Olympus DS-7000 : The most affordable professional dictation solution

Olympus DS7000 Digital Dictation Kit

Olympus DS7000 Digital Dictation Kit partners with Olympus AS7000 Digital Transcription Kit

Olympus have also produced high quality, professional dictation systems and the Olympus DS-7000 Digital Voice Recorder is one of the most popular systems on the market…

And now it is one of the most affordable!

VoiceX Communications has the Olympus DS-7000 on special until 30th August, 2013.

Trade Up to the new Olympus DS-7000 Digital Voice Recorder for only $530 inc GST & 12 Month Warranty – Save $169

Huge discounts are also available on the entire DS7000 range, including;

VoiceX can also provide installation, configuration and user training for all your Olympus and Dragon requirements.

Visit the VoiceX website for further information

www.voicex.com.au

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Dragon NaturallySpeaking Version 12 : Coming Soon : Pre-Order from VoiceX

Nuance have announced the release of the new Dragon NaturallySpeaking Version 12Range in Australia will be announced on 21st August, 2012

Dragon NaturallySpeaking 12 : Professional : Legal : Premium : Home

Pre-Order the new Dragon NaturallySpeaking 12 Speech Recognition software from VoiceX : http://www.voicex.com.au

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Call VoiceX on 1300 551 778 to pre order your copy of Dragon 12 – or visit www.voicex.com.au to keep up with release and product info.

The release will be staggered with Dragon NaturallySpeaking 12 Home and Dragon NaturallySpeaking 12 Premium due in Australia late August and Dragon NaturallySpeaking 12 Professional and Legal late September.

At this stage, Dragon Medical 11 will not be upgraded to Dragon Medical 12.

Pre-orders of Dragon NaturallySpeaking 12 are now being taken by VoiceX Communications : visit the VoiceX online store at www.voicex.com.au/Dragon-12

Also…find out how you can purchase Dragon 11 Professional or Legal NOW @ 40% Discount and receive a FREE upgrade to Dragon 12 Professional or Legal..  Call 1300-551-778 or email : info@voicex.com.au

http://www.voicex.com.au/Speech-Recognition-Solutions.html

Olympus DS-7000 Digital Dictation System

Olympus DS7000 digital dictation system : digital dictatphone voice recorder

The new Olympus DS-7000 Digital Dictation Voice Recorder

Olympus DS-7000 Digital Voice Recorder

Review

The successor to the hugely popular Olympus DS-5000 digital voice recorder is here. Olympus believes the new DS-7000 Digital Dictation System improves on its predecessor in almost every way and so has abruptly discontinued production on the older model.

Was this a good move? The DS-5000 was so successful because it delivered excellent ergonomics and ease of use, offered high recording quality and came bundled with the Professional level dictation management software, DSS Player Pro.

Let’s find out if the new Olympus DS-7000 Digital Dictation System stacks up…

Look and Feel

The look and feel of the new Olympus DS-7000 is similar to the Olympus DS-5000 it has replaced, featuring a black metal casing, thumb slider operation and

a near-identical face button layout. It is slightly wider, but has the same height and thickness. I couldn’t detect much of a weight difference either.

Something that has obviously changed is the screen. The new screen is slightly wider and around 50% taller than the now small-looking DS-5000 screen. Turn it on and you’re greeted by a nice full-colour LCD screen, which immediately gives the machine a more exotic feel.

Build quality is typical Olympus. The machine feels reassuringly solid, with good weight and a nice, consistent “clickiness” to the buttons. Olympus claim the slider is also improved, but I struggled to tell the difference. Not a bad thing, as the DS-5000 was already equipped with a smooth, reliable slider that is easy to get into position.

Operation

The functionality of the new Olympus DS-7000 is more or less identical to the outgoing DS-5000. All the buttons are where we’d expect to find them and the usual features expected of a professional voice recorder – rewind, playback, overwrite, insert, etc. – are all present.

The power switch has been relocated to behind the larger microphone area, which makes sense as one of the quirks of the DS-5000 was that the switch was

blocked when docked. It’s also harder to accidentally switch on and off.

Speaking of docking, the new docking connector is supposedly also improved, but seems to be exactly the same. Again, not a bad thing as the DS-5000 was blessed with perhaps the most reliable docking of the (then) current crop of dictaphones. The Olympus DS-7000 also now has the ability to USB charge while switched on (the DS-5000 could only USB charge when switched off, otherwise the AC adapter was required).

The battery has been upgraded to a new Lithium Ion unit which charges faster and lasts longer than the outgoing NiMH battery. This is great, but the redesigned battery compartment no longer allows for AAA batteries to be used in urgent instances of battery failure.  We believe this is a major oversight as the current Grundig Digta 7 machines have both the Lithium Ion battery AND option for standard AAA’s.  We would recommend purchasing an addition battery and battery charger so that you are never caught short due to unexpected battery depletion or failure.

Now back to that nice big colour screen. The background colour actually changes while recording to alert the author of the current mode, as though the recording LED and counting timer weren’t enough already, but it’s a nice touch. There isn’t really any additional information displayed on the screen, but the increased size means it’s all presented much more attractively and with less clutter – making it easier to read and reduces the instance of accidental operation.

Microphone Quality

Olympus has focused heavily on the quality of the built-in microphone. The DS-5000 already had a good one, but it wasn’t particularly suitable for certain applications like speech recognition, where background noise had the potential to spoil the party.

The Olympus DS-7000 features a larger microphone element, which should increase the voice clarity of recordings. Olympus also claim the new microphone housing is an isolated chamber, which should minimize the audible omovement and button presses, etc. while recording.

With regular dictations, voice was crisp and clean. The DS-5000 microphone had a tendency to sound bright to the point of sibilance, which could have a negative impact of speech recognition. The DS-7000 sounds slightly more subdued, with a flatter frequency response.

Speech recognition with Dragon produced a better signal to noise graph that the DS-5000.  Inital testing of the Olympus DS-7000 with Dragon were extremely positive.

The Olympus DS-7000 and the associated Olympus ODMS Dictate Software can be used for real-time (on-line) speech recognition and also background (off-line) speech recognition.

It is also worth noting that the Olympus DS-7000 is only supported for use with Dragon NaturallySpeaking Professional V10 & V11 and also Dragon NaturallySpeaking Legal 11.  Currently the DS-7000 is NOT supported for use with Dragon Medical.

The Software

The DSS Player Pro software has been renamed to Olympus Dictation Management System (ODMS) for the new version (R6), but it is functionally very similar. One major change, however, is the introduction of integrated speech recognition (very much identical to the Philips SpeechExec Pro V7 ) using Dragon NaturallySpeaking Professional and Legal.

This allows dictations to be queued and recognised in the background, rather than the clunky dictation-by-dictation Recognise -> Correct -> Repeat process of R5, cementing Olympus’ intent for the DS-7000 to integrate with speech recognition.

Unfortunately, at this stage, unlike the Philips SpeechExec Pro and Enterprise software, ODMS is not licensed for use with Dragon Medical 11

The new software also supports the new 256bit AES file encryption from the recorder for added security over the DS-5000’s now-dated 128bit offering.

ODMS Admin tool is now available separately for larger installation sites.  Previously, many of these tools were included with the Olympus DSSPlayer Pro.  This allows for some Citrix / WTS installations and administrators control, plus the advantage of Multi User Licensing – an essential requirement for managing licenses in medium and large sites.

ODMS Admin definitely allows the software to be easier to use and manage in sites with multiple users, but it is still not as feature rich or as flexible as some other centralised dictation management software, such as Philips SpeechExec Enterprise.

Compatibility with older versions

We have given a BIG tick to Olympus for making the Olympus DS7000 both backwards AND forwards compatible.

Yes…. You can you the Olympus DS-7000 and AS7000 with the DS-5000 and AS5000 system

Yes…. You can use the Olympus DS-5000 and AS5000 with the DS-7000 and AS7000 system

Yes… You can use the new ODMS Admin Software to manage both 7000 and 5000 system users

Users of the older Olympus DS-4000 and AS-4000 digital dictation systems should consider upgrading both the software and hardware.  The 4000 system is

not compatible with Windows 7 and has been deemed “end-of-life” by Olympus; meaning that parts and accessories will soon (if not already) be discontinued.

Conclusion

Overall Olympus have once again provided a practical and reliable digital dictation system and we at VoiceX Communications expect it to be one of our top sellers.

The Good

  • Subtle improvements without taking away from user familiarity
  • Backwards AND forwards compatible with DS-5000 / AS-5000 system
  • Impressive colour screen
  • Proper integration with Dragon NaturallySpeaking Professional and Dragon Legal speech recognition software

The Bad

  • No longer compatible with AAA batteries
  • Side placement of earphone/microphone jacks is questionable
  • Nothing revolutionary
  • Not licensed for use with Dragon Medical 11

The new Olympus DS-7000 and AS-7000 Professional Digital dictation and Transcription System is available from VoiceX Communications – Australia wide.

VoiceX are a fully authorised Olympus Pro Dealer and can be contacted on 1300 551 778 or you can view their website at www.voicex.com.au for full product information.

VoiceX supplies all states of Australia and New Zealand.  Delivery of the Olympus DS7000 can generally be over night and they have a range of installation and support options.

http://www.voicex.com.au/Dragon-Medical-11-Speech-Recognition-Software.html

Philips SpeechExec Pro vs Enterprise

Philips are leaders in digital dictation, with one of their primary strengths being the simplicity and reliability of their bundled software, Philips SpeechExec. The professional range of Philips dictation and transcription kits are complete with the SpeechExec Pro Dictate and Transcribe software respectively.

While SpeechExec Pro provides all of the features and functionality that most small businesses require, medium to large businesses will benefit from the additional features of SpeechExec Enterprise, which is geared towards organisations with a large number of users or those with thin client environments.

Central Administration

SpeechExec Enterprise features a central administration console. This allows every user’s software to be configured and monitored from central administration PCs, eliminating the need to physically or remotely visit every workstation to make settings changes.

Users can be assigned to groups, each with their own default settings, with further changes unique to each user also possible. Each setting can be locked from user changes, on a per user basis, reducing the need to troubleshoot issues relating to user error.

In addition to configuration, users can be monitored, edited or deleted and group assignments are a simple drag-and-drop process. SpeechExec also integrates with Windows Active Directory.

Concurrent Licencing

With SpeechExec Enterprise, there is no need to purchase a software license for every single user or workstation. Licencing is concurrent, meaning licenses are required only when a user is actively running the software.

This allows fewer licenses to be purchased than would otherwise be required. Depending on the work environment, the ratio of users to licenses can be up to 5:1.

Licenses are distributed from a central license server, a small application which consumes minimal resources, and are valid for both dictation and transcription applications, whichever is required at any particular time. Additional licenses can be added as required.

Citrix and WTS Ready

SpeechExec Enterprise is the only software of its kind to be certified Citrix-ready, with compatibility from Presentation Server 4.5 through to XenApp 6.5. It is also fully compatible with WTS environments and a large variety of commonly used thin clients.

The central administration offered by Enterprise goes hand-in-hand with the core principal behind Citrix and WTS. As the number of users grows, the benefits multiply.

Modularity

SpeechExec Enterprise is constructed from modular building blocks, which can be distributed across network infrastructure as dictated by the network. Components needn’t be localised to any particular location or hardware.

Integrated Speech Recognition

Dragon NaturallySpeaking (sold separately) speech recognition is fully integrated into SpeechExec Enterprise with no further investment required.

Speech recognition further increases the efficiency of dictation workflow by automatically transcribing dictations into text. Typists then proof read and correct errors rather than type documents from scratch.

Full integration of Dragon within Enterprise eliminates the appearance of an additional GUI, simplifying the workflow and reducing user training requirements.

SpeechExec Enterprise will fully integrate with Dragon NaturallySpeaking Professional, Dragon Legal and Dragon Medical.  User training and integration of Dragon speech recognition products is available from VoiceX Communications.

Widespread Reach

For larger organisations with multiple sites, SpeechExec Enterprise presents further optimisation potential. Local networks connected by WAN can be housed under the umbrella of Enterprise, sharing licenses and dictations as required.

Alternatively, each site can be configured to handle its own dictations, with only licences shared. This prevents dictations from needlessly travelling from site-to-site, reducing network traffic and processing times.

Expandable

In addition to the core modules, SpeechExec Enterprise features a suite of add-on modules designed to expend its functionality and convenience depending on the work environment and its requirements. These include:

Core Modules:

SpeechExec Enterprise Manager

Enterprise License Manager

SpeechExec Enterprise Dictate

SpeechExec Enterprise Transcribe

Expansion Modules:

DPM Connect

Statistics Module

Workflow Manager

Remote Device Manager

Web Director

Enterprise Mobile Server

iPhone and Blackberry client applications
Philips SpeechExec Enterprise V4.1 is available in Australia from VoiceX Communications.

VoiceX Communications are specialists in digital dictation and speech recognition systems.  They are the only authorised Philips MDCe in Australia and a Nuance Certified Gold Reseller and Training Partner for the entire range of Dragon Speech Recognition Productsion.

VoiceX Communications service all states of Australia and can be contacted on 1300 551 778 or visit their web site at www.voicex.com.au

Dragon NaturallySpeaking Pro vs Medical

With the release of Dragon NaturallySpeaking Medical v11, health professionals are able to create medical documents and navigate their PCs more intuitively and quickly than ever before, by using their voice in addition to their keyboard and mouse.

However, before the release of Medical, Dragon NaturallySpeaking Professional was able to achieve similar results. So what improvements have been made in Dragon Medical?

Specialised Vocabularies

Dragon Medical features over 50 specialised vocabularies, specifically designed for use when dictating medical documents and correspondences. Using a specialised vocabulary is vital for both speed and accuracy – two factors that are critical to the viability of speech recognition.

A specialised vocabulary is a list of words which is tailored towards a particular medical field (Cardiology, Pathology, Radiology, etc.). This means that uncommon (in general language) terminology is included, but other, more casual or irrelevant terms are not.

The specialised vocabulary is typically much smaller than a general vocabulary, which means Dragon will not only find the correct words (increasing accuracy and reducing the need to train unknown words), but will also take less time to do so as there are fewer possibilities.

Although Dragon Professional allows for customisation of its general vocabulary, this process is monotonous and time-consuming. Dragon Medical also allows each user to freely move between multiple different vocabularies for different purposes, for example a medical report and a personal email.

Hidden Mode

Dragon Medical’s new Hidden Mode allows the author to dictate into an invisible document in the background. In general, the target document must be in focus in order to receive dictation, which can be inconvenient should the author wish to reference other media or navigate and analyse data in another application.

Hidden Mode allows the author to do this and dictate simultaneously on his observations. Once complete, the dictation is easily transferred into the target document using a simple voice command. The dictated text can be corrected and edited as normal.

PowerMic Integration

Dragon Medical provides complete integration with the Nuance PowerMic II handheld microphone. This device features a quality noise-cancelling microphone, configurable face buttons and a robust housing, making it ideal for authors favouring handheld microphones.

The face buttons can be configured from within Dragon Medical to activate commonly used functions or quickly execute the most useful voice commands. Dragon Medical is of course also compatible with other styles of microphone (headset, desktop, etc.).

Plantronics SAVI W440 Review

The new generation of Plantronics wireless PC headsets has arrived, with the modestly-priced Plantronics W440 representing the first DECT wireless headset with a focus on portability. Does this portability compromise usability and voice quality?

Technology

DECT technology has been around for years, most commonly found in household cordless phones, offering clear voice quality and long wireless range.

DECT PC headsets are also nothing new; the previous generation of headsets from Plantronics (the iconic CS-60) used the same technology. However, although wireless, these headsets were never portable. The DECT connection was between the headset and its base, which was chunky and required connection to the electrical mains.

In contrast, the new W440 has a DECT connection to a small USB dongle, much like many Bluetooth headsets, including Plantronics’ own Voyager line. Bluetooth headsets are handy and have their place, but crystal clear audio, as required by speech recognition, is not their forte.

Unboxing

When I first laid eyes upon the Plantronics W440 retail box, I was stunned at its size. From what I had known about the headset, I was expecting a compact unit, but the box was huge.

Upon opening the box, all was revealed. It was filled, not with filler, but with accessories.

The contents are listed below:

–      Plantronics W440 headset and hot-swappable battery
–      DECT USB dongle
–      Base station and AC adapter (for charging)
–      USB cradle (for charging)
–      “Fit kit” including ear gels, ear loops, headband and neck band
–      Carry case
–      Manuals, warranty card, etc.

This is a very complete bundle. About the only thing missing that might be of interest is a spare battery (available separately) for those wishing to use the headset for extended periods without access to a charge point.

This non-inclusion is no deal-breaker, however, since Plantronics have supplied both AC and USB charging options. With a claimed battery life of 7 hours talk time, most will struggle to justify a second battery.

Comfort

Headsets can be worn for hours at a time, so comfort is a critical consideration. One of the big ticks for the Plantronics CS-60 was its comfort, so how does the new Plantronics W440 fare?

I’m pleased to report that, for me at least, the Plantronics W440 is more comfortable than the CS-60. This is due to the inclusion of more fitting options, as well as the less common back-of-the-head/upper-neck band, which is my personal wearing style of choice.

The headset itself is also extremely light. Weightier headsets never really bothered me, but some users may gain additional comfort from this.

Performance

Okay, so the idea is good, the kit is impressive and the headset is lightweight and comfortable. Now for the burning question – how does this thing actually perform?

PC headsets are typically used for two primary purposes – softphones and speech recognition (such as Dragon NaturallySpeaking) – of which, Speech Recognition is by far the more picky when it comes to audio quality. Speech recognition software like Dragon NaturallySpeaking require clear, clean audio to product the best results.

To test the audio quality, I created a new Dragon profile and completed the initial training. While performing this training, you can get a feel for how well Dragon understands your speech by how it responds. This was promising…

I’ve now been testing the headset with my new profile for nearly a month and the recognition accuracy is excellent – certainly an improvement over the already great Plantronics CS-60USB. This is hardly an objective comment, but the noise cancelling (more correctly, noise isolation) also seems very good, making this headset a suitable option for use in somewhat (within reason) noisy environments.

IMPORTANT: The audio quality was poor out of the box. Plantronics recommend downloading their software, but they don’t supply an installation disc. DO IT! The driver update noticeably improves the microphone’s audio quality.

Conclusion

The Good

–      Comfortable, lightweight and portable – the first of its kind
–      Excellent accessory bundle, including a surprisingly good quality carry case
–      Very high quality microphone with ample noise isolation

The Bad

–      The microphone boom feels a little delicate, so use the carry case when out and about
–      While the microphone quality is high, the speaker quality isn’t – good enough for a conversation, but you wouldn’t use it to listen to music
–      No installation disc included, but the driver update is a must
The Plantronics Savi WW440 is available in Australia from;

VoiceX Communications : 1300 551 778

www.voicex.com.au

An Overview of Speech Recognition

Modern speech recognition technology has evolved into a powerful communications medium that can significantly improve workflow efficiency and reduce workplace injuries. Today’s premium speech recognition software transforms your voice into text, providing a much more convenient interface with the PC when creating documents and emails.

As leaders in voice processing technology, VoiceX Communications have tested numerous software packages available today and recommend the Dragon NaturallySpeaking Speech Recognition Software – by Nuance- line of products for their speed, accuracy and functionality.

Online Speech Recognition

Speak your thoughts and Dragon immediately transcribes it into text. This is known as online speech recognition and is the core functionality of Dragon. Lengthy documents and emails can be created up to three times faster than typing – more if you’re a two-finger typist – without the strain of unnatural seating positions and repetitive motions.

While this functionality itself is exceptional, online recognition can be used for so much more than simply creating documents. Dragon transforms your voice into an additional interface with your computer, working in tandem with your keyboard and mouse.

Voice commands can launch programs, navigate menus, apply formatting, send emails or search your computer and the web. In fact, Dragon can do anything your keyboard and mouse can, but optimal use of the software will be a combination of all three.

+  Freedom – you’re free to move around during dictation, not tied to a keyboard and mouse

+  Functionality – so much more than just dictation, online recognition affords you the ability to completely control your computer by voice

+  Convenience – corrections can be made immediately, better integrating into your workflow

–  Mobility – you still need to be at your computer for online recognition

Offline Speech Recognition

While online speech recognition transcribes your voice into text and commands in real-time, offline speech recognition transcribes pre-recorded audio files. Most often, this relates to digital dictation, with typists effectively becoming proof readers. Rather than typing the entire document, they simply correct any recognition errors, which can significantly increase productivity.

Dragon has a transcription function built-in, but also integrates with the software of the leading digital dictation brands – Philips, Olympus and Grundig – for an even more streamlined and efficient workflow.

+  Mobility – dictation can be done anytime, anywhere, so long as you have your digital dictation recorder handy

+  Ease of use – no need to worry about correcting errors, allowing you to concentrate on your dictation

+  Productivity – if you already have a typist, offline speech recognition can significantly increase their productivity

–  Workflow – correction is an additional step in the process, but this can be integrated into your digital dictation system

Digital Dictation – What are the Benefits?

Dictation is an integral part of many businesses, including law firms, doctor’s surgeries, educational institutions, government departments and real estate agencies. However, even in today’s modern world, many such businesses are battling with outdated technology as part of their daily routine.

The reasons for this are varied, but are usually a combination of technological adversity, perceived cost and inertia. The digital age is well and truly here and it’s time for dictation to catch up.

What is Digital Dictation?

Traditional analogue dictation uses cassette tapes – mini, micro, etc – to record an author’s voice. In a nutshell, digital dictation replaces these tapes with digital audio files stored on a portable digital storage medium, such as an SD card.

Quality

The first key benefit of digital dictation is audio quality. Recording to a cassette tape yields inconsistent, often poor audio quality, with constant background noise caused by the mechanical nature of the device. The author’s voice is often distorted and damaged tapes can hamper audio quality even further.

Digital dictation, on the other hand, offers far crisper audio. There are no moving parts, which means no incessant hissing and, using the DSS (digital speech standard) audio format and more recently, DS2 format, recording quality is better than ever.

Convenience

One tape means one long, continuous dictation, even if you had intended for dozens of different memos, letters, etc. This means that your transcriber has to manually fast forward and rewind though the tape to find a particular section.

In contrast, digital dictation effortlessly separates dictations into separate files, making it easy to find the right place. You can even mark particular files as high priority, ensuring they are done at first opportunity.

Another handy feature is the ability to insert speech into an existing dictation, rather than overwriting. This essentially pushes everything else back to make room for your addition. Try doing that on a tape!

Versatility

Sharing your analogue dictation with others means physically transporting your cassette to wherever it needs to go. This might not be a huge issue if you have an in-office transcriber, but what if they work from home or go overseas?

With digital dictation, distribution of your dictations is effortless. The software can be configured to download your dictations, copy them to a network folder where your transcriber will see them immediately, or email them to a dozen people all over the world. This can even be done 100% automatically!

Security

Digital file security has progressed a long way in recent years. Sensitive dictations can be encrypted so that they cannot be heard by unprivileged ears. Your dictations are also inherently more secure since they do not need to by physically transported around the office or around the world.

Productivity

Speech recognition software such as Nuance’s Dragon NaturallySpeaking (DNS) can be used to digitally transcribe your documents for you. The transcriber then becomes a proof reader, drastically improving throughput.

All these features and benefits lead to increased productivity for your business. Imagine a fully streamlined solution whereby your dictation is automatically downloaded to a network folder and sent to speech recognition for your transcriber to proof. At the same time, a copy of the dictation is emailed to an associate on the other side of the globe and a third copy is stored on the office server’s archive for future reference.

Robustness

Tapes eventually wear out. At some point, you will need to copy your dictations to another tape, resulting in further loss of audio quality. Archiving tapes also requires valuable real estate in your store room.

Digital files, on the other hand, can be perfectly replicated with no loss of quality and require no additional physical space for storage. Copies can be sent to various locations around the world to ensure they remain intact in the case of fire or theft.

Economy

With increased productivity comes increased profitability for your business. In addition, there are no consumables to be purchased and fewer repairs due to machine malfunction since there are less mechanical parts.

The initial cost is also much less than you might expect when compared to the cost of analogue dictation and transcription machines.  You can view the full range of digital dictaphone recorders and digital transcribers – from leading brands, such as; Philips, Olympus and Grundig – at www.voicex.com.au