Hands Free BI: Real Life Practice

February 19, 2014

It’s been a month since my wrist surgery and I have almost regained control over my hand. 

The first two weeks in bandages complicated everyday tasks, including my job at TARGIT. It’s not easy to operate a keyboard and a mouse with one hand restrained in a rather unnatural position, but it gave me the perfect excuse to speak to my computer … literally.

So, what did I learn from this?

Voice control is pretty cool. I was instantly impressed by how far you can go and how precise this speech thing works. I wrote e-mails, browsed the web, opened and closed various applications and, of course, experimented with TARGIT.


My initial thought was that controlling TARGIT’s Intelligent Wizard would work fine with voice control, since it’s based on natural language processing from a text box. This was confirmed and (as soon as the speech recognition software got used to my Danish accent) it worked great. But going advanced with drill-downs and other more advanced digging requires mouse clicks, falling short of my expectations. That’s because TARGIT uses Dragon Naturally Speaking, the speech recognition software by Nuance. Because Dragon wasn’t developed by TARGIT, it doesn’t always recognize how to handle commands within our platform. Fortunately, we can code our way out of this. And we’re really, really good at coding ;) So I know we’ll get this new feature up to TARGIT standards by the time it’s ready for release.


Where DO we want to be?

I started to investigate how and where voice control will add true value in the Business Intelligence & Analytics domain, and came to the conclusion that the desktop is probably not where we want to utilize this technology. Here you already have your keyboard, mouse, and touch screen. Of course, voice control will seem cool at first, but over time you will return to your old habits. Fine by me.


Through conversations with users of TARGIT along with reviews of trends and studies, I shifted my gaze towards mobile devices. Both Gartner and BARC as well as several writers at Dataversity pinpoint Mobile BI as one of the future most important areas within BI and Analytics. And I agree with them all.

As the volume of data and the speed with which it arrives increases, real-time processing becomes even more important. When the system determines that action is required, it’s essential to bring this information to the decision maker instantly—even if he or she isn’t anywhere near their PC.


What I derived from all of this is that voice control can be put to major use on mobile devices. An example: A sales person is on the way to a customer and suddenly decides an ad-hoc report or analysis would be perfect to show when he arrives. While driving his car, he has the option to call his TARGIT solution and ask for exactly what he needs. His mobile device then instantly handles his request. This is business value at its finest.

I know how exciting this work-in-progress is to many of our current customers (they tell me all the time how m any resources they use to do it manually!). So with that in mind, I’m dedicating my future research in voice control towards mobile devices. Let’s kick this baby into high gear!


What do you think?

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Steen Kjøng Paulsen

Lab Manager
I've learned from personal experience that data, when used correctly, can be your most trusted friend. However, just as reliable as data can be, it can be just as misleading if used incorrectly. Since my first encounter with computers as a child, I have been fascinated by the technologies of the Modern Age. Data especially has been a great passion of mine. In the rece..
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