Just Say It and Send It!™
A Brief History of IntoText Corp.
Innovator in Speech-originated Jobsite Communications Management
For ten years, IntoText founder and president Brig Johnson worked as an IBM manufacturing engineer and systems engineer. His tenure was at the time IBM was pioneering automated speech recognition. Brig was sure a market existed for helping people make practical use of this new technology and, in 1994, he struck out on his own to prove it.
The business Brig started came to be called "IntoText" because of the fundamental need for faster and more reliable ways of getting information into computers. Brig reasoned, “Once you got dictation accurately ‘into text,’ people could use that text for any number of productive purposes. Our mission became our name.”
While there were various ways of capturing data for the computer, Brig felt nothing was as promising as speech recognition. Crafting a workable business model for his company and perfecting a saleable product became his two main challenges.
Dictation Basics Mastered in the Medical Industry
Early "discrete speech" systems were awkward. Mid-1990s PCs were slow and not very powerful. And they were expensive. Operating systems were still evolutionary, and often unstable. Sound systems could be touchy. In the face of these daunting realities, Brig persevered. He eventually mastered speech recognition basics to the point where users could achieve accurate, useful results. That early work was mostly in the medical market, where he targeted transcription systems for doctors.
In 1997 came "large-vocabulary continuous speech recognition." This meant speech-recognition users could speak “naturally” for the first time, in their own cadence, without pausing awkwardly between words. And at the same time, they could achieve improved speech-to-text accuracy. Brig recalls, “IntoText harnessed these improvements quickly and we expanded our work to include law enforcement agencies. But there were still issues with inadequate performance of PC hardware, and speech recognition accuracy still had room for improvement.”
Filling In Forms a Key Challenge
By working with detectives completing investigative reports and with doctors filling out new patient and exam documents, IntoText came to understand and respond to the need for a portable speech recognition system that would fill in forms reliably and accurately.
“We figured, anyone sitting at a computer all day could correct speech software errors onscreen quickly and easily,” Brig remembers. “But these law enforcement and medical professionals were mobile, on the go all the time. They couldn’t sit at desks. They had to dictate to recorders on the fly and then find some way to deal with the data later.”
Filling out forms or making sure stenographers did it right, rather than getting their important work done, was distracting and frustrating for these professionals. Brig explains, “They just wanted to do their jobs. They needed to just say it, and be done with it, all in one simple step. We decided to create an automated system that would let them do that quickly and accurately, time after time.”
Digital Voice Recorders an Answer
Brig set about creating a brand new tool for filling in forms and settled on digital recorder-based dictation. Initial efforts involved harvesting digitally recorded information from doctors. This led to the company’s first breakthrough: IntoText DirectiveDictate®, launched in 2002. This provided doctors with the first successful way to use the text created through their dictation to fill in forms. DirectiveDictate soon proved out in real-world tests, and IntoText was on its way with its first commercial product.
Enter the Builders
The following year, Jack Butcher, a builder in Boca Raton, FL, needed a replacement for Dragon NaturallyOrganized, a package that channeled dictation from a digital recorder into Symantec's ACT! software.
As a production builder, Jack had fashioned a way to manage punch item details by voice, and Dragon Systems had decided to stop development after Version 4. Jack shotgunned a plea for support to the various speech recognition resellers in Florida and beyond. Everyone responded that making "commands" work on a digital recorder was a lost cause--Dragon had tried and given up. Everyone but Brig.
Brig recognized an ideal use for his form-processing solution, and he figured that collecting information about construction problems (punch lists) was much like gathering data about patients. “Both needed prompt ‘treatment’ for their ‘symptoms.’ So, we set about adapting our DirectiveDictate technology for use by builders.”
Brig soon met another builder – Robert Ratliff of Austin, TX. Robert was determined to use speech recognition to streamline his daily project management. He was already using Dragon NaturallySpeaking® and generating volumes of text every day. Robert longed for a fast, computerized way to process and report all his information daily, but there was nothing “out there.”
BuilderWerks Born of a Working Builder’s Needs
Robert’s earnest pursuit of a speech-to-text solution convinced Brig that the market for his solution was real; maybe even bigger than he’d originally thought. He and Robert started collaborating, and by the fall of 2003 they had their first experimental system. It allowed Robert to capture the basic information in processable form on his digital voice recorder, on the fly, with great accuracy.
For three years, Brig responded to Robert’s evolving and increasingly demanding requirements. Refinement after refinement occurred. Together, they worked toward the BuilderWerks protocol: simple to use, yet fast and accurate at processing and reporting builders’ dictated instructions.
Improved Productivity, Customer Service, and a Better Bottom Line
In June, 2006, BuilderWerks made its debut at the Southern Building Show in Atlanta and IntoText started to build a customer base. By continuing to respond to the variety of needs expressed by new customers and developing better ways of teaching users how to get the most out of BuilderWerks, IntoText is now proud to offer a comprehensive competitive advantage for builders, delivering improved productivity, higher levels of customer service, and increased profitability.
All the advantages of IntoText’s years of research and refinement are yours in the latest versions of the BuilderWerks voice-activated jobsite communication management systems.
Dial 813-968-2972 or click here to write us now to find out how much time and money BuilderWerks will save you.
“Your word should be good enough,” Brig observes. “Now, it is.”