reports. By leveraging speech recognition rather than traditional keyboard entry, officers can create detailed incident reports up to three times more quickly without sacrificing any level of detail or specificity. They’ll spend less time tethered to computers — either at the station or on patrol — and more time keeping communities safe.