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Advertisers in this issue include:
Clarity, VoiceGenie Technologies, Inc., Phone-Or.Ltd. and SpeechTEK 2001

Today’s Stories

SpeechTEK 2001:
Ü SpeechTEK 2001 To Honor Top Ten Leaders in Speech
Ü Linguistics Expert Predicts Voice Technology Will Play Pivotal Role in Spotting Terrorists
Products and Partnerships:
Ü @Road Launches Voice-Enabled Solution for Mobile Resource Management
Ü Audiopoint Partners With NetBase Corporation on Time, Tracking System
Ü Cambridge VoiceTech Releases Complete VoiceXML Solution for Windows NT
Ü CompUSA, Inc. Signs Nationwide Agreement With ArialPhone Corp.
Ü eScription Announces Brigham and Women’s Hospital Implements eScription’s Products
Ü Fonix Introduces Speech Applications for Pocket PC 2002
Ü General Magic and OceanLake Voice-Enable Financial Web Application
Ü Voice Recognition Software From IBM Powers Speech-Enabled Handheld Computer
Ü Indicast Selects Televigation’s Location-Based Services
Ü InfoTalk Becomes Singapore’s Infocomm LIUP Partner to Promote Speech Understanding Technology in the Infocomm Industry
Ü InterVoice-Brite Launches Speech Usability Testing Lab
Ü LogicTree Licenses VoxLinx Mobile Multi-Modal Technology
Ü NMS Communications, ECT Pass Rigorous British Telecom Testing
Ü Nuance Speech Recognition Software Automates Hotel Booking Process for lastminute.com
Ü Phonetic Systems and Synamics Partner to Deliver Comprehensive Suite of Voice-Enabled Solutions
Ü Travelers Can Now Receive Voice Messages for Delayed, Cancelled Flights with Enhanced Flight Notification Tool on Sabre Virtually There
Ü University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center at Dallas Speech Enables Campus Directory to Aid Callers
Ü Tellabs Unveils Echol Canceller that Combines Two Network Operations
Ü VoiceGenie Announces Rich VoiceXML Call Blending Features to Power Unified Messaging Applications
Ü Security and Identification Application Announced by Wizzard Software Corporation
Financial News:
Ü Automated Speech Enhances Customer Experience, Increases ROI of Multimedia Call Centers, According to The Kelsey Group
Ü Government Program Provides Funding For Early Stage Research
Ü Appriss Named One of Top Ten Companies to Watch by Federal Computer Week Magazine

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Clarity introduces…
SpeechTEK 2001; Booth #2007


SpeechTEK 2001 to Honor Top Ten Leaders in Speech

Poll Identifies the Most Influential People in the Speech Technology Industry

LEXINGTON, KY -- An online poll conducted by Speech Technology Magazine has identified ten individuals as the industry’s top leaders in 2001.  The Speech Leaders Summit Awards will be recognized at this year’s SpeechTEK 2001 Exposition and Conference, October 24-26, at the New York Hilton during the opening reception Thursday, October 25, at 5:30 PM. 

The 2001 recipients of the Speech Leader Summit Awards are (in alphabetical order):

  • Ronald Croen, co-founder and CEO, Nuance Communications

  • William (Bill) H. Gates, chairman and chief software architect, Microsoft

  • Dr. Ray Kurzweil, principal developer of numerous applications in artificial intelligence, speech recognition, and reading technology

  • Dr. John A. Oberteuffer, CTO and director, Fonix

  • W.S. “Ozzie” Osborne, General Manager, IBM Voice Systems

  • Stuart R. Patterson, CEO, SpeechWorks International

  • Michael S. Phillips, co-founder and CTO, SpeechWorks International

  • Dr. Thomas B. Schalk, speech applications consultant

  • Dr. Bill Scholz, Director of Engineering, Unisys

  • Dr. Victor Zue, professor of electrical engineering and computer science, MIT

Nominations were accepted online beginning in February 2001, with the 56 people receiving the most nominations placed on the final ballot. Visitors to Speech Technology Magazine’s web site, www.speechtechmag.com voted in the poll between May 15 and June 30. 

Information for this story was gathered from SpeechTEK 2001.

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Linguistics Expert Predicts Voice Technology Will Play Pivotal Role in Spotting Terrorists

New Sequence Packaging Tool Can Speed Up Data Analysis

LEXINGTON, KY -- Even when law enforcement officials are able to listen in on the conversations of suspected terrorists and other criminals, wading through the massive amount of data collected from those conversations is an enormous task.  Linguistics expert

Dr. Amy Neustein predicts that a new voice technology tool called Sequence Package Analysis will play a key role in making the job easier.

Dr. Neustein, president and Founder of Linguistic Technology Systems, is participating in a panel discussion on this and other issues during the October 24-26 SpeechTEK 2001 Exposition and Conference ( www.speechtechmag.com ) at the New York Hilton.  (Why Linguistics is Important, Friday, October 26, 11:00 AM) 

On the panel with Dr. Neustein are Dr. Madeleine Bates, senior program manager, BBN Technologies; Dr. Deborah Dahl, manager, advanced development, Natural Language Business Initiative, Unisys; Dr, Judith J. Markowitz, president, J. Markowitz Consultants; and moderator Dr. Kurt Godden, director of Linguistics, JustTalk, Inc.

In an article published recently in the March issue of the International Journal of Speech Technology, (“Using Sequence Package Analysis to Improve Natural Language Understanding,” Vol. 4, Issue 1, pp. 31-44) Dr. Neustein described how sequence package data can be mapped into algorithms.  Sequence packages are a series of related language construction units that make up either single or multiple episodes of talk.  Sequence packages such as an unusually high incidence of pronoun usage occurring in certain portions of the dialogue may indicate familiar and well-rehearsed subject matter, which can serve as possible clues of terrorist plans and activities.  This sequence package approach represents a novel way of analyzing wiretap communications because it does NOT necessarily require the spotting of “key” words, which has traditionally been the approach to analyzing communications.  Understandably, terrorists or other criminals would refrain from using “key” words that are likely to raise alarm or suspicion.

While the most urgent application would be national security, Dr. Neustein says the technology can be readily used in the private sector for call centers, voice portals, and embedded speech products.

In its seventh year, SpeechTEK brings leaders in speech technology together with business and governmental decision-makers, developers, integrators, engineers, investors and analysts – virtually everyone with an interest in speech technology applications.  All participants, whether from inside or outside the speech technology industry, get the opportunity to share knowledge, create partnerships, sell products and propose solutions for improving products via speech technology.

SpeechTEK Exposition and Educational Conference is the world's largest trade show and conference dedicated to speech technology and all of its applications in the global marketplace – reaching thousands of participants with information on the products, technologies and innovations affecting the emerging speech technology industry.

Information for this story was gathered from SpeechTEK 2001.

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@Road Launches Voice-Enabled Solution for Mobile Resource Management

FREMONT, CA -- @Road (SM) announced the launch of @Road Voice Solutions, a voice portal technology that the company says enables subscribers to use any phone—wired or wireless—to access @Road LocationSmart(SM) services.  With Voice Solutions, subscribers can now execute voice commands over the telephone to link to the @Road LocationSmart network in order to manage their mobile resources. To access the Voice Solutions interface, subscribers dial a 10-digit number, and then enter their PIN, which connects them to their @Road account information including the location of their mobile workers.

“We have integrated voice technology into the @Road platform so that we may offer our subscribers yet another innovative, cost-effective tool for more efficient management of their mobile workforces,” said Krish Panu, @Road president and CEO. “The ability to use Voice Solutions to access mission-critical information from any phone, regardless of location, will free @Road subscribers from having to be tied to a computer and Web browser, giving them greater control and flexibility in managing field operations.”

@Road developed this solution in conjunction with Blue Wireless, a provider of voice and mobile data application software. “We are very excited to help @Road add this enhanced functionality to the @Road FleetASAP(SM) application,” said Linda Standen, CEO at Blue Wireless.

Information for this story was gathered from @Road and Blue Wireless. 

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Audiopoint Partners With NetBase Corporation On Time, Attendance Tracking System

CHANTILLY, VA -- NetBase Corporation, a workforce management software development company, announced that it has formed a strategic partnership with Audiopoint to introduce a speech enabled Web-based time and attendance tracking system. 

“NetBase has always had a focus on proactive technology that allows real-time delivery of information,” said Will Dantzler, president and CEO of NetBase.  “The Audiopoint technology is a significant evolutionary step that provides a very efficient and natural delivery mechanism for our easyTIMESHEET product. The speech enabling technology of Audiopoint will definitely improve the current workflow and data collection process with an intuitive approach that works well over the telephone.”

Audiopoint’s speech enablement of the NetBase easyTIMESHEET will allow users, managers, and administrators to perform all time and attendance operations to facilitate the management of staff and personnel via the telephone by simply using their voice to answer a brief series of questions. Features include a list of preferences and enhancements that allow users to meet their specific business needs. 

“Audiopoint’s technology is a logical advancement for increasing the scope and delivery of NetBase’s easyTIMESHEET,” said Brian L. Lichorowic, president and CEO of Audiopoint. “The merging of speech technology with cutting-edge resource management techniques is the next evolutionary step for time and attendance tracking, providing NetBase with a clear advantage over their nearest competition and supporting the viability of automatic speech recognition in everyday business.”

Information for this story was gathered from Audiopoint and NetBase Corporation.  

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Cambridge VoiceTech Releases Complete VoiceXML Solution for Windows NT

RESTON, VA -- Cambridge VoiceTech announced the release of Cambridge Voice Gateway, a compliant, scalable Windows NT VoiceXML platform for speech recognition and advanced voice automation applications.

“Cambridge Voice Gateway represents a quantum leap into the new world of VoiceXML,” said Lou Abbruzzesi, the company’s CTO. “This is the first truly complete, truly scalable VoiceXML solution for Windows NT, designed and built to host carrier-class, high-volume commercial telephony applications. We believe it marks the beginning of a new era in speech application development.”

As a complete implementation of VoiceXML — the new industry standard language for advanced speech technologies — the company says Cambridge Voice Gateway provides a versatile platform for a wide range of enterprise applications utilizing today’s speech recognition, text-to-speech, and voice authentication engines, Abbruzzesi said. 

“Our Windows NT gateway will put these powerful, money-saving voice automation technologies within reach of many, many more firms than are using them now,” Abbruzzesi said. “Returns on investment from the new speech technologies can be truly astounding. But until now, the development and deployment of speech applications was usually a terrible chore. Our open-standards VoiceXML gateway tremendously speeds and simplifies the development process.”

Applications that until recently took four to six months to develop can be developed and deployed on Cambridge Voice Gateway in as little as four to six weeks, he said.

“Companies can get complete payback on new systems in a matter of a few months and real returns on investment within the first year,” he noted.  “By combining advanced speech recognition technologies with an open standards architecture, we transform the ordinary telephone into a powerful transaction tool every bit as versatile as, and significantly more convenient than, the web,” he added. “Our automated voice interface overcomes most of the traditional problems of telephone-driven customer interaction.” Firms deploying the new speech technologies can save up to 90 percent per interaction via speech automation, Abbruzzesi said.

“Our VoiceXML architecture permits us to rapidly customize solutions tailored precisely to our customers’ needs,” said Abbruzzesi. “We also have also built some superior tools of integration to link the VoiceXML presentation layer to web, data, and legacy systems. As a member of the XML family, VoiceXML is a powerful integration tool. We can pull together a firm’s disparate data resources and customer channels to provide a truly unified solution for customer or supplier

Cambridge Voice Gateway incorporates speech processing engines including SpeechWorks’ recently released OSR speech recognition software as well as SpeechWorks’ Speechify TTS engine. 

Information for this story was gathered from Cambridge VoiceTech.  

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CompUSA Inc. Signs Nationwide Retail Agreement with ArialPhone Corp.

MUNDELEIN, IL -- ArialPhone Corp. announced a nationwide retail agreement with CompUSA Inc. Under terms of the agreement, CompUSA will carry the ArialPhone, a new voice-activated, wireless telephone communications device, in its 218 U.S. computer superstores starting this month.

“CompUSA is committed to bringing the latest in consumer electronics to its customers, which is why we are pleased to be the first nationwide technology retail chain to carry ArialPhone,” said Tony Weiss, executive vice president, merchandising for CompUSA. “With voice recognition technology and PC access capabilities combined in a one-ounce wearable design, ArialPhone is sure to emerge as one of the most compelling wireless communications products to come along in years.”

“CompUSA is pivotal to our nationwide retail strategy for ArialPhone,” said Jim Alland, co-founder and CEO of ArialPhone Corp.  “Offering the widest selection of consumer electronics in the country, CompUSA has built a solid reputation for serving consumers and businesses alike with superior quality and unrivaled technical expertise.  We feel privileged to be a part of their product offerings.”

In addition to sales through CompUSA’s superstores, ArialPhone will also be offered through the CompUSA Web site.  Sales efforts will be backed by CompUSA’s plans to market the product through nationwide advertising and email campaigns.

Information for this story was gathered from CompUSA, Inc. and ArialPhone Corporation.  

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eScription Announces Brigham and Women’s Hospital Implements eScription’s Products

BOSTON, MA -- eScription Corporation announced the signing of an agreement with Brigham and Women’s Hospital (BWH) for eScription’s Script family of products and services to improve processes and reduce costs associated with medical transcription at BWH.

The hospital will become a showcase customer for eScription’s products, whereby others can visit BWH to experience the benefits of eScription’s products. 

“Physicians and office staff are often unhappy with the cost and operations of their transcription services,” said Dr. Robert Goldszer, director of specialty services for BWH. “Our dictation to transcription turnaround time was longer than we wanted. In January 2001 we began using a new process from eScription.”

eScription provides a suite of applications which the company says reduce costs, decrease turn-around-time, and improve the workflow associated with medical transcription. The applications employ a set of technologies which leverage the Internet and state-of-the-art ASR.

“At BWH, we have contracted with two transcription services to edit our notes and transmit the documents via eScription software.” said Kevin Coughlin, director of Ambulatory Business Office. “Further, we are planning a full roll out to other departments within the hospital”. 

“One of the more challenging areas for applying speech recognition technology is primary care, due to the relatively high variability of what can be dictated,” said Ben Chigier, president of eScription. “The fact that we are successfully deploying speech recognition in primary care to improve the transcription process is a testimony to our vision, products and technology.”

“We are constantly exploring ways to improve our overall process and workflow.  Using innovative software helps us meet that goal,” said Sue Schade, CIO for Brigham and Women’s Hospital. 

“This enables our software to clarify what it thinks a physician said based on a larger context,” said Paul Egerman, chairman and CEO of eScription.

Information for this story was gathered from eScription Corporation and Brigham and Women’s Hospital.

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Fonix Introduces Speech Applications for Pocket PC 2002

SAN FRANCISCO, CA -- Fonix® Corporation announced that it is participating in the official launch of the new Microsoft Windows-Powered Pocket PC 2002 Software. Fonix speech applications for the Pocket PC incorporate Fonix TTS and ASR. As part of the launch and subsequent events, Fonix will be promoted by Microsoft to Pocket PC 2002 users as a speech solution to enable applications that utilize the benefits of the Pocket PC 2002.

Fonix will unveil its speech applications for the Pocket PC 2002 that port to the Intel® StrongARM 1110 processor. Fonix says its speech solutions enable access to Pocket PC applications using voice commands.

“Pocket PC 2002 has a great advantage in the marketplace because it is designed to be the most connected and expandable PDA available,” said Andy Haon, director of product planning for the Mobility Division at Microsoft Corp. “We are pleased that Fonix is taking advantage of the new feature functionalities of Pocket PC 2002 with its availability of TimeTalk for Pocket PC and TimeTalk Alert, among other applications, that will enhance user productivity.”

“Fonix is pleased to be a Microsoft Pocket PC 2002 launch partner. Our compelling applications enhance device usability and enable all users of the platform to access information in a more intuitive way,” said Kurt Flygare, Fonix vice president of sales. “Fonix TimeTalk for Pocket PC has proven to be a viable solution in our test markets, as has TimeTalk Alert. We are looking forward to developing further enhancements to existing Fonix applications that will benefit the time-sensitive user.”

Information for this story was gathered from Fonix Corporation and Microsoft.

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General Magic and OceanLake Voice-Enable Financial Web Application

SUNNYVALE, CA -- General Magic, Inc. announced its partnership with OceanLake Inc. to begin development of customer targeted projects that integrate voice with Web applications using the magicTalk® Voice Gateway.  The first project is a pilot of a banking application for one of North America’s largest financial institutions. General Magic will be providing voice hosting support for the pilot program initiative.

“We are pleased to see companies like OceanLake offer their customers voice access to critical resources and information,” said Andy Smolenski, director of strategic alliances at General Magic. “Many enterprise customers are expanding their Internet initiatives to include voice access and we look forward to seizing this opportunity with OceanLake.”

“This is a tremendous opportunity to show that voice can both eliminate many of the issues of using smaller devices to do banking, and increase functionality of the wireless banking site,” said Steve Koskie, president and CEO of OceanLake.  “Although our first engagement with General Magic is at a financial institution, it must be stressed that this solution is very replicable across any enterprise account for any enterprise application.”

Information for this story was gathered from General Magic, Inc. and OceanLake, Inc.

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Voice Recognition Software From IBM Powers Speech-Enabled Handheld Computer

SOMERS, NY -- IBM announced that Compaq Computer Corporation is using IBM’s voice recognition software in one of the first commercially available handheld computers to allow users to access and receive information with human speech.

Compaq’s new iPAQ Pocket PC H3800 Series relies on IBM’s Embedded ViaVoice Mobility Suite software to give customers the option of operating many functions through spoken commands and having appointments, tasks, e-mail, phone numbers and addresses, and other information read to them.  For example, with commands such as “Go to contact” and “Read John Smith’s home phone number”, users of Compaq’s new Pocket PC H3800 Series can call up address book information. For calendar information, users can say “Read my appointments for December 1st” or “Read my next appointment” to have the information read back to them by a synthesized voice. It also works for e-mail messages — whether a list or just selected ones. 

“We’ve taken the iPAQ Pocket PC even further along the technology curve — providing our customers with the ultimate blend of performance and ease of use,” said Sean Burke, vice president of iPAQ Products and Connected Devices, Compaq Computer Corporation. “Allowing them to access and manage their information using spoken commands gives them a more convenient and natural option to interact with the iPAQ Pocket PC. Using speech technology puts Compaq ahead of its competitors.”

“By giving its customers a speech interface on the iPAQ Pocket PC, Compaq has taken an important step in making technology more transparent to users and thus more accessible,” said W.S. Ozzie Osborne, general manager, IBM Voice Systems.  “PDAs are becoming an indispensable tool for today’s mobile worker. Speech gives its users additional convenience.”

PAQ users will be able to voice-enable their iPAQ Pocket PC H3800 Series by installing the Embedded ViaVoice Mobility Suite software which comes included in Compaq’s software applications CD for the iPAQ.   

Information for this story was gathered from IBM Voice Systems and Compaq Computer Corporation.

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Indicast Selects Televigation’s Location-Based Services

SUNNYVALE, CA – Indicast has selected Televigation to provide voice-enabled location-based services to customers through Indicast’s private-label voice portal solutions.

Services provided by Televigation include driving directions and business finder.

“We’ve determined that Televigation offers the best off-the-shelf voice applications for driving directions and spatial search,” said T. Todd Elvins, Indicast CTO. “Televigation’s open standard VoiceXML applications are plug and play, allowing us to get to market quickly. Also, in adopting Televigation’s solution, Indicast customers are well positioned to expand from conventional location-based services to premium motion-based services when the E911 infrastructure is deployed.”

Under the agreement with Indicast, Televigation will provide turnkey voice applications that utilize both Televigation’s navigation engine for voice activated driving directions, and Televigation’s spatial search engine for locating restaurants, businesses or any point of interest near the user.

“For wireless carriers, bringing together a voice portal infrastructure provider with a location-based application provider makes a lot of sense. This model will provide best of breed voice services, accelerating customer adoption,” said Ken Hyers, senior analyst at Cahners In-Stat Group.  “Significantly, this business model is enabled by the adoption of VoiceXML open standard.”

Information for this story was gathered from Indicast and Televigation.

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InfoTalk Becomes Singapore’s Infocomm LIUP Partner to Promote Speech Understanding Technology in the Infocomm Industry

HONG KONG AND SINGAPORE -- InfoTalk Corporation Limited announced that the company was appointed as a partner in the Infocomm Local Industry Upgrading Programme (iLIUP) of Singapore.  This appointment was made by Infocomm Development Authority (IDA) of Singapore, a statutory board under the Ministry of Communications and Information Technology, Singapore.

iLIUP’s primary focus is to accelerate the development of a dynamic local infocomm industry by cultivating stronger ties and collaborations between Singapore enterprises and multinational corporations (MNCs).

As a partner in the program, InfoTalk will work with Singapore enterprises to promote the Singapore infocomm industry by speech-enabling electronic commerce, wireless communication and mobile commerce, and customer relationship management applications. They will also work together to accelerate the business development of overseas markets among Singapore’s enterprises.

InfoTalk will nurture selected Singapore enterprise, with a strategy focusing on vertical markets including telecom, banking and finance, government and utilities, and travel and transportation.  InfoTalk has also structured a plan in technology development, as well as marketing and business development to help the Singapore enterprises.  

In the plan, InfoTalk will provide the Singapore enterprises with technology offerings and support to help them respond to the new technology enhancement and strengthen their products to meet the needs of the growing infocomm market.  In order to help the Singapore enterprises to explore markets outside Singapore, InfoTalk will also tailor make a special program of the business development and marketing activities for the iLIUP developers. 

“We have also expanded the areas of focus for iLIUP to cover IT Services and emerging technologies such as XML Web Services as well as Speech and Language technologies.  Through this expansion, we hope that more Singapore enterprises will benefit from iLIUP particularly in the access to cutting edge technologies,” said Ms Yong Ying-I, CEO of IDA Singapore. 

“InfoTalk is committed to supporting Singapore’s goal in developing infocomm technology industry,” said Dr. Alex Leung, CEO of InfoTalk.  “We are glad to be selected by IDA as the iLIUP partner in the speech technology arena.  With Singapore’s emphasis and support on speech technology in the infocomm industry, we are optimistic that it will become an integral part of our daily lives and more people can experience the benefits of speech technology.”

Information for this story was gathered from InfoTalk Corporation Limited and Infocomm Development Authority.

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InterVoice-Brite Launches Speech Usability Testing Lab

DALLAS, TX -- iVB Enterprise Solutions, a division of InterVoice-Brite, has created a speech usability testing lab. The primary focus of the testing facility is to ensure that speech-enabled applications deliver the highest level of customer service, in a user-friendly and appropriate manner.

“By using the lab, we will be able to identify any speech application difficulties and can make necessary changes before the public accesses those services,” said Bob Ritchey, president of iVB Enterprise Solutions. “That’s what makes the usability lab such a valuable tool for providing our customers the very best speech applications on the initial release—making it easy on callers and reducing call center costs.”

The tests involve the enlistment of demographically appropriate participants, many of whom have not previously used speech-enabled applications. Each participant uses a prototype application to complete a set of tasks. The sessions are recorded and participants are observed and videotaped to judge their entire response to the prototype applications, including facial expressions and body language. By observing how these test users interact with the applications, iVB Enterprise Solutions developers can refine the voice user interface design and make specific functional improvements, creating easy-to-use speech-enabled applications that callers will find helpful and even enjoyable. 

“One of the important findings of the lab is that iVB Enterprise Solutions is validating between 60 and 80 percent of the original user interface design,” Ritchey said. “It’s good to identify items that need improvement, but it’s also positive to find that the original design and capabilities of our speech application are predominantly correct.”

Symitar, an InterVoice-Brite reseller which provides data processing services with advanced information, financial, management, and network applications for credit unions, recently completed speech usability tests on its new, speech-enabled, call automation system. iVB Enterprise Solutions designed the voice user interface for the application, and Symitar completed the programming.

“The information we received through the tests was definitely worth our time,” said Zandy Reinshagen, Symitar’s director of Product Delivery. “We needed the tests because these are the first speech applications we’ve developed, and it made a big difference having the iVB Enterprise Solutions expertise available to us.”

Information for this story was gathered from InterVoice-Brite and Symitar. Read the Full Story Here

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LogicTree Licenses VoxLinx Mobile Multi-Modal Technology

COLLEGE PARK, MD -- LogicTree Corporation, Inc announced full commercial availability of Mobile Multi-Modal Technology, M3T, in connection with release of version 3.5 of the VoxLinx Multi-Modal Voice Access Gateway.

M3T is available either as stand-alone product for OEM based licensing to voice access providers or as part of the VoxLinx Gateway. 

Fred Korangy, CEO LogicTree Corp., states, “As a leading Voice Access technology provider, we are proud to be first in providing full multi-modal capabilities on a commercially available platform. By licensing M3T, companies with single-modal technologies, such as Interactive Voice Response, Voice Browser, or Telematics systems, can quickly gain a competitive edge and be among the first to deploy next generation multi-modal solutions. Voice Portals targeting next generation wireless services and Telematics technology providers are among the first to have expressed interest in incorporating M3T in their technology.”

Information for this story was gathered from LogicTree Corporation, Inc. and VoxLinx.

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NMS Communications, ECT Pass Rigorous British Telecom Testing

FRAMINGHAM, MA -- NMS Communications announced that the company and its partner, European Computer Telecoms AG (ECT), have successfully completed British Telecom’s SS7 IUP conformance testing for the interconnection of ECT’s AutoCarrier® softswitch with the British public telephone network. This achievement marks the fourth European country in which the AutoCarrier has been certified for interconnection.

“Assisted by NMS technology, our AutoCarrier offering is now certified for interconnection in the UK,” said Walter Rott, ECT’s CTO.  “Our primary mission is to reduce the cost and complicated architecture required for intelligent value-added services. NMS’ commitment to facilitating global deployment and interoperability for the service provider equipment market has strengthened ECT’s value-add for carriers and helped make AutoCarrier the leading modular public switch platform throughout Europe.”

“We’re pleased that NMS solutions have played pivotal roles in enabling ECT’s AutoCarrier to pass the British Telecom testing,” said Brough Turner, CTO at NMS Communications. “Earning this newest certification reinforces that the NMS/ECT partnership represents a world-class solution for carriers seeking to significantly expand their services offerings.”

Information for this story was gathered from NMS Communications and European Computer Telecoms AG.

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Nuance Speech Recognition Software Automates Hotel Booking Process for lastminute.com

MENLO PARK, CA -- Nuance announced it is providing advanced speech recognition software for lastminute.com’s voice extranet that will manage inventories and hotel room bookings. lastminute.com, a London-based company that offers last minute opportunities to consumers online, uses technology from Nuance and Nortel Networks to provide automated booking facilities between hotel managers and lastminute.com, leading to a simplified system with significantly reduced costs.

Hotel managers can now dial an automated phone-service and directly update their inventory on lastminute.com’s database by speaking or using a touch-tone system to input their reference number.

“Nuance and lastminute.com’s project has proved that speech recognition can be used in any industry to simplify processes, thereby increasing efficiency and improving the user experience when dealing with your business,” said Nick Applegarth, managing director, Nuance. “Using natural language speech recognition is the quickest and easiest way to conduct business. Our work with previous customers has shown that speech recognition can be used to automate complex and intricate business to business transactions and at the same time, simplify the internal process for customers.”

“Many independent hotels do not have access to online technology and resort to manual processes such as faxes, which take much longer to manage and do not provide the same level of security,” said Helen Baker, managing director of lastminute.com. “This initiative is not only enhancing efficiency in the way we work with suppliers, but also ultimately benefiting the end users by significantly speeding up the confirmation process making it easier and quicker for hotel managers to control bookings.”  

Information for this story was gathered from Nuance and lastminute.com.

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Phonetic Systems and Synamics Partner to Deliver Comprehensive Suite of Voice-Enabled Solutions

BEDFORD, MA -- Phonetic Systems and Synamics announced a strategic development partnership.  The companies have successfully completed integration testing to offer Phonetic Systems’ voice directory solutions on Synamics’ Telephony Application and Media Server (TAS). 

This integration enables Phonetic Systems to offer its voice automated directory products, like the PhoneticOperator, with Synamics’ solutions to provide customers access to voice-enabled ”hot” conference calling, directory assistance call completion, as well as a host of interactive voice response (IVR) applications.

”Phonetic Systems is committed to partnering with market leaders in >order to continue our aggressive growth strategy,” said JD Howard, CEO, Phonetic Systems.  “Teaming with Synamics, an emerging leader in group communications, allows us to deliver end-to-end voice solutions for our clients, both for our large enterprise and carrier customers.”

Lois Andreasen, president & CEO, Synamics, said, “Synamics is committed to delivering innovative voice-enabled solutions to our customers.  Based on feedback from our customers, we recognized a clear need for voice activation of our applications and see a natural synergy between our products.  We are pleased to leverage our >resources and strengths to ensure greater value for our mutual customers.”

Information for this story was gathered from Phonetic Systems and Synamics 

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Travelers Can Now Receive Voice Messages for Delayed, Cancelled Flights With Enhanced Flight Notification Tool on Sabre Virtually There

FORT WORTH, TX -- Sabre Holdings Corporation announced that North American travelers utilizing the Sabre® Virtually There™ Web site, (www.virtuallythere.com ), now have the option to receive an automated voice alert should a flight be delayed, canceled or experience a gate/terminal change within 24 hours of a flight’s departure time.  With this feature, anyone who has access to a phone can be notified of his/her flight status.

In addition, travelers can now also receive a reminder with gate information prior to their departure. To use this service, travelers register for Flight Notification on the Trip Review page at www.virtuallythere.com . Travelers have been able to receive these types of advance warnings through Virtually There via e-mail or text message with the notification tool for several months, but this is voice notification offered from a speech-recognition platform.

“Voice notification is one of the features we’ve added in recent days to help travelers get the most current and up-to-date information while planning and experiencing travel,” said Nancy Raynor, senior vice president and general manager for Virtually There. “This is an important time to ensure Virtually There has features that meet the needs of travelers.”

Voice delivery of these services is being provided by Appriss™, Inc.

“Appriss is committed to helping Sabre deliver critical information to travelers,” said Doug Cobb, Appriss CEO. “The addition of voice messaging for flight status notification provides another exceptional tool for Sabre Virtually There.”

Information for this story was gathered from Sabre Holdings Corporation and Appriss, Inc.

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The University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center at Dallas Speech Enables Campus Directory to Aid Callers

BOSTON, MA -- SpeechWorks International, Inc. announced the company’s SpeechSite™ system at The University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center at Dallas is now taking calls. When callers dial UT Southwestern’s main number at 214-648-3111 or “0” while on campus, they say the name of the employee, physician, department, clinic, research or study they are trying to reach and the call is automatically directed to the appropriate party. Over 60 percent of all calls into the campus are now automated using SpeechSite.

This customized system, dubbed “Bill” by the UT Southwestern Telecommunications Division, assists university operators in handling routine requests

“With the deployment of SpeechWorks’ SpeechSite, callers will immediately realize a savings in time and a decrease in frustration when trying to contact medical center personnel,” said Elwyn Hull, telecommunications director at UT Southwestern. “Allowing callers anytime, anywhere access to our staff demonstrates our commitment to customer relations through the use of sophisticated technology.”

“We are pleased to support this large speech system for the UT Southwestern community,” said Steve Chambers, vice president of worldwide marketing, SpeechWorks. “Speech in the health care sector achieves two very important goals: excellent patient relations while reducing costs and time associated with transferring calls.”

SpeechSite runs on a hardware platform from SpeechWorks’ partner Dialogic, an Intel Company. SpeechWorks’ partner SDC New Hampshire provided data conversion expertise for “Bill.”

Information for this story was gathered from SpeechWorks International and the University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center.

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Tellabs Unveils Echo Canceller that Combines Two Network Operations

LISLE, IL – Tellabs will offer a digital broadband echo canceller called VERITY™ 3100S echo canceller that combines two network operations—voice-quality enhancement and optical cross-connect functions—into one.

“Tellabs continues to develop new products that meet our customers’ needs for voice-quality enhancement and higher network efficiency,” said David Powell, senior vice president of Tellabs’ Network Enhancing Technologies Solutions group. “Our new echo canceller with cross-connect functionality will help our customers migrate to a broadband network that is more cost effective to operate and delivers superior call quality to customers.”

The company says the new Tellabs VERITY 3100S echo canceller helps service providers cut their network costs in half by eliminating the need for additional and separate multiplexers. The system is an asymmetrical digital echo canceller that combines Tellabs’ voice-quality enhancement (VQE) technology with an optical to electrical (STM-1 to E1) digital cross-connect for synchronous digital hierarchy (SDH) networks.

Tellabs says the VERITY 3100S echo canceller enables efficient distribution of voice and data traffic while providing voice-quality enhancements on every E1 channel.  With the VERITY 3100S system, E1s from different origins or destinations can be connected to a single STM-1 switch or transmission port, providing an efficient, reliable interface between E1 and STM-1 equipment.  Tellabs’ voice processor technology is built into the VERITY 3100S echo canceller. Optional voice-quality enhancement features, which include Tellabs Acoustic Control (TAC), Tellabs Noise Reduction (TNR) and Tellabs Level Control (TLC), are also available.  The Tellabs VERITY 3100S echo canceller is available in unidirectional, bidirectional or wireless configurations. This system is scheduled to be available in December 2001 in the Asia Pacific; Europe, Middle East and Africa (EMEA); and Latin America and Caribbean regions.

Information for this story was gathered from Tellabs.

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VoiceGenie Announces Rich VoiceXML Call Blending Features to Power Unified Messaging Applications

TORONTO, CANADA -- VoiceGenie Technologies Inc. announces a call control extension to its VoiceXML Software Stack suite: Genie Call Blending. Genie Call Blending is generally available today.

Genie Call Blending allows users to perform call screening, whisper call waiting, call transferring, and more, all within the environment of VoiceXML.

Users can place outbound calls, conditionally answer calls, initiate or receive outbound communications such as another call, and much more. Hot word recognition and voice-linking functionality enable continuous call control.  With Genie Call Blending, Unified Messaging applications can now offer voice-activated access combined with conference calling and follow-me/find-me.

“VoiceXML is a powerful standard that is changing the way communications are handled across the enterprise, within the wireless environment, and for call centers,” said Adrian Lee-Kwen, VoiceGenie’s vice president of Engineering. “However, call control capabilities have not as yet been integral to the standard. Many applications that exist today, or that are ready for deployment, can be enhanced in powerful ways to develop more user-friendly systems. In addition, applications previously not possible now become feasible with the combination of VoiceXML and Genie Call Blending.”

“With many Unified Messaging companies and carriers ready to add VoiceXML access to their core UM suite, VoiceGenie has seized a new market opportunity to provide powerful call control functionality within our existing VoiceXML Gateway,” said Eric Jackson, VoiceGenie’s vice president of Strategy and Business Development. “Genie Call Blending will be welcomed particularly by our industry leading UM partners, who have asked for features such as inbound/outbound fax and call sending, whisper call waiting, and sophisticated multi-line synchronous call threading, all within the VoiceXML environment.  This announcement is another example of our VoiceXML strategy: VoiceGenie will continue to lead the industry by 100 percent adherence to the VoiceXML specification, augmented by the integration of innovative and high demand features and capabilities not covered by current version of the standard.”

Information for this story was gathered from VoiceGenie.

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Security and Identification Application Announced by Wizzard Software Corporation

PITTSBURGH, PA -- Wizzard Software is announcing the addition of voice verification technology to its product line and customization services.  Voice verification allows for increased security by recognizing an individual’s unique voice pattern.  Your voice is unique to yourself like the retina in your eye, your finger print, etc. Additional uses come in the areas of telephone fraud prevention and customer verification.

“With our established reputation in the voice industry of being a leading voice application provider, we have had a significant increase in requests for voice verification applications over the last several weeks,” says Chris Spencer, CEO of Wizzard Software.  “We feel this will be a significant growth area for Wizzard as businesses in the Unites States increase security of their data, customers and employees. We can now customize our standard voice recognition systems contractually for all of these applications and more, and that is our Mission.”

Wizzard management believes that the market for voice verification is rapidly expanding as more industries embrace the technology and the potential to dramatically reduce fraud and increase security.  Wizzard Software plans to initially pursue office and transportation security through its team of resellers and direct sales by the company.

Information for this story was gathered from Wizzard Software Corporation.

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Does your speech recognition application have a hard time understanding you? Visit Phone-Or at SpeechTek booth #1400 and learn more about our revolutionary optical microphone systems for automotive telematics, headsets and cellular devices. Visit www.phone-or.com for more information.


Automated Speech Enhances Customer Experience, Increases ROI of Multimedia Call Centers, According to The Kelsey Group 

PRINCETON, NJ -- New research from The Kelsey Group indicates that increased return on investment (ROI) in multimedia contact centers (also known as “call centers”) requires enhancement of the customer experience, not mere replacement of live agents with technology. In a new White Paper entitled “Overview: The Voice-Powered Contact Center,” The Kelsey Group documents deployment of speech-processing technologies in modern contact centers, and dispels many of the myths surrounding the use of automated speech recognition (ASR) and text-to-speech (TTS) technologies as a replacement for live agents.

“In this economy, cost containment and ROI are important, but so is enhancing the customer experience,” asserts Mark Plakias, senior vice president of The Kelsey Group’s Voice & Wireless Commerce Program. “Too often ASR developers sell their wares by comparing the cost of an ASR-handled call to the cost associated with live agents. This is superficial, because the real ‘pain’ is in call centers that are ‘hitting the wall’ with traditional touchtone IVR (interactive voice response) systems.”

Plakias notes that a superior voice user interface can improve customer satisfaction by suppressing “abandons” and “hostile transfers” from frustrated callers who have difficulty using complex touchtone interfaces. “The real story of improved ROI will be closely linked to customer satisfaction.  Automated speech can reduce lost calls, and free agents to upsell and provide great service. Client retention and enhanced revenue opportunities-not firing agents-will deliver strong ROI.”

Analysis in the report places ASR, TTS and VoiceXML into the context of today’s multimedia contact center-one in which live agents handle telephone calls, e-mails and real-time Web sessions. The Kelsey Group forecasts how converged voice and data over IP technology will capture an increasing share of the $12.5 billion spent annually for call center infrastructure. 

“The Internet already enables agents to use e-mail response, text chat and escorted browsing to better serve customers,” noted Daniel N. Miller, co- writer/analyst of the study. “We expect the VoiceXML standard to lay the groundwork for powerful extensions of core e-business processes through the phone.”

Based on several months of interviews with developers, call center managers and historical databases of call center applications and spending patterns, the company says the report provides a deep understanding of how voice recognition is and will be implemented on top of existing IVR touchtone systems, as well as Web-based self-service operations. In addition to the White Paper, The Kelsey Group has released an “Assessment Guide” designed to help contact center organizations plan for and evaluate speech recognition solutions.

Information for this story was gathered from The Kelsey Group.

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Government Program Provides Funding For Early Stage Research

Support for Emerging Technologies Highlights Thursday SpeechTEK 2001 Schedule

LEXINGTON, KY -- Companies and researchers finding it difficult to fund new technology development in the critical early stages -- when risks are high and sources are limited -- may find help from the Federal government. 

Mr. Marc Stanley of the United States Department of Commerce’s National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) will discuss the department’s Advanced Technology Program (ATP) Thursday, October 25, 1:00 PM at SpeechTEK 2001.  ATP encourages research and development partnerships and consortia for the development of emerging and enabling technologies that promise significant commercial payoffs and widespread benefits to the U.S. economy and society in general. The cost-share funding program is specifically targeted to early R&D, when research risks are often too high for other funding sources.

Through a competitive program ATP can provide up to $2,000,000 in direct costs for a specified period of time. 

New technologies and security applications will take center stage later this month when New York City hosts the Seventh Annual SpeechTEK Exposition and Conference.   Industry leaders and analysts from around the globe will gather at the New York Hilton, October 24-26, for a three-day discussion of emerging issues and technologies in speech communications and related industries.

Domestic and world events have brought speech communications issues into sharper focus as business and government leaders, industry analysts, designers, engineers, developers, investors and innovators prepare to discuss issues ranging from voice-based security authentication to “distracted driving” solutions for cell phone users.

About SpeechTEK 2001

Speech Technology Magazine and SpeechTEK Exposition and Educational Conference are recognized worldwide as the leading sources of information on the products and technologies affecting the speech technology industry. The bi-monthly trade publication and the annual trade show deliver essential news to end-users of the technology, value added resellers, integrators, developers, investors and other professionals interested in this ever-expanding technology and its applications.

Persons desiring more information may contact: Doug Alexander, E-Mail:  doug@amcommexpos.com, Phone: 859-278-2223 x 105, FAX:  859-278-7364, Mailing Address: SpeechTEK; 2628 Wilhite Court; Suite 100; Lexington, KY  40503.

Information for this story was gathered from Amcomm. 

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Appriss™ Named One of the Top Ten Companies to Watch By Federal Computer Week Magazine

LOUISVILLE, KY -- Appriss, Inc. has been recognized by Federal Computer Week Magazine as one of the top ten technology companies to watch that give federal agencies the “biggest bang for their buck.” Kentucky-based Appriss was selected by the magazine’s group of technology analysts and federal IT industry experts. The group believes Appriss is a key player in the federal marketplace as the government looks for fresh solutions to provide service to its citizenry and improve productivity.

“Recognition from a nationally renowned publication like Federal Computer Week is truly flattering and exciting,” said Doug Cobb, Appriss CEO. “We’ve built strong relationships with hundreds of local and state government agencies for seven years and our state-of-the-art speech applications are drawing the interest of several federal agencies.”

Appriss, partnering with a team led by GRC International, an AT&T company, won a major system procurement from the U.S. Department of Justice last year to provide automated victim notification services to victims of federal crimes.  This service, powered by Appriss’ flagship product VINE®, allows crime victims to monitor and be notified on the custody status of offenders under the jurisdiction of the FBI, Federal Bureau of Prisons, and the U.S. Attorney’s Office.

“We’ve delivered a very secure, life-saving product to the Department of Justice,” said Mike Davis, Appriss president. “Justice officials have been happy with the service and that, in turn, has led us to other federal agencies to discuss their communication and technology needs.”

Information for this story was gathered from Appriss, Inc. and Federal Computer Week Magazine.  

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