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Bighand pushing VPT as next big idea in the US

What next for digital dictation, particularly in the North American market where we are always being told that attorneys don’t dictate? BigHand has today announced a new campaign Unleash Your Voice – Transform Your Firm that introduced the concept of Voice Productivity Technology – or VPT – to the world.

The campaign describes the use of BigHand’s workflow digital dictation software when combined with first-to-market smartphone applications and speech-to-text integration, which is now used by over 20,000 legal professionals in North America. The campaign site features the whitepaper Voice Technologies in Law Firms: The Next Chapter plus a new brochure and voice quotes from users of BigHand. Here’s a link to the campaign website

Steve Butterworth, president & CEO of BigHand Inc said “Our technical innovations over the past few years, combined with the increasing appetite of lawyers to change the way they work to be more productive in the current economic climate, has transformed how law firms are using BigHand. Dictation is no longer the only type of working practice synonymous with this technology. This campaign sets out to highlight the many varied ways BigHand is being used and how it has become regarded as more of a voice productivity technology than just digital dictation.”

Justin Horne, IT Director for Goldberg Osborne based in Phoenix AZ, described his firm’s transition to BigHand, says “We came from a standalone digital dictation environment and while the system was used, it was more in the traditional sense, with lawyers tethered to the office whenever they needed to download voice files. BigHand changed all of that: we put the application on their Android smartphones and they are now able to record voice files while on the road and have it immediately go to their secretary. We have definitely seen our lawyers use it beyond the traditional dictation – instead of spending 20-30 minutes typing up their own document to send to a client, they spend 30 seconds recording instructions via BigHand, which they send to their secretary. The secretary can then spend the time generating the document while the lawyer can focus on other things. From a business benefit perspective, positioning BigHand as a voice productivity technology has translated into big savings for us.”

Rich Wills, CIO of Keating, Muething & Klekamp in Cincinnati, OH, adds “We use the mantra, Everyone dictates. We just call it voicemail and encourage those that claim they don’t dictate to use the system. From the attorney’s perspective, the process is so simple. We have seen a phenomenal response and have heard nothing but compliments from our staff, which does not happen with every project! The adoption has increased as attorneys find new ways to use it beyond traditional dictation such as dictating their time and data capture for CRM, allowing secretaries to enter it in – the results have been great.”

JD Sentz, Network Administrator at Damon Morey, based in Buffalo NY, says, “The smartphone piece is what sold us. We used to have voice files that went missing with our standalone digital dictation system. As a result, there were delays in turning around the work and a lot of IT investment was dedicated to finding lost files. With BigHand, our lawyers have seen significantly improved turnaround times, which is something they really appreciate. Some of our lawyers said they didn’t dictate, but we introduced the concept of voice productivity technology and explained that it is better than voicemail for delegating work to their assistants, at which point the penny dropped and we have been reaping the benefits ever since.”

BigHand’s speech-to-text integration with Dragon is the most advanced of its kind in the legal marketplace and is an integral part of BigHand’s VPT offering. Rich Wills is testing the integration and comments “BigHand’s speech-to-text integration has eliminated the once time-intensive training for the lawyer. The integration is set up so that the lawyer does not have to do anything different, which is important, with the secretaries making the corrections and improving the accuracy of the lawyer’s speech file. Feedback from secretaries has been very positive – instead of transcribing a 25-minute voice file from scratch, they can choose to utilize the speech-to-text integration, significantly reducing the transcription time.”

Justin Horne, again, describing the firm’s experience with speech-to-text accuracy and its future uses, “Where we see our firm using it in the future is for more instructional purposes. Why not have everything come through speech-to-text, then the assistant can determine whether it is adequate to work off the transcribed text or just listen to the voice file? On a good voice file, we are seeing accuracy levels at over 90%.  It minimizes what the attorney has to do and the assistant can determine how to deal with it.” 

Commenting on BigHand’s campaign, the panel weigh in on the future role VPT will play in law firms. Justin Horne of Goldberg Osborne comments “I think when iPhone Siri came out people really started to see the benefits of voice technologies. VPT represents the same concept of using your voice to get things done. Siri allows you to command your phone, Dragon allows you to command your PC and BigHand makes my lawyers more productive; you definitely see the adoption of voice technologies continue to accelerate as people realize the productivity gains.”

Rich Wills of Keating, Muething & Klekamp concludes “We continue to see voice technologies integrate their way into society. We are starting to change the way this type of technology is perceived, not as a dictation technology, but a genuine productivity technology that appeals to all lawyers. With the speed of communication that we see with email, texting and phone, VPT flows right along with all of that and will continue to be a bigger part of everyone’s lives as we move forward.”