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Products & Services Selection Guide
February 2002


Speech Technologies Guide

[ Go Right To The Speech Technologies Roundup ]

Speech is referred to in the high-tech industry as the 'natural interface,' for good reason. While most of us can type on a QWERTY keyboard to some varying degree of skill level, few of us can do it in a car, on a postage-stamp sized keyboard, with a bandaged thumb, while we're cooking dinner, etc. Speech is the primary human form of communication since the very first cave dweller pointed to a rock and said'well, whatever the Neanderthal word for 'rock' was. (The first four-letter word, of course, was invented when the same Neanderthal dropped said rock on his or her foot.)

Various new methods for inputting information into computers and other electronic devices have cropped up in recent years. Lately, one of the most visible is the Palm OS's Graffiti, a fairly easily learned collection of stylus strokes that form the letters of the alphabet. A little practice will get a user up to speed quickly, though even the best Graffiti inputter cannot enter as quickly as a speedy typist on a standard keyboard. RIM's Blackberry unit uses a miniature keyboard designed so the user can input letters with both thumbs, but again, though it's quick, it's not as quick as it could be. The limitations of the size of our human fingers and the increasing fuzziness of our eyesight as the years creep past will forever put a limit on how small keyboards of all kinds can become, be they PDA, laptop computer, cellular phone, standard telephone, ATM machine, etc.

Speech recognition was once firmly lodged in the realm of science fiction. Few science fiction fans can resist trying out speech recognition demos without uttering the words, 'Hello, Computer' in a distinctly Mr. Scott accent. The great departed science fiction humor writer Douglas Adams had a recurring character in his 'Hitchhiker's Guide To The Galaxy' series in the form of Eddie, the Onboard Computer, whose chatty, sunny personality was eventually so annoying to the ship's crew they had to invoke the computer's emergency backup personality, which proved itself to be that of a stern school headmaster who tolerated no backtalk from the ship's occupants. Finally, there is the godfather of all fictional speech-enabled computers, the confused and ultimately homicidal HAL-9000 from '2001: A Space Odyssey.'

While we've not quite yet achieved these visions of natural language mixed with artificial intelligence, speech technologies are making leaps and bounds at a rate of which the general public is barely aware. Speech recognition is beginning to replace traditional 'please press one' IVR systems in everything from banking to train schedules to airline information toll-free lines. The technology has moved past its early days of being able to recognize only one or two words at a time and has now blossomed into natural language recognition, which allows the caller to speak whole sentences at a time, while the system extracts the information it needs from the caller's speech.

In the near future, we can expect to begin seeing all manner of handheld computers and cell phones with speech interfaces, perhaps entirely eliminating the need to press buttons or scribble on a tablet. Less often will we see chronic cell phone-using bad drivers swerving wildly across three lanes of traffic while trying to dial a friend's number to impart some informational tidbit of earth-shaking importance, such as the color of the pair of shoes he/she just purchased at the mall (well'perhaps nothing will dissuade such people and it's the brain, not the input method, that is the problem).

In any case, the editors of Customer Inter@ction Solutions' collected information about many of the most forward-thinking speech technology companies. On the following pages, we have provided our readers with an alphabetical list of companies that offer these types of products. You will notice that a number of companies have chosen to enhance their listings and have provided the information about their products they would like to share with Customer Inter@ction Solutions' ' readers. We invite you to learn more about all of the companies, visit their Web sites and contact us with any questions you may have.


alexis communications inc.

APEX Voice Communications


blueChip Technologies Limited
Stephen Anton, director of sales and marketing
[email protected]
+44 (2890) 466460
Product: clear contact
Highly flexible, fully automatic call handling service for routine customer requests, or by front-end filtering calls to automatically identify high-value customers. Delivering exceptional efficiency in call flow with friendly customer interfaces that responds logically to the spoken word.

Brooktrout Technology

Call Interactive

Cambridge VoiceTech
Steve Brenner, senior vice
president for sales   
[email protected]

Products: Cambridge Voice Gateway, Cambridge Voice Studio
Award-winning, fully scalable VoiceXML deployment platform and development environment for Windows. Cambridge VoiceTech provides high-port-density commercial speech recognition solutions for call centers and the enterprise market, as well as best-of-breed Windows-based VoiceXML platforms and development tools for integrators and OEMs.

Computer Talk Technology, Inc.

Alana Hulls   
[email protected]

CMS-6000 Media Server
Convedia's CMS-6000 is a softswitch-compliant Media Server which enables communication service providers to rapidly deliver innovative and differentiated voice and video services over Internet Protocol (IP) networks. The CMS-6000 supports MGCP, SIP and VoiceXML and offers up to 18,000 ports in a single shelf.

DAC Systems

Data-Tel Info Solutions
Todd Miller  
[email protected]

Product: xSELLerator 5.0
Data-Tel Info Solutions offers predictive dialing, inbound/outbound call blending and IVR with skills-based routing. Data-Tel Info Solutions' xSELLerator 5.0 is a cost-effective call center solution and can be customized affordably to suit a company's needs.


Ted Bray  
[email protected]

Product: Electronic Workforce 7.2
Electronic Workforce 7.2 provides a fully integrated Windows 2000 based Interactive Voice self-service (IVR) system that allows customers to take advantage of world-class speech-enabled applications from technology partners including SpeechWorks. The SpeechWorks Integration provides enhanced speech recognition capability, allowing customers to use speech recognition technology from leading vendors including Nuance, Vocalis and SpeechWorks. These vendor integrations enable users to address applications such as Natural Language and Directed Menu Speech Recognition.

Enablx, Inc.
Dan Ferrara  
[email protected]

800-882-0044, ext. 202
Enablx is a technology service provider of on-site and off-site contact center management solutions. Using the latest IVR, chat, e-mail, CTI, live agent and fax-back technology, the company creates custom, self-service applications that make it easy for customers to get the information they need 24/7, all with no capital expense.

eStara, Inc.
Ben Finklea  
[email protected]

Product: eStara Push to Talk
eStara Push to Talk gives business the power to talk with their online customers through real-time PC-to-Phone or Phone-to-Phone connections over the Internet. Push to Talk can be added to Web sites, e-mail and online advertisements to improve online customer contact and close sales. Push to Talk is a widely deployed Web voice customer contact tool, with customers including J. Crew, Club Med and FirstUSA.

GM Voices, Inc.




InterVoice-Brite, Inc.

LamarTech LLC

Kathleen Wynne, sales
[email protected]
Product: VoxNauta Voice Platform ' Enterprise
VoxNauta is an open voice platform, that enables the quick creation and easy management of custom voice services from existing HTML Web applications, VoiceXML applications or prepackaged voice application modules.

Loquendo - Vocal Technology and Services
Ornella Ambrois
[email protected]
+39 011 7576850
Product: VoxNauta
VoxNauta, the complete platform available in both carrier-grade and enterprise configurations, incorporates world-class speech components, easy-to-use service creation environment, vertical applications and communication services. With VoxNauta customers can easily build and deploy speech services using VoiceXML and HTML speech tags.

LumenVox LLC

The Maxxar Corp.

Juan DeAngulo
[email protected]
Product: NetByTel Connected
NetByTel Connected provides packaged voice self-service applications for contact centers that want to improve customer service. Consumers can easily use their voice to purchase products, make general inquiries and get customer support by phone 24/7 without waiting on hold for a live agent. Live agents are freed from simple, routine inquiries and can focus on more complex customer interactions. Offered as a hosted service, NetByTel is fast, easy and cost-effective to deploy, while minimizing risk and investment, and leveraging existing e-commerce or back-end IT systems.


Philips Speech Processing

Phonetic Systems

Prosodie Interactive
Kirk Cameron
[email protected]
Service: Speech-enabled Outsourced IVR Solutions
Prosodie Interactive's speech solutions offer unparalleled accuracy, scalability and reliability for voice-driven applications via the telephone. We have experience working with Nuance and SpeechWorks technologies and can speech-enable any IVR application, resulting in improved satisfaction and cost savings. Our services include digit replacement, directed dialog and natural language speech implementations.

(Editor's note: in mid-December, ScanSoft announced that it acquired substantially all the operating and technology assets of the Speech and Language Technologies business of Lernout & Hauspie (L&H), including the Dragon product line.)

Sound Advantage
Greg Stone
[email protected]
Product: SANDi CRM
SANDi CRM is the best way to access your customer relationship management database when out of your office. Using any phone, an individual can use SANDi CRM to access and manage his or her calendar, contact records and

SpeechWorks International
Steve Chambers, VP of
worldwide marketing
[email protected]
Product: SpeechWorks' Speech2Go Version 1.0
SpeechWorks' Speech2Go is a continuous, speaker-independent speech recognition engine that is designed specifically for embedded devices such as mobile and automotive devices, handsets and cable set-top boxes. In addition, Speech2Go will support distributed speech recognition (DSR) solutions, combining local speech processing with remote access to a wide range of network-based services, such as stock quotes, news, weather and traffic reports, and e-mail ' all through natural voice commands.


TEMIC Speech Processing
(Telefunken microelectronic
GmbH ' Germany)

sales department
[email protected]
650-623-0210, ext.14
Product: TuVox Customer Assistance System (CAS)
Automate technical support calls. TuVox CAS is specifically designed for voice knowledge base applications with rapidly changing content. Powerful tools provide a compelling caller experience and ensure quality. Plus, a support team can easily enhance the content ' no speech experts needed.

Unveil Technologies

Verascape, Inc.

VeriSign Global Voice Registry
Dan Scott, senior marketing
[email protected]
Service: Global Voice Registry
The Global Voice Registry (GVR), a new telephony service focused on customer care, uses voice dialing to enable consumers to call a business simply by saying the name of the business. No phone numbers to remember or dial. The GVR is easy-to-use since no set-up or programming is required. Anyone can speak any company name and be connected on any phone.

VoiceGenie Technologies

Voice Web Services, LLC
Brian Graham, president
Product: VANGARD
VANGARD is a text reader that is a W3C VoiceXML application built for voice-only navigation of text documents. A user can navigate the body of many types of documents such as e-mail messages, attachments like PDF documents, complete news articles and government documents all via the human voice and using the telephone as a primary medium.

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