When a company's interactions with its customers via telephone
can be shown to have any amount of similarity between each telephone
call, there is opportunity for significant cost savings by using
a computer to help aid the speech aspect of that interaction.
Systems built to capture those cost savings are called "telephony"
systems. Examples are corporate help desks, reservations desks,
information lines, etc.
Telephony, then, is a fancy word for speech applications which
use the telephone as some part of the system. The use of the term
historically precedes the arrival in the marketplace of desktop
computer based dictation systems.
Telephony systems share with office dictation applications the
technological issues of dialogue design and recognition accuracy.
They add, however, the technological issues of telephone call
answering and processing and often require additional hardware
to handle that electronic environment.
Telephony systems leave a bad impression in the public mind when
little care is directed towards making life easier for the customer
but lots of effort is spent making life easier for the company
agent on the other end of the line.