Hi everyone, I was just able to obtain some of the promotional material on the latest version of Dragon Naturally Speaking version 10. My first posting will be about the differences between the preferred version and the professional version. Hope this wets your appetite for more.
Which Product is right for you?
While all products within the Dragon NaturallySpeaking family offer the same speed, accuracy and ease of use, each edition is designed to meet the needs of a specific user. Dragon NaturallySpeaking Preferred is ideal for small business users and PC enthusiasts, but only Dragon NaturallySpeaking Professional offers the network features and advanced capabilities required for corporate enterprise deployments.
Enterprise features not included in Dragon NaturallySpeaking Preferred include:
Natural Language Commands for Microsoft Outlook, Excel, PowerPoint and Lotus Notes
Dragon Voice Shortcuts for Email and Calendar
Automation of Complex or Repetitive Tasks With Voice Commands
Fully Network Compatible for Multiple Users (including the ability to support a user working on multiple workstations with a single user profile)
Central Network Administration Tools
Advanced Security Features for Enterprise Deployments
Section 508 Certification
The benefits of these key features for corporate deployments are outlined below.
Natural Language Commands
Natural Language Commands allow users to avoid the multiple menu-selection and mouse-movement steps associated with the traditional Microsoft Windows interface. Instead of requiring users to memorize a specific command, such as “bold that,” Natural Language Commands recognize a wide variety of ways in which a user may issue a command: “Make that bold,” “Bold the last paragraph,” “Set font bold” will all accomplish the same task, as will many more conversational commands. Dragon NaturallySpeaking recognizes hundreds of thousands of ways in which a person could issue a command; however, the user only needs to say what comes naturally.
Since Dragon NaturallySpeaking Preferred is intended for individuals who tend not to use Microsoft Outlook and Microsoft Excel, it does not include Natural Language Commands for these programs. To most enterprise users, who rely on these programs to complete daily tasks, the lack of common commands becomes frustrating as they expect the same level of convenience and ease of use across all of the applications that they use.
The Professional edition offers full support for Microsoft Outlook, Microsoft Excel and Lotus Notes for enhanced ease of use. Preferred users can still perform all actions by voice in these programs — although it will take extra steps, including navigating menus and dialogs.
Dragon Voice Shortcuts for Email and Calendar
Both Preferred and Professional offer Dragon Voice Shortcuts, the new feature that collapses common multi-step tasks into direct voice commands. With Dragon Voice Shortcuts for Web and Desktop Search, users can search the Web or a specific Web site for information, products, videos, images and more with a single voice command such as, ““Search the Web for financial management resources.Ã¢â‚¬Â But only Dragon Professional extends this convenient feature to email and calendar entry.
At any time, no matter what is active on the screen, a user can automatically create and address an email. For example, if a user is reviewing a Web site and finds some statistics that he wants to share with colleagues, he simply says, ““Send email to Jon Smith and Raphael Sanchez,Ã¢â‚¬Â and Dragon will activate his email program, create a new email and enter the appropriate contact names in the ““To:Ã¢â‚¬Â box. Similarly, a command to ““Schedule meeting with Jon Smith and Raphael Sanchez,Ã¢â‚¬Â sparks Dragon to jumpstart the process by opening a new calendar entry in Outlook and adding to it the selected contact(s) or contact lists.
Automation of complex or repetitive document creation tasks
Both products have the ability to turn talk into text, but only Dragon Professional has the ability to fundamentally improve workflow. How? It’s about automating manual processes with simple voice commands to streamline repetitive tasks.
For example, a repetitive task at Farmers Insurance was reduced from four minutes to 20 seconds by automating the process with voice commands using Dragon Professional. Since Dragon Preferred is intended for individual users and does not include functionality designed for enterprise users, that level of productivity simply isn’t possible without Dragon Professional.
Preferred enables users to save time by inserting short text and graphics (such as a signature or boilerplate) into a document with simple voice commands Ã¢â‚¬” rather than dictating or typing it over and over again. But only Professional offers complete support of macros. This means Professional users can create simple voice commands that are used to speed the creation of documents or perform repetitive tasks.
DragonTemplates with Voice Fields.
Users can easily create document templates that can be filled out by. Users can create custom commands so that Dragon will insert specific text, formatted text, images — or combination of all three Ã¢â‚¬” into a document when the user issues the command. Users now have the opportunity to include Voice Fields in these Text and Graphics commands. Voice Fields are variable fields in Text and Graphics commands where the user can later type or dictate a specific value. For example, you can create a Text and Graphic command named “Client Wait Time” that includes the following text:
The average wait time for [default value] was approximately [default value].
The user simply states ““client wait time,Ã¢â‚¬Â and the text appears in the active window on the screen. The user then completes the fields by navigating the open fields with ““next variableÃ¢â‚¬Â or ““previous variableÃ¢â‚¬Â commands.
- Macro recorder:
Dragon “records” a user’s mouse and keyboard strokes and movements. Users can then give this macro a command name to initiate it. Every time a user says this command with Dragon Professional, the computer will repeat the exact mouse movements and keyboard strokes that were previously recorded.
- Step by Step Macros.
These macros allow users to build keyboard shortcut commands without having to know how to write Visual Basic. Dragon Professional allows users to choose different keyboard combinations for the purpose of completing different tasks. Specifically, the Step by Step dialog box allows users to activate menu and keystroke commands that control applications. Each step of the command can type text, press a keyboard key, open an application, or turn the microphone on or off. This is useful for controlling applications and for multistep tasks.
- Advanced Scripting.
Using Visual Basic, Dragon Professional user can custom build macros to complete virtually any task that would normally be completed with the keyboard and mouse. The benefit is the ability to build macros to complete repeatable tasks that would normally take multiple keyboard combinations and mouse clicks. Users can create commands with complex lists and variables as well.
For example, consider an employee that creates documents or reports every day, several times a day, that are emailed to a certain person or persons as well as sent via fax. A Dragon Professional user can build a single command that saves the file, sends it to the email recipients, and faxes the document to the appropriate number. These are all things that the user would already be able to do on his computer, but the task would take far less time with the ability to build a voice command to automate the task and streamline the overall workflow.
Centralized Network Administration
Since Dragon Preferred is not designed for enterprise use, it doesn’t include centralized tools for IT administration. Installing and managing Dragon Professional from a central network location enables system administrators to:
create and manage installations and user profiles over a network
distribute customized vocabularies and commands automatically
automatically synchronize updates and changes via a variety of communication protocols
perform system backups
Dragon Professional offers administrative tools that enable enterprise users to share custom vocabularies and macros across multiple users. For example, the administrator can use vocabulary enhancements made by one individual in his own profile and let other users benefit from these enhancements. Updates of shared vocabularies can be pushed to multiple end-users automatically. This eliminates the time-consuming task of entering new words and pronunciations one at a time on each end-user’s machine. The administrator can also schedule the Acoustic and Language Optimizer for the network of users, a valuable but often overlooked tool to increase a user’s overall accuracy.
A centralized network allows multiple users to discover best practices and quickly and easily share them across the user community. It also fosters the creation of an Intranet ““Dragon Information CenterÃ¢â‚¬Â to post specific demos, tips & tricks, FAQs, sample word lists and commands, a ““suggestion boxÃ¢â‚¬Â and more.
Only Dragon Professional offers the Roaming User feature, which lets users dictate with Dragon NaturallySpeaking from different network locations using a variety of computing devices without having to create and train individual user files at each location.
Each user has a unique profile which is created and updated by Dragon. This profile contains things such as the user’s macros and customized vocabulary as well as learned information about the way the person speaks (says certain words, vocal accent, the acoustics of the recording devices they use, etc.). With the Professional version, the administrator can configure Dragon to allow that profile to reside on the network. From there, the user can retrieve and use their profile on any PC that has Dragon running just by opening their profile. Likewise, someone such as a secretary or assistant can use that profile to perform edits on a document created by the user or they can use the profile to convert a recording into text and then perform edits to the resulting document. The key to it all is that when changes occur to the user profile, they get properly updated to the centrally located profile, all occurring automatically by the Roaming Profile feature.
For example, a user within a corporate deployment may use the same laptop at multiple offices and at home. Whether at the office or on a laptop at home, the user dictates and corrects as they normally would. When he returns to the office, the user reconnects the laptop to the network and the Roaming User feature synchronizes the updated user profile on the laptop with those at the network’s central location.
Advanced Security Features
Dragon Professional enables administrators to restrict access to specific features on a user-by-user basis. Version 10 offers configuration options that provide administrators with even better control of Dragon in the enterprise. For example, Dragon 10 offers a command-line utility to let Value Added Resellers and IT departments encrypt custom commands before distributing them. Dragon 10 also allows the ability to Control the access to VBA-style custom commands.
Dragon Professional is fully functional in a Citrix environment. While a Preferred user can dictate into an application that is sitting on a Citrix server, he will not be able to use voice to issue commands, correct recognition errors, etc. This limits the core accuracy capabilities of Dragon, since making corrections is critical to improving accuracy.
To work properly, Dragon needs to be installed on the server side. Dragon Professional can be loaded on a Citrix server and has special code that properly interacts with Citrix Ã¢â‚¬” enabling the full array of Dragon features.
Section 508 Certification
In 1998, Congress amended the Rehabilitation Act to require Federal agencies to make their electronic and information technology accessible to people with disabilities. Section 508 was enacted to eliminate barriers in information technology, to make available new opportunities for people with disabilities, and to encourage development of technologies that will help achieve these goals. The law applies to all Federal agencies when they develop, procure, maintain, or use electronic and information technology. Under Section 508, agencies must give disabled employees and members of the public access to information that is comparable to the access available to others.
Organizations planning to offer speech recognition technology to employees as an assistive technology require a tool that meets the rigorous standards defined by the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA). Only Dragon NaturallySpeaking 10 Professional is Section 508 certified.