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Microsoft Acquires Assets From Unveil
Microsoft Corp. has announced it has acquired certain intellectual property assets from Unveil Technologies Inc., a developer of enterprise call center technology and the Unveil Conversation Suite. With the acquisition, Microsoft intends to incorporate the Adaptive Learning and Conversation Assist components of the Unveil Conversation Suite into future versions of Microsoft Speech Server, supporting the company's stated commitment to 'deliver the most flexible and integrated speech platform at the lowest total cost of ownership.' 'Unveil's technology is a natural fit with Speech Server because it is in line with our vision of making speech applications affordable and easy to develop and maintain,' said Rich Bray, general manager of the Speech Server group at Microsoft. 'By supplementing our toolset with Conversation Suite technologies, even a non-technical call center manager can prototype and develop robust speech applications.' Microsoft has stated that, when integrated into the Speech Server platform, Unveil's learn-by-example and agent assist technologies will make it easier, faster and less expensive for customers to develop and optimize speech applications. As part of the acquisition, Microsoft will hire certain key Unveil development employees. Unveil's existing customers will have the opportunity to participate in future programs that include the acquired technology.

Genesys And IBM Partner For Speech
Genesys Telecommunications Laboratories, Inc., an Alcatel company, and IBM recently announced a new technology and reseller agreement in which the Genesys Voice Platform (GVP) technology offering has expanded to include the addition of IBM WebSphere Voice Server (WVS) speech solutions. With the addition of IBM WVS, customers and managed service providers now have more product options and can fully leverage the industry expertise of Genesys and IBM, according to the companies. The IBM WebSphere Voice Server functionality provides automated speech recognition (ASR) and text-to-speech (TTS) resources that enable speech-based interaction. IBM WVS is now available with GVP: Network Edition (GVP: NE) and GVP: Enterprise Edition (GVP: EE). GVP: NE is a carrier grade, IP-enabled software-only solution that offers standards-based development, flexible deployment options, simplified integration and improved time to market for voice applications. GVP: EE for the enterprise is an IP-enabled, software-only solution that runs on off-the-shelf hardware. The joint IBM and Genesys technology can help eliminate contact center 'silos' to improve flexibility and efficiency within contact center operations. Companies can leverage their existing infrastructure and gain the flexibility needed to enhance their service levels, as Genesys solutions are designed to adapt to contact center growth needs over time. 'The Genesys Voice Platform is a complete voice processing solution that supports advanced network routing, self-service and intelligent queuing,' said Genesys chief technology officer Elliot Danziger. 'This global agreement between Genesys and IBM brings self and assisted-speech service to companies, offering a lower total cost of ownership, improved customer service, improved operational efficiency and easy deployment options.'

Definition Du Jour
CSS (Cascading Style Sheets) is a language for the speech rendering of documents (commonly used by vision impaired persons or those with limited reading abilities). CSS defines 'aural properties' by helping the system to 'speak' text in a natural way, with pauses and proper emphasis and inflection, rather than just speak words and characters in a monotonous and artificial-sounding manner.

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