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Accomplishing critical tasks with a seamless voice solution

The facts

The customer
Port Huron Police Department, Michigan, USA
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Philips partner
VarTec, LLC
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Located at the southern end of Lake Huron, Port Huron is a small Michigan town whose law enforcement organization encompasses a large scope of responsibilities in serving its community. The Port Huron Police Department comprises 70 employees across many different departments and functions: In addition to officers and transcriptionists, its staff includes the detective bureau, cadet, major crimes, and administrative departments. To support the wide variety of roles and functions and the need to focus on their critical work (not the technology that supports it), the Port Huron Police Department needs voice solutions that are robust, intuitive, and flexible.

When new needs outgrow old tools

Port Huron had been longtime users of Winscribe dictation solutions, first using specially dedicated digital recording devices then moving to its smartphone app. While the features of the solution itself met the needs of the Police Department, using Winscribe was cumbersome as their IT infrastructure was not open to the cloud.

One major issue that resulted from this, for example, was that once an author recorded a dictation, the smartphone had to physically be within the building to upload the file. In this busy law enforcement organization, this sometimes led to frustrating inefficiencies – staffers having to hunt down high-priority jobs that authors had forgotten to upload before leaving the building, and other delays related to these manual handoffs. Further, an administrative development arose, necessitating a change in voice solutions. Winscribe was no longer going to be supported, which meant losing features such as troubleshooting, assistance with upgrades, and more. The Police Department would need to find a new option that met their functional needs and come with the appropriate help, guidance, and maintenance when needed.

The evolution to SpeechLive has been extremely smooth, and accomplished with very minimal training.

Gale Kicinski
Records Administrative Supervisor, Port Huron Police Department

A familiar…but finessed…solution Gale Kicinski is the Port Huron Police Department Records Administrative Supervisor, and has been with the organization for more than 32 years. Her extensive experience and tenure with the organization gave her first-hand insight into the various needs and types of projects required for different roles. She knew they needed a solution that was seamless and easy to adopt for officers in the field and the other types of authors using dictation technology. But the solution would also need to enable her team of seven transcriptionists to efficiently handle the varied and diverse projects that came their way.

Following extensive research, Kicinski found that many offerings only did speech to text, which would not meet the needs of her organization as they had too many variables (different use cases, authors, procedural workflows, and types of documentation) to accommodate. The editing capabilities of the solution the Police Department chose, Philips SpeechLive, made it a standout among other options.

Without SpeechLive’s full suite of features, it would often take the transcriptionists longer to listen to and edit a recording – and correct the ensuing errors – than it would to completely type the dictation manually, word for word. This was obviously not a productive or sustainable way to handle the volumes of work coming through the department. Further, the solution’s ability to upload and access dictations in near real-time meant there were no delays or backlogs for transcriptionists waiting for authors to return to the office.

Functional similarity between SpeechLive and Winscribe also enabled a smooth transition across the entire workstream. In addition to ease of use for those in the field, there was consistency with the transcription aspect of the solutions, and the apps had parallel features. Because any user-interface differences in moving from Winscribe to SpeechLive were cosmetic, the new solution was familiar enough to be quickly useful for all users, but with the added benefit of delivering a significant upgrade to workstream efficiency. Last but certainly not least, SpeechLive delivered improved audio clarity, which made it much easier for transcriptionists to quickly and accurately complete projects.

Results that “speak” for themselves

Kicinski reports that the evolution to SpeechLive has been extremely smooth, and accomplished with very minimal training. Cloud enablement has been an especially significant benefit of the move to SpeechLive. For example, the instantaneous download has helped move files through various workstreams faster, and in many cases, officers had their voice notes converted to transcribed files before even returning to the station and finishing their shift.

Additionally, on the administrative side, filing and referencing recordings is a much more organized undertaking. SpeechLive automatically names recorded files according to the officer completing the dictation, which has helped immensely with in streamlining the Police Department’s reference and record-keeping processes. If anyone on the team needs to search for a particular recording, it’s easy to pinpoint the requisite file instead of searching for a needle in a haystack. Ultimately, this helps them keep up with regulations on deadlines for filing reports need to be filed, so they can stay procedurally compliant.

The bottom line

In this line of work, “no news is good news,” and Kicinski considers it a huge success that the adoption of SpeechLive has gone so smoothly (she quips that it was almost a non-event). With satisfied users across the department, and improved performance on all aspects of voice capture and processing, it’s safe to say that the move has been a win-win for this hardworking, multi-faceted law enforcement organization.

More satisfied customers

“SpeechLive has benefited me in terms of time savings. I’ve been using it for a while now. It fits all my needs in terms of my schedule and my style of work, and I would recommend it to other educators to take advantage of it.“

John Stewart, Head of Preparatory School, Prince Alfred College

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“Lockdown prompted the change, but the versatility offered by SpeechLive is something we didn’t know we were missing.“

Adrian Barker, IT Manager, Ison Harrison Solicitors, UK

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“In terms of security, the software is hosted on-premise and so are the dictations. Patient privacy is a big priority for us and it’s important that we keep their data safe.“

Tammy Bands, IT Manager of Orthopaedics SA

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“It’s pleasant to be able to safely say that you can gain in productivity when you lose lots of time on administration. With SpeechLive, we gain medical time. It was our initial aim, and we have largely achieved it!“

Dr. Romain Guldmann, ENT and head and neck surgeon

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