Once bitten twice shy. That’s the only reason why I can see that there hasn’t been more of a massive uptake of voice-activated dictation software. If technophobe lawyers can throw away their quills and manage to use it – surely so can everybody else. My understanding is that when the technology was relatively new, say 15 years ago, the brave early adopters tried it and most found it wanting. As a result, understandably, they haven’t dared try again.
But technology has moved on massively since then.
My experience of Dragon
I’ve found voice activated software is now incredibly fast and accurate. Why isn’t everyone using it? Nuance, the company producing the market-leading software, Dragon, claim 98% accuracy. Not sure about that but it’s probably not far out. I have been using Dragon for all of my typing for at least 8 years now. I can’t imagine going back to dictating for a secretary [I have not need one for years] or returning to clumsy 2 finger typing.
Why did it take it up in the 1st place? Necessity is the mother of invention. I simply found myself without a secretary for a while.
I strongly recommend Dragon NaturallySpeaking software by Nuance. Sadly I’m not on commission, because it’s the world bestselling voice-activated software but I’ve been using it for years. I have had the latest version, Dragon Professional Individual, v15 for about a year now. And it only cost me £99.99 on offer [though in the past I’ve use the home version quite successfully at an even cheaper price].
A number of my Solicitors have also used it for years. I estimate that by using Dragon, Bonallack and Bishop has probably made enough business savings in the last few years ago to buy an averagely priced local 1 bedroom flat, with cash to spare!
1 top tip however to bear in mind:
Invest in a decent microphone. For many years I used a Philips Speech Mike — priced between £150 and £175 – but more recently I have moved on to a medium priced headset – those made by Jabra are pretty good, though lightweight are surprisingly robust and work well with Dragon.
This blog was originally written by me way back in 2011, and has been updated a few times since. Perhaps, however, the days of voice-activated software being taken up by the mass market have almost arrived. I’m thinking in particular of the introduction by Apple in early September 2016 of the new iPhone, which is designed for use with Apple’s pricey new Air Pods – “smart earbuds”. And other big players are introducing gadgets that respond to voice commands. Just look at Amazon’s n”Echo” speaker.
I’ve been saying for years that eventually we’ll all be using voice-activated software of one type or another – my 16-year-old still isn’t entirely convinced, and remains embarrassed when I dictate lengthy text messages or posts on Facebook using Apple’s intelligent digital assistant Siri on my iPhone or iPad. In fact I use Siri on my iPhone and in particular my iPad, a huge amount when I am out of the office -whether I’m working from home, out and about or relaxing in the sun on holiday!
Siri is good – but Dragon is better, because unlike Siri, it becomes personalised and learns from you – adapting itself to both your individual accident and voice and your style of communication.
So is voice-activated software really the future? Yes – and I’m convinced I’m right [what’s new there!] – and if you regularly need to write lengthy emails, blogs, posts or reports, then Dragon is surely a must.
One word of warning.
Mind you, you have to be very careful with Dragon. Proof reading is essential.Why? It never spells a word wrong but does get the wrong word on occasions.
My favourite “dragonism” was when I was about to invite a good business contact to a “wine tasting” – and I almost sent out an email, dictated using Dragon, before I double checked, inviting them to a “urine testing”!