Marine navigation software - Uses for speech recognition on board ships

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We have seen in our previous articles that the advances in modern technology are also affecting the shipping industry; especially the use of computers and satellite communication on ships and Internet on ships has made life much easier for the mariners. Nowadays several software applications I used to perform tasks which were traditionally carried out manually. These applications covered a wide range of tasks including marine navigation charts. We also studied about the ship simulation software in a previous article, but in this article I would like to describe a software which may not be directly related to shipping in a way, but is certainly a great software especially for the navigation people on board, so let us take a look at this software in the following sections

Speech Recognition

Navigating officers on board the ship have a lot of paperwork to do and almost all of it is done on computers these days. This paperwork could include tasks such as communicating with the company, preparing reports, communicating with the appropriate authorities and so forth. All this requires quite a lot of typing and this is mostly done by the junior navigating officers using normal PC and other marine navigation software applications.

Of course typing is not a very heavy duty task, chores least on the surface of it; but just ask a person involved in daily typing chores, and he/she would tell you how much easier their life would become if they had away to do away with this typing.

Speech recognition software is not something new and such applications have been in existence for quite some time. In fact popular operating systems such as Windows do offer an inbuilt voice recognition system which is certainly quite helpful. Yet these inbuilt applications do not match the excellence of specially developed professional software packages for voice recognition and listed below is such an application which really needs to be seen to be believed.

Dragon Naturally Speaking software application

This product has been developed by Nuance communications and is perhaps the best product in the voice recognition category. This software comes in different flavours aimed for general speech, medical speech, legal speech etc. At the time of writing this article in the latest version available in the market is number 10. The product is available for a very reasonable price in the region of hundred US dollars for the standard version, and somewhat more for the professional version.

I would certainly recommend this software to the navigating officers (engineer officers as well for that matter) has this would certainly ease a lot of burden from their shoulders (read fingers). Apart from making the individual feel relaxed, it could also act as prevention against stress injuries such as RSI.

Is it worth it?

I cannot say for sure whether you have tried out any other software package for voice recognition, but I can tell you from experience that most of the other products that I have used produced frustration rather than relaxation because of the high degree of mistakes that can make in speech recognition. It would be false to say that Dragon software is 100% accurate but I have found from experience that after you use the product for a couple of weeks, it certainly reaches the level of accuracy which is unmatched by any other current product. Hence I would certainly recommend this product to anyone on the lookout for voice recognition software