in brief Welfare agency Centrelink has implemented a voice
recognition system from vendor Nuance to make its internal IT
support hotline more efficient and effective.
Dubbed "Speakfreely", the system was rolled out to 27,000
staff on 11 May. It allows them to simply say what their technical problem is and then be
automatically redirected to the correct area, instead of listening
to a list of options. The implementation was announced this morning
by Human Services Minister Joe Ludwig.
"The extended use of Speakfreely will save valuable time for
Centrelink staff, allowing them to spend more time working with
customers," Ludwig said. "The time and cost-saving benefits for
customers and Centrelink employees from this system change are
The technology, according to Ludwig's statement, was also being
used to support the 1.8 million families who claimed family
payments from Centrelink. More than 120,000 calls per week are
placed by families to the Families Assistance Line.