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In 2005 I was hired by SchoolDude as a Client Adviser. Growing up in the tech support and implementation side of the business, I gained a unique appreciation for the challenges and opportunities facing facility operations professionals at schools. In 2009 the Dude created a Success Management team, where I was fortunate to lead a small team responsible for engaging clients, assessing their opportunities, and helping to maximize their investment. In 2012 started wearing two big hats - Community Engagement Manager and Chief Data Dude. Today I'm very excited to be managing our Client Support team. My passion lies in leading this team of legendary support professionals, connecting peers in SchoolDude Nation, creating a valuable Community experience, and telling stories with data that inspire success in Facility Operations.
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Currently in this department of about 70 technicians, the Action Taken field is not consistently filled in with good details regarding the work performed (this district is not unique in that regard). This means the automatic emails to customers are vague or confusing at times. Anything that could help facilitate this process would be beneficial for the customers, staff, and management.
While visiting about these concerns, I showed the team how they could use the little microphone icon when the Iphone keypad was visible, to dictate descriptions in any open text/notes field.
I could see the wheels turning as the team started thinking about the implications of this voice dictation feature. "So you mean they won't have to type in what they did to complete a job? They could just speak it into the description?"
That is correct. And while the voice dictation feature for both Apple and Android devices are not perfect, they do offer a viable alternative to typing in Action Taken descriptions. You have to get used to dictating punctuation, but once you get in the habit of that, it works pretty well. On my Iphone 5, I was able to dictate a few Action Taken descriptions without many errors:
Now the first time I dictated the initials of a name: C. Goodman, it showed up as "see. Goodman". However, when I spoke "capital C period Goodman", the text showed up properly as "C. Goodman".
Noisy conditions are another consideration for how well voice dictation works. When I tested it on my commute home with the window rolled down, again it worked surprisingly well.
No doubt there will be a learning curve and probably a few humorous translations along the way for anyone that embraces this new feature. But voice dictation offers exciting possibilities. And as the user becomes more familiar with the nuances of this feature, and as technology improves, it will should make the data entry requirements on maintenance technicians easier.
Are you or someone at your institution already leveraging voice dictation technology? Please share your experiences with us by commenting on this blog or posting to our discussion board.