COMPANY PRESS REELASE: SpeechWorks International a global leader in speech recognition and text-to-speech (TTS) technologies and services, has announced that it has formed a new business unit to meet the growing demand for speech applications in the automotive, mobile device and set-top box industries.
The newly created Automotive and Mobile Device Customer Focus Unit provides dedicated product and business development as well as marketing and sales resources to meet the speech recognition and text-to-speech demands of customers in these industries.
In addition to launching the new unit, SpeechWorks has begun shipping its Speech2Go embedded speech recognition engine, designed specifically to control the functions in cars (e.g., tune radio to 103 FM) and on mobile devices (e.g., dial dad’s cell phone). The products will also enhance the capabilities of existing enterprise and telecommunications speech applications. For example, SpeechWorks is integrating these technologies with other products and services to automate sales force automation (SFA) applications to allow account managers to check the status of any account by speaking into a device from the road.
Alan Schwartz to Head Up Automotive and Mobile Device Customer Focus Unit
SpeechWorks named Alan Schwartz, vice president of business development, to head the Automotive and Mobile Device Unit. Schwartz joined SpeechWorks as vice president, business development, in July 2000 from AT&T Labs where he was New Market Development Director responsible for commercializing AT&T speech technologies. At AT&T, he was also responsible for launching AT&T’s digital imaging and video indexing projects. During his tenure at SpeechWorks, Schwartz has led the Company’s expansion into new markets with the acquisition of a small footprint TTS product through a merger with Eloquent Technologies and the acquisition of a small footprint recognizer through a partnership with Visteon (see press release, July 30, 2001).
More than 60 million existing mobile wireless users are very or somewhat interested in voice- enabled services while more than 40 million wireless consumers are interested in voice-enabled PDAs and handheld devices. This consumer demand will grow, and points to the tremendous market opportunity for speech-enabled devices and services. SpeechWorks’ product offerings and overall strategy meet the evolving need for an intuitive and convenient user experience, said Aurica Yen, Consumer Market Convergence Analyst, The Yankee Group. SpeechWorks will be able to leverage its success and expertise in the enterprise market to successfully deploy solutions within the automotive, mobile device and set-top box industries.
The Automotive and Mobile Device Customer Focus Unit is delivering speech products and solutions for applications such as:
Automotive: Users can change radio stations, dial phone numbers, dial an entry from a contact list, get directions from a navigation device, just by talking and without taking their hands off the steering wheel. This feature is both a practical and legal necessity, especially as New York passed its law banning drivers from holding cell phones while driving and over 43 states now have similar legislation pending.
Mobile devices: Consumers can talk into their smart phones or PDAs (personal digital assistants) to input information, dial contacts, play email messages and the like rather than using a stylus. Recently, a number of manufacturers released next-generation smart-phones and PDAs that are powerful enough to handle these types of applications.
Set-top boxes: Users will be able to navigate a television guide, select movies or set security alarms for parental control by speaking commands into their television remote controls. Speech technologies on these devices will allow blind individuals to select programs and hear content, a feature that is now mandated by new legislation from Congress.
Speech2Go: Bringing Speech Recognition to Devices
SpeechWorks’ Speech2Go software, available today in American English, British English, Australian English, Continental French, Italian and German, is a continuous, speaker-independent speech recognition engine designed specifically for use in automotive and mobile devices. The Speech2Go product was brought to market originally by Visteon Corporation (NYSE: VC), a leading full-service supplier of consumer-driven technology solutions to automotive manufacturers. Speech2Go from SpeechWorks includes several enhanced features such as:
Automatic grammar update: This includes text-to-phoneme software allowing users to take advantage of applications such as downloading their address books into their cell phones and then dialoging using voice commands, or downloading an MP3 song list into their car and saying, Play Sting, Brand New Day album, all without the user needing to train the system;
Increased speech recognition accuracy and performance: Speech2Go adapts easily to a variety of microphones and external environments such as noisy restaurants, cars with the windows down and more; and,
SpeechWorks’ professional services for embedded market solutions: These services include application design, grammar training, field performance improvement and operating system integration services, all for ensuring the best possible user experience.
Speech2Go is complemented by SpeechWorks’ ETI-Eloquence software, a small-footprint TTS engine which is available in 13 languages. These two products provide a powerful user experience for a wide variety of applications and can be deployed in combination with SpeechWorks’ industry-leading, network-based products to create a seamless user experience through an architecture known as Distributed Speech Recognition (DSR). The DSR architecture allows speech recognition to happen entirely on the device for local applications (e.g., tune radio 105 FM) and splits the processing between the device and servers in the network for network-based applications (e.g., find Indian restaurants in New York City). By performing the signal processing phases of speech recognition on the device, DSR systems are able to achieve much higher accuracies than purely network-based systems especially in noisy mobile environments. SpeechWorks has DSR trials in process with a number of device manufacturers and carriers. To facilitate the adoption of DSR, SpeechWorks chairs the Application Requirements Committee for the ETSI (European Telephony Standards Institute) Aurora committee, which is developing an industry standard for distributed speech recognition.