Using speech recognition in an open-plan office?
February 16, 2011 1:54 PM   Subscribe

I have a medical condition that is making it more difficult for me to type, due to muscle pain. So, I am thinking of trying a speech recognition app like Dragon Dictate. The problem is that I am in an open plan office, and I am concerned that it might not work with background noise and me whispering so as to not annoy my neighbors.

So, has anyone used a speech recognition app in a more noisy, open plan environment and can comment on how well it works or does not work?
posted by anonymous to Computers & Internet (6 answers total) 2 users marked this as a favorite
I can't directly answer your question, but if dictation software enables you to better perform your job AND if your open plan office contains any enclosed rooms AND if you are in the US you may want to work with your HR department on obtaining an Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) accommodation.

You'll need your doctor's backing, of course, but employers are required to accommodate reasonable requests of this nature.

You'll want to make sure the software works for you first - but I have known at least one person in my company who received a private office for this very reason. It wasn't a great office, mind you, but it worked for him. Good luck!
posted by m@f at 2:24 PM on February 16, 2011 [3 favorites]

I work in a doctor's office, with several physicians that use Dragon Naturally speaking (version 10). As long as you get a high quality microphone with some noise canceling, you will be fine. We are using Andrea Electronics NC-181 headsets here, they cost around $25 +tax/shipping each.

Also, I am aware of several local hospitals using Dragon in the Emergency Department. From what i hear, its working great there.
posted by aGee at 2:27 PM on February 16, 2011

I used Dragon like 10 years ago in a pretty noisy mailroom and it worked fine, as long as you used a decent headset.
posted by empath at 2:47 PM on February 16, 2011

Maybe you want a stenomask.
posted by teraflop at 3:23 PM on February 16, 2011

Keep an eye peeled for sales. Dragon often goes on sale for half price, ie, about $49. Last time I checked amazon, the previous version (v10) was < $30 and works just fine. DNS is about the only thing keeping me from going Linux full-time.
posted by wordwhiz at 4:13 PM on February 16, 2011

It works fine in a noisy environment, but as for your coworkers, for them it will be as if you are on a phone call all day long. A really weird phone call where you drone on and on odd things like "I would like to... delete to... for you to see me... select see... replace... visit..." Honestly it will probably be even more distracting if you whisper.

(At least, such was the experience when I used it after breaking my wrist last year.)

Depending on your coworkers and your office environment, they'll either just tune it out, or it will drive them mad. In which case the private office will definitely be to their benefit, not yours. (But also yours.)
posted by ErikaB at 6:28 PM on February 16, 2011

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