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Philips Releases SpeechExec Pro 8.5

From what I’ve seen so far, the latest release of Philips SpeechExec Pro is one of the most advanced voice processing solutions available. But don’t worry: it’s only as complicated as we need it to be. Philips is looking out for us, and in SpeechExec Pro version 8.5, they were careful to make sure that we can do everything we need to when it comes to moving information from spoken to written word.

In this post, I wanted to cover some of the major updates and features of the SpeechExec Pro 8.5 release, as well as address a few outlying points. Keep in mind, though, that there’s much more to be learned about Philips SpeechExec Pro v8.5 —certainly more than I could cover in one sitting.


You’re Fired

First off, take special note that Philips has moved entirely away from supporting Windows XP. They recognize that Microsoft no longer sanctions XP as a going concern in the pantheon of operating systems, and have decided to follow suit.

As they explain in their release notes, when it comes to previous versions of their SpeechExec software, Philips only supports the one just prior to the current version. That’s a convoluted way of saying SpeechExec Pro 6.x is no longer getting any tech support love from Philips. Aside from v8.5, v8.1 is now the only other supported SEP release.

It’s also important to know that if you want to use Dragon® for speech recognition in tandem with SEP 8.5, you need to be running Dragon® Naturally Speaking v12.5 (Professional, Legal) or Dragon® Medical Practice Edition 2. Any other Dragon edition just won’t do.


Tell Them What They’ve Won

As you may already be able to tell, SpeechExec Pro v8.5 has two feet firmly planted in the future. So now that you know what’s being left behind, let’s talk about what’s replacing it.

Philips SpeechExec Pro v8.5 supports:

MS Outlook 2013 (32 & 64-bit)

This is important for those of us who demand an enterprise-class experience—and who pair SEP with Outlook in order to mail dictations and transcriptions automatically.

Windows 7 and 8 (32 & 64-bit)

Caveat: Only covers Enterprise and Professional

Philips Digital Pocket Memos (DPMs) in the 6000, 7000, and 7200 Series

8000, 8200, and 8500 currently supported as of SEP v8.1

SpeechMike Premium Support

Added in SpeechExec Pro v8.1


New And Improved

Just as you would expect, there are some newfangled updates that elevate SEP v8.5 to another level of performance. Perhaps the most prominent of those is the Philips SpeechLive portal. SpeechLive, in a nutshell, is a bifurcated—yet symbiotic—cloud solution for dictation workflow and transcription.

Philips offers two services within SpeechLive—which can be purchased separately or together. SpeechDrive is a cloud storage solution where you can send or store your digital dictations, and which can be used as a server to route dictations to other destinations. You can even process them through Nuance’s premiere speech recognition software, Dragon Naturally Speaking.

On the other side of the fence, Philips offers a paid transcription service called SpeechScribe. Essentially, you upload your dictations to SpeechDrive and then press a button. They’ll go to a transcriptionist and then return to you. Simple and effective. As an added bonus, if you send a dictation that you didn’t want transcribed, there’s a two minute window in which you can undo that send.

And in other news, you are now able to “take over” a dictation file that might somehow have gotten lost in the transcription workflow or needs to be reassigned to someone else. No more transcriptionist-to-file lockdown issues.


Squeaky Wheel Gets the Grease

A new release is usually the best opportunity to introduce fixes for existing problems, and SpeechExec Pro 8.5 does not disappoint. While some of these seem a bit heady, they are dead useful. Here’s a list of the issues addressed in this version:

  • The WMA file playback problem is solved.
  • Microsoft Outlook security warnings are suppressed when sending emails from SpeechExec through Outlook.
  • There are no more limitations when using the automatic subfolder creation option in SpeechExec Dictate.
  • SpeechExec does not interact anymore with other applications using DDE. So, programs like Bank Austria Business Line software can be used while SpeechExec is running.
  • UNC Paths are now supported.
  • All recent versions of Lotus Notes are supported.


License and Registration, Please

So, this is where things get a little… mundane, let’s call it. We’re going to talk about software licensing. I know how unsexy a topic that is. Nonetheless, Philips has included two upgrades that make managing your license(s) a little easier. Who doesn’t like that?

First, they’ve introduced a license reset function, “in case the license has become corrupt.” Basically, this allows you to circumvent undue hassle and solve the problem yourself, in real time.

Second, license keys can be saved and transferred. This means you can carry them from one computer to another, as needed. Philips indicates that this feature might also come in handy if you need to do something major, like upgrade your operating system.


Installing and Upgrading SpeechExec Pro

This is the part of the presentation where you pull out the assembly instructions, grab a six pack, and invite a friend over. We’re going to cover a few of the intricacies of SEP 8.5 installation.

Right off the bat, you should know that if you’re running SpeechExec 7 or higher, you can upgrade to SpeechExec Pro v8.5 for FREE. If you’re still rockin’ SEP v4-6, it’s time to consider moving to the latest version. And by consider, I mean make room for a software refresh in the budget and go for it—the future is here, after all.

Some things to know when before the transition forward:

  • If you’re trying to use an older version of SpeechExec Pro to process dictations created with a newer version, you could run into trouble.
  • In general, Philips contraindicates operating more than one version of SpeechExec in any given environment.
  • Unless you’re currently running SEP v7.5 or higher, when upgrading SpeechExec, uninstall the old version first. See below for some special instructions on that process.
  • For users on SEP v8.1, you can use the built-in software update tool. Open SpeechExec and go to Settings > General Settings > Updates > SpeechExec.
  • SpeechExec Pro v8.5 requires Windows Media Player. It just does.
  • You’ll also need MS .NET 4.0—but don’t panic. There’s a failsafe that will install it for you if the need arises.

Known Side-Effects Include

Remember when I mentioned the special uninstall instructions?

First, make a copy of your license number(s), which can be found under Help > License Information.

Once you are fully prepped for the SEP v8.5 upgrade and ready to begin removing your old version of SpeechExec Pro (unless you have v7.5 or higher), you’ll be prompted to make a decision about retaining your personal settings. Please click “Yes.”

Insert Tab A Into Slot B

We’re almost there. Before you can double-click the .exe, you want to make sure that you have administrator rights on your computer. In Windows 7, a quick way to check is to click the Start disc and then your personal user icon (mine happens to be the robot). You should see the title “Administrator” just below your user name.

If you try to install SEP v8.5 as a non-admin, you’ll get an “ikernel” error. That’s another way to know, I suppose.

The More You Know

Finally, you’ve done the install, and you’re ready to start using SpeechExec Pro v8.5.

No you’re not.

If you recall, you needed to have administrator rights to install SEP in the first place. Now that you’ve installed it, you need to reboot your computer. You, as administrator, also need to be the first to log on.

After that, you are ready.


How Do I Upgrade?

If you are reading this and still using Philips SpeechExec version 6 or earlier, contact us. We’re happy to pair you with a certified Philips dealer in your area, because we believe you should have access to a powerful, up-to-date dictation workflow tool such as Philips SpeechExec v8.5.

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