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Journal of Information Science and Engineering, Vol.18 No.4, pp.627-636 (July 2002)

A Portable Auto Attendant System With Sophisticated Dialog Structure

Jhing-Fa Wang* and Hsien-Chang Wang+
+Department of Information Engineering
*Department of Electrical Engineering
National Cheng Kung University
Tainan, 701 Taiwan
E-mail: {wangjf, wangsj}

An attendant system connects the caller to the party he/she wants to talk to. Traditional systems require the caller to know the full name of the party. If the caller forgets the name, the system fails to provide service for the caller. In this paper we propose a portable Auto Attendant System (AAS) with sophisticated dialog structure that gives a caller more flexibility while calling. The caller may interact with the system to request a phone number by providing just a work area, specialty, surname, or title, etc. If the party is absent, the system may provide extra information such as where he went, when he will be back, and what he is doing. The system is built modularly, with components such as speech recognizer, language model, dialog manager and text-to-speech that can be replaced if necessary. By simply changing the personnel record database, the system can easily be ported to other companies. The sophisticated dialog manager applies many strategies to allow natural interaction between user and system. Functions such as fuzzy request, user repairing, and extra information query, which are not provided by other systems, are integrated into our system. Experimental results and comparisons to other systems show that our approach provides a more user friendly and natural interaction for auto attendant system.

Keywords: auto attendant system, fuzzy request, clear request, semantic frame, dialog manager

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Received May 2, 2000; revised February 5 & March 26 & July 6, 2001; accepted August 22, 2001.
Communicated by Wen-Lian Hsu.