The Olympus Directrec Range, as supplied by Accuro, has won the Editor’s Choice Award from BusinessInfo.
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Olympus Christian Salza is confident of continued growth in the digital dictation market as more people switch from analogue to digital devices.
At the recent launch of the Olympus Directrec range of dictation microphones, Business Info quizzed Christian Salza, Head of Business Unit Audio, about the challenges and opportunities in today’s dictation market.
Although the industry remains dependent on its traditional customer base in the legal, medical and property/surveyor markets, Salza says he is confident of continued growth for Olympus Professional Dictation Systems.
“If you look at GfK figures, the digital dictation market in Western Europe is growing at a unit rate of almost 10%. There’s still a lot of analogue devices in the market: we believe more than 50% of users are still using analogue and my estimate is that 75% of units out there are analogue, so there is still growth potential in the switch from analogue to digital” he said.
“The other reason why digital dictation has a future is speech recognition, which enables users to save time and be more efficient. If employees with big salaries – lawyers, for example – can have their dictation transcribed by software, their productivity increases tremendously.”
“In addition to these general market trends, Salza said that Olympus would continue to strengthen its offering in specific sectors, e.g. dictation microphones, which would enable it to increase its market share at the expense of competitors.”
“Olympus is leading the consumer market in Europe, with a market share of 45-50% by unit. Our professional dictation market share is lower because you have to differentiate between portables where we have a 35-40% share and USB mikes like the new Directrec, where our market share is much lower but where we believe we can make big inroads because the new product is really strong.”
One cloud on the horizon is the threat posed by smartphones, which can be used to record and submit dictation while on the move. With a DragonNaturallySpeaking app, it is also possible to convert speech into documents, email and text messages on the smartphone itself. A new Dragon Remote Mic app even lets users of Dragon NaturallySpeaking 11.5 Premium use an iPhone, iPod touch or iPad as a wireless microphone for dictating to or controlling a PC over a Wi-Fi connection. Salza concedes that digital dictation devices are in competition with smartphones, but argues that the latter don’t have the sorts of features demanded by professional users.
“For example, there isn’t a slide switch on a smartphone: that’s a differentiator,” he said. “Another is the microphone technology. On a smartphone, this has to make the voice clear and transport it in a very compressed way, whereas we can optimise the microphone for automatic voice recognition, not cellphones. Our new generation of microphones are designed in such a way that they are optimised both for transcription by a human and electronic voice recognition.”
Over and above this specific threat, Salza points to the need to extend dictation’s appeal. “The challenge we have is that people are not used to dictating any more. We have to get people to learn how to dictate. Dictation feels very old school, but really it’s about speed, efficiency and cost savings,” he said.
And in that context, digital dictation has arguably never been more relevant to the needs of business than it is today.