WORKPLACE / AUG. 20, 2014
version 4, draft 4

Increasing Productivity with Audio Data Mining

So you’re the typical owner of a business in the 21st century and you’ve been making a concerted effort toward using technology to mine data as an effective means for increasing productivity. All that data flowing freely through the internet, ripe for the mining. But are you mining all the data that you could be? More to the point: what kind of data readily available to increase productivity is zooming right past you every single day? Multiple times a day?  

How about all that information that never makes it into the billions and billions of bits of code you are mining from the internet?   

What kind of immediately valuable data you could be using to make your business more productive gets lost in the ether of the spoken word? Telephone conversations. Meetings. Seminars. Employee interviews. Training sessions. Video archives. What if you had been mining for marketing keywords in a spoken conversation the same way you’ve been mining data from internet text the past year? How would such illuminating intelligence have contributed to strategic planning? What kind of productivity gains could you have experienced over the past twelve months and where would your company be positioned relative to your current state?    

Identifying and retrieving repetitive words, phrases and even more vaguelydefined concepts from text files traces back to the beginning of that most wonderful tool for business productivity we called the internet. Today, every company from a sole proprietorship to a global conglomerate recognizes the value of sifting through all that text for the kind of demographic enlightenment that unimaginable not that very long ago. 

An even shorter time ago required the investment of significant time and labor to procure the same amount of data from audio recordings.  First, of course, those spoken words had to be recorded. Then the recording had to be transcribed. Essentially, audio data mining was really indistinguishable from text-based mining with the exceptions of taking longer and costing more. Those bad old days are long gone. If you are not recording every single word related to your business that you can (while remaining within the confines of legality), then you are basically throwing away opportunities to increase productivity outside the possibilities of companies with very small budgets as recently as the early 21st century.  

The problems with unreliable speech recognition technology are over for the purposes of most businesses today. The unreliability of human intervention in the process of digging for keywords and useful phrases buried audio recordingsare virtually obsolete thanks to advancements in technology that allows text-based queries to identify any term found in an audio file. 

It would be difficult to come up with any field in which a business owner could not find a way to use audio data mining technology for the purpose of increasing productivity. Keep track of any mention of your company in a radio or television news story. Use the ability to identify timestamps to determine patterns of behavior among your workers or customers. Create extensive indices to let you instantly identify keywords related to real-time tracking of trending interests which you can then almost instantly exploit for the sake of productivity in social media marketing.  

If your particular industry is still highly dependent on hours and hours of audio recordings--whether from telephone calls to your customer service center or the audio tracks of video feeds--the ability to mine your extensive catalog of recordings has a value beyond compare. Even if your dependency upon audio recordings is not that extensive, you are likely to discover your catalog is more extensive and valuable than you think.

Image Source: Tracking the Trackers

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