In 2014, Grundig Business Systems GmbH (GBS), one of the global leaders in supplying professional dictation systems, is celebrating the 60th anniversary of the Stenorette. The analogue dictation device was first launched in 1954 and has been sold – through many generations – almost 4.5 million times. “Because of its green color, the first Stenorette got the nickname \’tree frog\‘. It quickly became a great commercial success and a synonym for modern office equipment,” says GBS Managing Director Roland Hollstein.

While the first Stenorette weighed about 5.8 kilograms, the device has become more portable over time, and finally, in 1984, Grundig developed the brand’s first truly hand-held dictation device, the Stenorette 2080. Today\’s versions of the popular dictation device, such as the Stenorette Sh 24, only weigh 210 grams and can easily be taken anywhere, so that dictations can be made on the go. “But of course there are still the classic analogue desktop devices – for both recording and playback. Thanks to their quality and robustness, they enjoy great popularity,” says Hollstein. The Stenorette is still produced, “made in Germany”, at GBS headquarters in Bayreuth. “We guarantee that we will supply our customers with Stenorettes, accessories, and spare parts for years to come,” says Hollstein. Despite increasing digitalisation in the field of dictation devices, GBS produces Steno cassettes in the high six figures each year, for example.

Black wins the survey
In a recently completed internet survey on concerning the preferred colour of Stenorette desktop devices, black was the clear winner. “Black is a trendy colour, even in the office, and it will remain that way,” says Hollstein. In reaction to the survey results, GBS is adjusting its product range just in time for the anniversary celebrations. The first Stenorettes, such as the St 3210 and St 3211, have already been changed from Corona Silver to black and are available in GBS\’s on-line shop. The transition of further Stenorettes to black will follow shortly.

The future belongs to speech recognition
“Although the demand for analogue dictation solutions continues, digitalisation is increasing rapidly. Recently we have noticed a special interest in speech recognition,” Hollstein says. In this area, he goes on, the technology has continued to develop. “Today\’s recognition rates are many times better than they were five years ago,” says Hollstein. GBS is also investing in this technology and offers sets consisting of dictation hardware and speech recognition software. For physicians and attorneys, speech recognition software is available with specialised medical or legal vocabulary.

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