Free format queries for adventure project

(web and voice operated)

Starting point

DialogueTech was approached by the fathers of an exciting venture – an effort to build a full-scale replica of an 18th century merchant ship. During the construction period and its maiden voyage - a successful trip from Sweden to China!  - the public interest was intense around the project.

As the interest exceeded all expectations the resources needed to answer questions to people who were interested in the venture exploded. The solution became an automated information system, with both a web interface and a free-format voice interface.

Setting up the service

From the outset, we gathered all the available information we could get about the ship and the planned journey – the size and weight of the ship, name of the different sails, ports that the ship would visit during the journey, etc. We then built an automated information system which could respond to questions related to our knowledge-base. The general public could reach the information through two channels:


Via a voice operated service (“call xxx-xxxxxx to ask about…..”). Answers were read to the callers.

Via a query function on the home-page

Result, experience gained

Once the system was launched on the ventures homepage, a lot of questions arrived. We had a good hit-rate from the start (> 60%) – i.e. we had reasonably well anticipated which questions we would get. After having analysed the incoming traffic we made some additions and soon reached a hit-rate of > 90% - thus giving a major relief for the venture’s customer centre