March, 2007
Volume 18 No. 3


Market, Investment and Technical News of the Emerging Speech Technology Industry

INSIDE THIS ISSUE

The Emperor is Naked!

Lillian Vernon using Assisted Self-Service from Spoken Communications

Dr Jon Reports that IVR is Broken

Google Free-411 Trial

ATA Washington Summit

BeVocal/Cingular self-service Clarification

NASCAR cares about Cingular name change

SMS Addiction

TWD legislation

Convert VM to text?

Great marketing from TomTom

Walt & Walter’s VUI View: Verizon Broadband

The Caller’s view from Walt

Dr Rolandi Examination of Verizon Broadband

Thought for the month  

Telephone IVR – Applications

BBVA chooses AGNITIO for Password reset
Angel.com hosting Ambient Devices
Convergys Rosetta Stome DM

Genesys at CPP Group

Genesys helps Pearson Digital Learning
IP Unity Glenayre One Italia Portal

Interactive Intelligence at W Texas Natl Bank

Loquendo at GPC Computer

Voxify at Fredericks of Hollywood

Telephone IVR –  Products/Services/Partnerships/Financials

Callminer unveils Eureka!
CallMiner expands to UK
Empirix/Genesys launch testing/monitoring
TranSched acquires Ontira
Co-nexus/UTOPY alliance
Intervoice launches Voice Portal products
Microsoft buying Tellme
SER Launches Suite for inbound/outbound
 
SER partners with VPI
SpeechCycle Closes $10 Million Financing
TuVox Awarded Patent for SmartGen
Telstra and VeCommerce join forces
VoiceObjects integrates with SAP NetWeaver
VoiceRite Cisco achieves Advanced Unified Communications

Telephone Messaging -  Applications/Products/ Partnerships/Financial

2ndWave Software acquires Amcom

AtHoc acheives CAP compliance

AVST at PepsiAmericas

CallWave Introduces Vtxt

3N Mass Notification at GBMC

Esnatech partners with Iwatsu

SimulScribe VM-to-text service

Microsoft Response Point Phone system

OneVoice Media Center Communicator 3
Ontario Systems using NMS Vision Server
Prairie Voice/Bridgeforce Virtual Collections
Silverlink strong growth in 2006
SoundBite User Group Meeting
SpeechSwitch at Bloomfield Township
SpinVox launches VM-to-text service in NA
Streem releases Streem Center c 6.44
PAR3 now Varolii Corporation

Telephone Operator Services -  Applications/Products/ Partnerships/Financial

Google Free Directory Assistance trial

Nuance working with Jingle Networks

Telephone Tools -  Products/ Partnerships/Financial

Envox CT Connect 7 Avaya compliance
 

Dialogic Media Gateway PL expanded

Embedded Telematics – Applications/Products/Partnerships/Financial

Alk Technologies CoPilot Live 7
CSR using Acoustic Technologies
Magellan Maestro 4050
NAVIGON Navigator
Nuance Voice control at Rogers Wireless

Nuance Music Search

Rand McNally/TCS partner
 
SVOX Future automobile at CEBIT
TomTom Navigator Safety Study
V-ENABLE ad-supported DA
VoiceSignal/Enpocket in alliance
VoiceSignal V-Suite in Blackberry 8800
VoiceSignal V-Suite 3.1
WayFinder partners with Code Factory

Embedded Appliances – Applications/Products/Partnerships/Financial

Fonix showcase at Game Developer Conf. Loquendo/Olidata alliance
RayTron Personal robot
Sensory in appliances 

Desktop – Applications/Products/Partnerships/Financial

Coolsoft Dictionary

Fluential receives ARPA translation award

Fluential receives NIH translation award

IBM and Assistive

IBM donates military translator

Loquendo/Artificial Solutions at IKEA

MacSpeech Toast 8 ScriptPak

Avid using Nexidia

Nexidia increases index speed

Nuance acquires Focus Infomatics

Philips 9600 DR supported by Dataworx

WinScribe v3.7 released

Wizzard Software partners with Dynavox

Wizzard Software alliance with XA Interactive

Wizzard Software partners with Hilary Duff

Voice Data Entry – Applications/Products/Partnerships/Financials

CTG using Syclo speech platofrm

CTG using Nuance embedded ASR for Voice

Vocollect at Kendal at longwood

 

Waitrose expands with Voxware

B&Q selects VoxWare

Voxware delisted from NASDAQ

Base Speech Techology – Applications/Products/Partnerships/Financial

LumenVox Spanish ASR

W3C VUI Standards activity

 

Speech Industry People

Financials

Table F1 -  Q4 Reported Financial Results

Table F2 – Market Price Summary – 4/01/07

Career Opportunities in Speech Technology

Calendar

 

The Emperor is Naked!

Lillian Vernon using Assisted Self-Service from Spoken Communications: Lillian Vernon has been trialing the Spoken Communications Agent-guided IVR technology since last Summer. The Agent-guide IVR technology has improved the performance of the call center so much that they are now deploying it on all calls to the Lillian Vernon call center located in Virginia Beach, VA.  When you call the Lillian Vernon line, you are greeted with:  Thank you for calling Lillian Vernon.  Would you like to place an order?  If you say yes, they next attempt to identify who you are by asking you to provide the customer number.  Lillian Vernon has found that they have been able to cut the average call time by 20 seconds by using the Assisted Self-Service technology.  This saves 800-number toll charges and agent labor for Lillian Vernon.  More importantly, the caller has a quicker-&-easier experience.  No “did-you-mean?” when the speech recognizer wasn’t certain just what the caller said.  No having to repeat information to the agent.  Customers will call Lillian Vernon again because of  the unique products that Lillian Vernon offers and also because it is a pleasant, quick-&easy experience.  The improvement in self-service performance that Lillian Vernon has been able to achieve, coupled with elimination of up/cross-sell campaigns has made it possible for Lillian Vernon to shut down an off-shore call center in the Philippines that they were using during their busy season, Lillian Vernon found that these up/cross-sell campaigns were increasing call length and alienating customers, and not producing sufficient revenue.  According to Toni Cicero, vice president of customer care, the Lillian Vernon experience with Assisted Self-service has been so positive that they are planning to extend the deployment to handle customer calls that are attempting to precisely track down the status of an order.

 

Dr Jon Reports that IVR is Broken: Dr. Jon Anton (www.benchmarkportal.com) ran a survey that yielded the following information:  * 72% of call centers front-end every call with an IVR message *The average immediate “opt-out” rate. Across industries, is over 50% *The average “opt-out” rate total, including those that try, is over 80%.   The conclusion that Dr. Jon reached was:

          The current IVR channel is “broken”

 

Google Free-411 Trial:   At 1-800-GOOG-411. Tried this out and was surprised how well it worked.  Some rough spots: After I informed it that I resided in Acton, Massachusetts, and told it that I wanted Ace Hardware, it listed the top eight Ace hardware stores.  These seemed to be by geographic proximity.  The TTS that they are using was not very good and mis-pronounced city names.  The problems were relatively minor and given that this is a trial, I’d anticipate that this will get better.  Overall, it was a quick-&-easy experience.  Speech recognition was excellent and I did not encounter the “did you mean?” nonsense. I felt that this was a better VUI implementation than any of the automated DA services that I’ve seen.  Kudos to Google.  Maybe they can teach the speech people how to do this correctly.  

 

ATA Washington Summit: The American Teleservices Association (ATA) is holding a conference in Washington DC on legislation that would impact the teleservices industry www.ataconnect.org/washington/ .  They plan to introduce a set of self-regulatory standards at the conference.  The ATA  has identified eight (8) pending bills seeking to impose regulations for inbound call centers.  Each of these bills is addressing the need for consumers to be able to reach a human promptly when they need one.  The bills are:

Oklahoma H.B. 2783. Customer Service by an Actual Human Being Act. At any point during an inbound call the consumer has the right to “press zero” and get connected to a live operator.

New York A.B. 10446. Establishes the department of insurance shall require every health insurer group health plan, health maintenance organization, or other entity offering medical benefits, whether by insurance or otherwise, to provide residents of this state with a way to bypass the automated telephone answering service of such health insurer, group health plan, health maintenance organization, or other entity offering medical benefits.

Rhode Island H.B. 7660. First, RI HB 7660 requires all cell phone companies to provide their customers with direct toll-free numbers to corporate contacts “other than automated answering system” in order to resolve inquiries relating to cell phone service.  Second, it requires cell phone companies to document all customer inquiries and record the time, in minutes, spent resolving the issues raised by the customer.  Third, “upon resolution of any inquiry or dispute related to billing or service which is resolved in the customers favor, said customer shall be credited on their account one dollar for every minute spent resolving the issue or dispute.”

New Jersey A.B. 2089. Provides that "if a telecommunications company utilizes an automated answering system or response system during normal business hours, the company shall have trained company representatives available to respond to customer telephone inquiries and shall inform customers that they may have access to a company representative in lieu of the automated system.”

New Jersey A.B. 2712. Same as A.B. 2089, but targets cable televisions companies.

2007 FL S 1858 / H 997 requires state agencies employing an “automated telephone answering system” to provide “opt out” to agent menu options within the first minute of received calls during regular hours of operation.  It also mandates at least two telephone lines dedicated to “opt out” calls and sets a goal of five minutes or less hold time per call.

2007 NY A 1135 requires utility call centers to maintain telephone numbers for “live” agents to receive complaints from the general public during normal business hours.  It also requires those using an IVR to provide “opt out” options to transfer to agents in the menu and automatically transfer consumers who fail to interact with the system for 10 seconds following the prompt.

2007 NY A 5841 requires businesses employing an “automated telephone answering device” announce that calls are being answered by such a device, whether or not callers can transfer directly to agents and when (if ever) an agent is available to take calls.  It also sets standards for transfer queue times to connect to agents, including leaving a message to be called back within an hour.  In addition, it requires that any and all advertising must specify that the telephone numbers published will be answered only by an automated device, if this is the case.

Gethuman is giving a presentation at the ATA Summit on the gethuman standard.

 

BeVocal/Cingular self-service Clarification:  BeVocal PR folks called us this last month and pointed out that BeVocal was not the provider of the Cingular telephone self-service line that we analyzed and found to be so awful.  The telephone self-service line that BeVocal actually provides for Cingular is limited to pre-paid customers.  Many of the pre-paid customers are folks that are credit-challenged.  What Be Vocal/Nuance claim is that they are able to convince these folks to spend more $ (that they don’t have) with Singular each month. This is a bit like what the Subprime Mortgage lending market is all about.  I view this as a business practice that is morally, if not legally corrupt.  I’m glad that we clarified that.  BeVocal does not provide self-service for all of Cingular’s customers.  Only the poor ones that they can con into spending their food $ on Cingular’s enhanced services.

NASCAR also cares about Cingular name change:  Last month I stated that AT&T changing the Cingular name to AT&T was something that was only important to AT&T and that they should stop dumping on the callers.  I was wrong.  AT&T has sued NASCAR for refusing to change the Cingular logo on Car 31 to the AT&T logo.  It looks like NASCAR and Nextel-Sprint care about the Cingular name change.

 

SMS Addiction; I recently ran into a teenager that ran up an $800 dollar wireless phone bill in just three weeks.  Most of this was caused by sending SMS to his friends at $0.1 a message.  An estimate is that he had to be sending about 40 messages an hour, while he was awake, to accomplish this. This is addictive behavior and has become a serious problem.  Texting-while-driving (TWD) has become such a widespread phenomena, that we’ve got legislation banning it.  It took a number of gruesome and visible accidents to make this happen.  The basic problem with TWD is that sending/receiving a text message while driving is a severe and unarguable distraction.  The argument that virtually everything other than a complete focus on driving is a distraction, becomes mute.  TWD is not only a distraction – it is lethal suicidal behavior. It's one of those modern phenomena that defy explanation, not to mention common sense, and we're seeing the scary scenario more and more: motorists text messaging while driving. In a crowded, traffic-congested state such as ours, drivers must be alert at all times. Use of cell phones while driving already is enough of a hazard. Most of us can relate to near misses with other drivers who are speeding along with a phone stuck to their ear. But text messaging while driving? How can it be done without taking one's eyes off the road?  One in five U.S. drivers between the ages of 18 and 60 who practices what is known as "driving while texting," according to a survey by Nationwide Mutual Insurance. The percentage swells among younger drivers, with 37 percent of those ages 18 to 27 saying they swap messages while on the road, the survey found. The figure drops to 17 percent among drivers 28 to 44. Only 2 percent of those 45 to 60 admitted to the practice. The study was conducted Nov. 3 to Nov. 20 with 1,200 surveyed between the ages of 18 and 60. Reports of accidents in which text messaging was a factor have prompted legislatures in several states, including Washington, Arizona, New Jersey and Connecticut, to consider bans on driving while texting.  In New Jersey, a bill (A-146) that would make driving while text messaging a primary offense. It would carry a $250 fine. The primary-offense status is important: It means that police officers can pull over drivers who are texting while driving. Driving while using a cell phone is a secondary offense -- police can stop a driving cell-phone user only if the officer observes some other violation, such as a broken tail light or an improper turn.

 

Great marketing from TomTom.  I thought that the safety study that TomTom did was really smart.  On of the first examples of really good marketing that I've seen in the mobile/speech area. What TomTom is doing is one of the first examples of marketing that goes beyond trying to address the needs of the early adapter, isn’t this neat, aren't I slick, look-at-me, etc market. This is precisely what is needed to sustain the navigator beyond this early stage but unsustainable market.  I'm a bit older and have had little interest in obtaining a navigator.  My kids and grandkids all have them and love them.  I tried one out and found that I really had a difficult time justifying a device that directed me incorrectly to places that I already knew how to get to, and provided poor directions to go to a place that I did not already know how to get to. With better quality directions so readily available, the navigator appears to solve a non-problem.   On top of it all, I would lose all navigation skills and become totally at the mercy of the device.  The TomTom message is the first one that makes the navigator attractive to a demographic such as mine, which, as you know, is huge and growing and has $ to spend.  Real simple – if my insurance costs are less if I use a navigator, then you have got me interested. Why not get the insurance companies interested in this?  If using speech truly does make things safer while driving, then they should not have any difficulty in providing insurance discounts to drivers that are using speech with their cellphones.

 

Convert VM to text?  At first, I thought these folks weren’t serious.  They are actually offering a service that converts your voice mail into text.  Rather than listening to a voice mail message and actually hearing what the caller is saying, this service lets you convert it to a text message and display it on a tiny cellphone screen. One company that offers this service, claims that it is 90% accurate. Targeted at sales people and lawyers that get lots of voice mail every day and are highly mobile. Lets see now: converting voice mail to text mail permits you to receive a 90% voice mail as an SMS message that you can read while you are driving and likely crash into another car. The target audience being identified as sales people and lawyers suggests that the folks offering this service do not have the slightest clue about the target market.  I can’t imagine that a quality sales person would not care about the content of the voice and want to lose the information that is contained in the voice of the caller.  For the legal community, the fact that text-mail is readily traceable and can be required to be subpoenaed, will clobber its value in the legal community.  Lawyers will routinely avoid e-mail communication in favor of voice mail.  Converting voice mail into text will eliminate the exclusion of voice mail as a private/privileged communication.  One of the services does not actually convert the voice mail into text but rather extracts the “gist” of the voice mail message.  What a great idea! Now we can take all of our voice mail, convert it to text and then ignore it.

 

Walt & Walter’s VUI View: on the Verizon Broadband Support Lines

The Caller’s View from WaltWe had some severe power outages this month that were caused by a faulty local transformer.  In replacing the transformer, the power company had difficulty finding a good ground and managed to fry my DSL board that is provided by Verizon.  This seemed like an opportune time to explore converting to the Verizon Fiber Option broadband offering that Verizon is promoting.  I called the 800-567-6789 number that Verizon listed for broadband sales and service inquiries. What a painfully slow system this is !  Huge delays after every response.  Limited vocabulary but it still gave me the “I’m sorry, I didn’t understand that” a number of times.  Long and useless prompts.  What value in telling the caller that they are at the Main menu ?  Had me validate my phone number two times and when I finally got to the agent, he did not have it and I had to provide it a third time.   The system announced that it was going to check if the FiOS service was available at my address. It finally came back and announced that it was transferring me to an agent.  I finally reached an agent that did not have a clue what I was calling about and started all over again to check if FiOS was available at my address.  He finally determined that it was not available but was not able to tell me when it would be available at my address.  He announced that it has been available in my town for over a year, but not at my address.   It took 163 seconds for the system to figure out what I was calling about.  A human could have done this in 10 seconds, tops.  Unnecessarily wasting over two minutes of the caller’s time is terrible.  Worse – to treat a caller that wants to buy something this way is really bad business.   I would have called Comcast to switch to their broadband service, but, unfortunately, they are just as bad.  I guess that when you are a monopoly for a hundred years, sales & marketing skills just are not needed and developing them is virtually impossible.  After resigning myself to being stuck with Verizon DSL for the foreseeable future, I called the technical support line to get assistance setting up my new modem.  This apparently is outsourced offshore and I had a difficult time understanding the technician that had a heavy accent.  The only positive thing was that he did not say “Great !“ after every phrase that he uttered.

 

Dr. Walter Rolandi examination of the Verizon Broadband customer support line

The Examination Sessions

A Verizon Online Internet Services IVR was the patient today.  It can be reached at 1-800-567-6789.  My task was to call the system and obtain information about Verizon FiOS, Verizon’s Fiber Optic broadband service.   In order to get information about the service, one must provide a telephone number that is in an area where the service is offered.  A friend of Walt Tetschner (and Verizon customer) who lives in Virginia volunteered his number for the examination.

 

To get information about Verizon FiOS, one must first locate the topic in the system’s tree and then be transferred to a CSR who can help.   Only one call was required to complete the task.  It took approximately 163 seconds to get to the point of transfer.

Call Details:

When the system answers, the caller hears a Verizon audicon followed by a brief greeting and announcement that:

 

You’ve reached Verizon Online Internet Services.

 

After approximately 4 seconds of silence, a Spanish option follows:

 

Para Español, marque el dos.

 

Another 2.5 seconds of silence preceded some sort of musical stimulus which lasted 0.44 seconds and then about 1.5 more seconds of silence.   Finally the system says:

 

Starting with the area code please say or enter your account phone number now or say ‘I don’t know it’.  If you’re interested in ordering new service, say, ‘New service’.

 

I responded, providing our volunteered phone number.   After 5 seconds of silence, the system said:

 

Lemme make sure I got that right.

804-NNN-NNNN

Is that correct?

 

I answered, “Yes” and after 11.5 seconds of silence, the system again played the 0.44 musical stimulus and then announced:

 

You’re at the Main Menu.  To start over at any time, say Main Menu.  (ding audicon)

Which are you calling about?  Tech support, your account or orders?

 

Confused, I said nothing.  After 5 seconds of silence, a timeout message that elaborated on the “tech support, your account or orders” options was read.   It included:

 

…to place an order or to check the status of an order, say ‘orders’.

 

Appearing to be my best guess, I said, ‘Orders?’  After about 3.5 seconds of silence, the system said,

 

All right, orders.

If you’re calling about an existing order, say, ‘status’.  

Or, to place a new order, say, ‘new’.

 

Again, I ventured a guess and replied, ‘New?’  After a full 5 seconds of silence, the system asked,

 

Which kind of new service are you interested in?

Service or equipment?

 

Once again mystified, I guessed, ‘Service?’  After 3 seconds of silence, the system asked,

 

So, which service would you like to order? 

DSL, Verizon FiOS or other?

 

Greatly relieved, I replied, ‘FiOS” and after 3 seconds of silence, the system explained that it needed to confirm that the Verizon FiOS service was available in the area of interest.  It read back the telephone I had previously provided and asked if it was the number for which I wanted service.  I answered, ‘yes’.  After 3 seconds of silence, the system announced that it was checking to see if service was available “for that number”.  After 5 seconds of silence, it returned saying that it had checked the line and that the call was being transferred to a customer service agent.

 

The sequence ended with the familiar:

 

By the way, your call may be monitored or recorded to assure quality customer service.

after which the call was transferred.

 

The Diagnosis

1.      While evincing some of the industry’s best practices, the system is nevertheless quite ill.

2.      Finding the FiOS information requires either uncanny luck or near clairvoyant powers of perception.

3.      Almost a third (50 of 163 seconds) of the time needed to stumble toward task completion was spent listening to ‘dead air’.

4.      The menu choices afforded by the system do not naturally seem to suggest what follows.

5.      The system is somewhat anthropomorphic.

6.      Some prompts contain preemptive instructions that pointlessly tell the user how to respond.

7.      Some system prompts are too long or unnecessary.

8.      Use of audicons appeared to be non-systematic.

 

The Prescription

1.      Determine the cause of unexplained silences and reduce or eliminate them.

2.      Tone down artificial attempts to simulate human conversational interaction.

3.      Support a different 800 line for Spanish.

4.      Infuse menus with more “clues” as to where they might lead.

5.      Trim prompts of preemptive and unnecessary content.

6.      Devise a more coherent and informative strategy for the use of audicons or eliminate them.

7.      Trim the ‘call recorded for quality assurance’ cliché prompt down to some minimalistic alternative that serves the same (loathsome) legal purpose.

 

Ironically, this system is better designed than many speech IVRs.  Yet, performing the ostensibly simple task of obtaining FiOS information required a series of lucky guesses.   The pervasive, unpredictable and unexplained silences make using the otherwise acceptably designed system an awkward experience.  If the cause of the silences could be overcome, menus clarified and prompts trimmed and or rewritten, things could get a lot better.

The Prognosis

Reasonably good. 

Contact: Walter Rolandi, Ph.D., The Voice User Interface Company, LLC +1. 803.252.9995, wrolandi@wrolandi.com www.wrolandi.com

 

Thought for the month:  Many of lifes failures are people who did not realize how close they were to success when they gave up. Thomas A. Edison


 

 

Telephone – IVR Applications

 

BBVA chooses AGNITIO KIVOX for internal password reset: BBVA is a multinational financial services group based on people: 95.000 employees, 35 million customers and 1 million shareholders in 32 countries. BBVA and Azertia (IT Systems Integrator) have chosen AGNITIO's (Madrid, Spain) technology for this pionering system of voice authentication. Using this new system, bank employees can reset their passwords for internal IT network, with a simple automated telephone call. KIVOX uses a short and simple dialogue to authenticate biometrically the employee's voice. Currently, the employees that want to reset their passwords have to go through conventional protocols that require personal human assistance. This is a pioneer project in Spain's businesses for biometric voice authentication in telephone transactions. KIVOX can also be used to acces other applications such as voice portals, voice mail or web login into intranet networks using PC microphone or cellular telephones. The solution includes a registration procedure for new users. During registration, specific biometric voice models are generated for each employee using short utterances. The system prompts for ramdom numbers in the verification stage in order to avoid ID fraud based on previous recordings of the user's voice. The system is a result of the latest developments in two emergent technology fields: biometrics and voice technology. www.agnitio.es

 

Angel.com's Virtual Call Center Now Used by Ambient Devices: Ambient Devices has selected Angel.com for a Virtual Call Center to manage customer support and new orders for its growing line of innovative products. Ambient Devices, maker of the popular Brookstone 5-Day Wireless Weather Forecaster, the Ambient Orb and other devices that make Internet information available on everyday objects, turned to Angel.com for a new IVR solution to route and monitor calls, and answer basic customer queries. Using Angel.com's online toolkit, Ambient Devices created a Virtual Call Center that provides many benefits, including a reduction in caller wait time, more efficient use of live agents, and greater visibility into customer needs. For customers, the solution provides a streamlined method to order products and receive basic technical support and advanced personalization options. Supported products include the 5-Day Weather Forecaster, a post-it sized device that automatically receives real-time weather information from AccuWeather.com Prior to the Angel.com Virtual Call Center, Ambient Devices used a customer support line that lacked both interactivity and an advanced queue process. The new IVR solution -- created in less than a week and rolled out to support the 2006 holiday season and beyond -- has decreased wait times and freed agents to spend valuable time working with consumers to order products or receive more advanced technical support. In addition to the benefits of a more efficient support line, the Angel.com Virtual Call Center added immediate value by incorporating an automated product order and payment line -- tasks previously handled by live agents. Ambient Devices brings online information and intelligence to the offline world. The Company's technology enables effortless access to information, such as real-time weather forecasts, stock market activity, sports scores, and much more -- without a PC or internet connection.     Ambient's products include the Five-Day Forecaster, a device that automatically provides a real-time local forecast from AccuWeather.com; and the Orb, a frosted-glass ball that glows different colors to communicate stock market trends, traffic congestion, pollen forecasts, energy pricing and more. Ambient-powered products are available at national retailers such as Brookstone, and through Ambient's licensee partners such as LG. Ambient Devices was founded in 2001. The company is headquartered in Cambridge, Massachusetts, close to the MIT Media Lab where Ambient technologies were originally developed. The company is privately held. www.ambientdevices.com Pritesh Gandhi Ambient Devices,     pgandhi@ambientdevices.com (617) 758-4125

Rosetta Stone Signs Direct Response Contract with Convergys: Convergys Corporation  (NYSE:CVG) has signed a direct response contract with Rosetta Stone (Rosslyn, VA), the publisher of Rosetta Stone language-learning software. The Convergys care solution allows the client to handle increased call volume and expand its media and marketing efforts for its Rosetta Stone language-learning software, thereby increasing market share. Building on 30 years of leadership in the direct response industry, Convergys pioneered for its clients a comprehensive approach to agent training and motivation called "Convergys 5-Star Selling." This innovative methodology improves the selling effectiveness of direct response agents in all vertical markets, across all direct response contact centers -- including home agents, bilingual, and offshore centers. With Convergys 5-Star Selling, not only are a greater number of calls answered for Rosetta Stone, the program produces stronger order conversion rates as well. Rosetta Stone Inc., is a leading provider of language learning software.Rosetta Stone is a revolutionary language-learning program acclaimed for the speed, power, and effectiveness of its Dynamic Immersion method. The company was founded in 1992 on two core beliefs: that the natural way people learn languages as children remains the most successful method for learning new languages; and that interactive CD-ROM and online technology can replicate and activate that immersion method powerfully for learners of any age. www.RosettaStone.com. www.convergys.com CONTACT:  Convergys Corporation, Business and Financial Media - John Pratt +1 513-723-3333 or john.pratt@convergys.com  or  Trade Media - Jeff Hazel +1 513-723-7153 or jeff.hazel@convergys.com 800-788-0822

 

Genesys Helps CPP Customers Gain Faster, More Efficient Service After Losing Valuables: Genesys Telecommunications Laboratories, announced a £4 million order for the Genesys Customer Interaction Management (CIM) platform from the CPP Group Plc (CPP), a leading international life assistance service provider.  CPP will use the CIM platform to support customers whose valuables - such as credit and debit cards, mobile phones, keys and personal identities - have been lost or stolen. The CIM platform will manage inbound and outbound voice channels and will support new voice self-service capabilities to be added.  With the platform, CPP will be able to enhance the customer experience, optimise agent productivity and reduce overall operating costs for the 319,000 inbound and 120,000 outbound interactions agents manage every month.  The implementation of computer telephony integration (CTI) with screen pop and integrated voice self-service will provide CPP agents with greater visibility and management into customer data and calls. This helps create a more cohesive service for customers and greater productivity among agents, as the system automatically identifies the customer before the agent verifies their identity with a number of security questions. Touchbase, the implementation and support partner for the project, will help CPP to design and deploy a multi-channel approach to further enhance productivity, reduce costs and improve customer service. Genesys will be implemented at CPP in UK outbound and inbound voice channels and outbound telemarketing in Spain before being rolled out across the rest of the group's countries of operation. The CPP Group Plc operates in the emerging life assistance market. It helps people take advantage of the opportunities and choices that result from the increasing complexity, mobility and pace of modern life. Its product portfolio provides customers with support and protection for what's important to them, including their plastic cards, mobile phones, keys and identities. Where these are lost or stolen, people are increasingly demanding help to put things right. This is life assistance. CPP has been providing life assistance services for more than 25 years and, with more than 10 million customers and 280 business partners across Europe, North America and Asia, it knows how to do it well. CPP employs over 1,500 staff, who handle 4.3 million service conversations and 9.6 million telemarketing conversations each year. The CPP Group Plc has consistently generated increasing revenue growth. In 2005, group revenue was £168.1 million, an increase of more than 11 per cent over the previous year. This is more than treble the sales level of 2000. www.cpp.co.uk  Contact: Lucille Jackson, Genesys, 0118 9747100, ljackson@genesyslab.co.uk David Radoff, Genesys, 650.466.1078, dradoff@genesyslab.com

 

Pearson Digital Learning Transforms Customer Service Levels with Genesys: Genesys Telecommunications Laboratories, Inc., announced that Pearson Digital Learning, a provider of research-based digital learning solutions, has made it easier for teachers to connect with Pearson Digital Learning support specialists trained in its digital learning products, regardless of caller or agent location. An important part of Pearson Digital Learning's business strategy is ensuring that teachers have access to around-the-clock service and support. To transform the level of service they are providing to teachers, Pearson Digital Learning revamped their current contact center to include e-mail, chat, instant messaging and voice-over-IP multimedia capabilities from Genesys. Offering these multiple communications channels improves Pearson Digital Learning's interaction with teachers who rely on the company's curriculum that spans early foundations through high school graduation, raising the level of achievement for more than 20 million learners in 50,000 schools worldwide. "Many teachers are quite restricted as to when they can find a phone to call the Pearson Digital Learning support center," said Jonathan Mohr, systems manager. "We felt that teachers would be able to more easily reach us from computers within their classrooms. Now by simply logging in to the Pearson Digital Learning website, our teachers can access live, online assistance for faster support without leaving their classrooms." Pearson Digital Learning implemented the Genesys 7.2 Real-Time Interaction suite and Customer Interaction Management (CIM) platform for its core contact center infrastructure. The company also implemented Genesys Workforce Management (WFM). A global company, Pearson Digital Learning is continuously expanding domestically and internationally. Now managers can pull up-to-the-minute statistics on its Scottsdale, Ariz., operations, by simply using a mobile phone. "Pearson can now review total numbers of interactions, numbers of abandoned calls, rates and trends, as well as how the company is performing today versus one year ago today, or even how many inquiries they have received per product," said Randy Brasche, Genesys director, product marketing. "This is critical for establishing a dynamic contact center that monitors real-time knowledge of customer-agent interactions for improved customer service levels."

 

New Mobile Content Service Drives 3G Video Calling As One Italia Launches Service In Italy: A revolutionary new method of accessing content via mobile phones will be launched in April by leading mobile content provider One Italia. The service, powered by a hosted platform from IP Unity Glenayre and Pradac Informatica, will enable Italy's 13 million 3G mobile users to access and download content, such as ringtones and games, via a rich 3G mobile video experience, rather than traditional WAP methods. One Italia has selected IP Unity Glenayre's Versera Video Portal(r) as the user interface and presentation management platform for the deployment. The 3G hosted service from IP Unity Glenayre and leading Italian system integrator Pradac Informatica, will be incorporated into One Italia's content, billing and customer management (CBCM) platform. The complete delivery platform will allow users to easily access, preview and download rich-media content, while being billed directly by One Italia. IP Unity Glenayre offers one of the industry's broadest portfolios of applications, including voicemail, unified messaging, conferencing, SMS, MMS, text to speech, speech recognition, fax, IVR voice portal, color ringback tones, prepaid billing, video portal, video conferencing, videomail and video gaming, all built using open standards based technologies such as VoiceXML.  IP Unity Glenayre's comprehensive multiservice solutions are deployed globally, over best-of-breed media servers and application servers and across traditional and all-IP broadband wireless, wireline and FMC networks. www.ipunity-glenayre.com Pradac informatica is a leading IT innovator. The company is strongly active in R&D, cooperating with Italian Universities and multinational IT firms. The company's mission is to provide a complete set of business, technical and content solutions for mobile portals, including video call applications for 3G mobile subscribers. Pradac Informatica has established its own Mobile Integration Center and is able to provide a turnkey solution for all market sectors. The company is involved in the development of the Mobile Community Framework and in the definition and developments of new standards. One Italia SpA is an IT service company specializing in the realization and distribution of "premium" content - including games, ringtones and community dating - and in developing technology to access content using 3G mobile terminals. One Italia SpA works with 3 Italia, Vodafone and Tim as supplier of mobile content. One Italia is also active online, with the proprietary project LEONARDO.IT, the 5th most accessed Italian web portal, and with its digital advertising division "Intelia", which has more than six million subscribers.

 

West Texas National Bank Lowers Costs and Improves Customer Service with Interactive Intelligence IP Telephony Software: West Texas National Bank has reported reduced costs and improved customer service as a result of deploying enterprise IP telephony software by Interactive Intelligence Inc. (Nasdaq: ININ). The bank replaced nine different traditional TDM-based phone systems across distributed branch offices with the IP-based software, called Enterprise Interaction Center® (EIC). The deployment and move to voice over IP resulted in a 93 percent reduction in long distance phone charges, and the elimination of over 70 phone lines, which equaled savings of about 37 percent. The deployment also enabled the bank to reduce costs associated with repairs and support. By helping to both centralize and automate its call center, the EIC deployment not only improved customer service, but reduced staffing requirements for processing calls by the equivalent of three full-time employees. “Before EIC we were spending about $20,000 per month for long distance charges and $6,000 per month on our data network,” said West Texas National Bank executive VP and COO, Jerry Rogers. “In addition, we had three voice response systems and no automated call distribution capabilities, which not only hampered communications between branches, but made them very expensive. By reducing long distance charges, converging our voice and data networks, eliminating duplicate systems across sites, and centralizing our contact center, we’ve not only cut costs and improved customer service, our employees now feel part of a single bank regardless of their branch location.” Currently, EIC supports the bank’s entire employee base composed of 157 people, including a centralized contact center that services calls for its nine branch offices located throughout West Texas.  EIC, which was sold, designed and implemented by Chicago-based systems integrator, Adapt Telephony Services (http:www.teamadapt.com), provides the bank with SIP-based VoIP switching, voice mail, fax services, unified messaging, auto attendant, interactive voice response, automatic call distribution, and reporting.West Texas National Bank was first prompted to look for a new communications system in late 2004 as a result of multiple mergers, which left the bank with disparate phone systems and isolated branch offices. To address these challenges, the bank began reviewing multiple systems from vendors such as Avaya, Cisco and others. It ultimately selected the Interactive Intelligence software based on its features and ease-of-maintenance. The bank plans to extend EIC’s benefits further by creating additional applications, such as using the software to enable customers to call and record wire transfers 24x7, which employees can then process during normal business hours, according to Rogers. West Texas National Bank is a wholly owned subsidiary of First West Texas Bancshares, Inc. (FWTBS), a one-bank holding company located in Midland, Texas. +1 432.685.6500; www.wtnb.com www.inin.com. Contacts: Lori Wesley, Vice President of Marketing, West Texas National Bank, +1 432.685.6500 lwesley@wtnb.net 

 

Loquendo TTS Installed in over 40 Major Taxi Companies in the UK Using the Autocab Taxi Booking System Powered by GPC Computer Software: Loquendo and GPC Computer Software, the largest manufacturer of taxi management and dispatch systems in the world, announced the integration of Loquendo speech technology into GPC Computer Software's taxi operator solution, Autocab. Autocab (www.autocab.com) is the world's most popular booking and dispatch system, using proven and reliable computer and telecommunications technology to improve every aspect of the taxi operator's business, from booking and dispatch through to accounts and management. It has been installed in hundreds of locations throughout the world. Autocab makes use of an IVR system which guarantees that calls are answered extremely promptly and that jobs booked through the automated system are given priority. Each taxi operator can formulate a set of rules to decide which calls to route via the automated system and which via an operator. The system then speaks to the customer directly, using Loquendo's natural sounding text to speech, and asks whether the customer wants a cab to their current location or whether they wish to speak to an operator. The job is then booked directly onto the system. The service can be further enhanced by inviting customers to text their 3 most frequent journeys: a script is then added to the text to speech and each time the caller phones for a taxi they are automatically offered their 3 nominated journeys. Feedback from customers shows that the IVR, within 2 weeks of installation, handles 17-20% of all incoming calls. Customers benefit greatly with a faster and more professional service, so increasing the customer base, while the efficient and personalised dispatch and invoicing attracts lucrative corporate work. All this brings more work to the taxi driver, but such growth does not mean increased staff costs: over 80% of bookings can be made via text, email or the Internet, leaving call operators free to handle the more complex and time consuming calls. www.loquendo.com.

 

Frederick’s of Hollywood Turns to Voxify Automated Agents for Its Call Center: Voxify (Alameda, CA) announced that specialty retailer Frederick’s of Hollywood will use Voxify technology for its inbound marketing and customer service call center operations.  Frederick’s of Hollywood operates about 150 women’s intimate apparel retail stores in the US, supported by a robust mail-order catalog and online shopping business. Aside from such business leadership as being the first to introduce push-up bras and black lingerie to America, Frederick’s is also a leading innovator in direct-to-consumer marketing, from the creation of acclaimed catalog and online marketing campaigns to the development of a robust multi-channel database marketing program. Voxify Automated Agents will initially handle information-oriented call center calls, such as catalog requests, store locating and order status freeing up live agents to handle revenue-generating and product information calls.  In the future, Frederick’s of Hollywood will be exploring the use of Voxify technology for market research and selected revenue-generating activities. Voxify Automated Agents® are speech recognition-based applications that model the intelligence and personality of a trained customer service agent, allowing them to engage callers in sophisticated dialogue to perform advanced customer service functions, such as reservations, call routing, and account requests. A key benefit of Automated Agents is the reduction or elimination of temporary or seasonal call center staff hiring and training that occurs to meet often overwhelming call traffic spikes. Automated Agents are available ‘on-demand’ to meet unanticipated call spikes and have the conversational skills to consistently provide excellent service to callers at a fifth of the cost of live agents. Frederick’s of Hollywood is an innovative, world-renowned brand that captures the excitement and glamour of Hollywood by offering sexy styles that make women feel romantic, desirable and confident. Pride in our company, its heritage, its integrity and its products will remain the foundation of Frederick’s of Hollywood. Frederick’s innovation, plus its 175 retail stores, highly successful catalog and Internet sales channels, have led the company to become one of the 25 most recognized brand names in the world. To learn more visit: www.fredericks.com

 

 

Telephone – IVR Products/Services/Partnerships/Financials

 

CallMiner Unveils CallMiner Eureka!: CallMiner announced CallMiner Eureka!, a speech analytics solution that automatically analyzes and reports on the content, context, purpose and outcome of every recorded conversation so companies understand why customers are calling and how calls are handled. CallMiner Eureka! accurately mines and analyzes every word of every call, as well as captures acoustic data (tempo, silence and stress), meta-data and customer information, and automatically delivers that information in a way that it can be used and applied to business improvement - out of the box and without the need for customization or costly services.  Additional suite components provide the means for further analysis and reporting, enabling companies to easily and for the first time truly leverage a speech analytics solution to affect business success. CallMiner's software is designed to reflect the fundamental approach that the true substance of conversations cannot be accurately derived from a focus on spoken words alone. In addition to its conceptual and technical superiority, CallMiner is also extraordinarily "IT friendly." Using CallMiner's patent-pending Virtual Server Room (VSR) technology, CallMiner enables organizations to analyze 100% of the content of recorded calls without the need for dedicated computing power, a complex IT infrastructure, or a development team With CallMiner, "partial mining", or sampling and analyzing only a small portion of actual elected data, becomes obsolete. www.callminer.com, or call 239-689-MINE.

 

CallMiner Launches International Operations With Opening Of UK Office: CallMiner announced the opening of their first international base of operations. Located in Slough Berkshire, CallMiner's first overseas stronghold will focus primarily on both growing and satisfying the demand from clients in the United Kingdom and the Northern-Western European region. The UK office will enable the company to better service its existing clients and also to introduce new clients to the virtual goldmine of untapped customer intelligence that lies buried within their existing vast databases of recorded calls. The new office will be managed by Andy Robertson, who has a more than 15-year proven track record of CRM sales, business development and management, including experience with IBM, BDC and SSA Global in the United Kingdom. CallMiner's speech analytics software enables enterprise customers to uncover actionable customer intelligence in call-center recordings. CallMiner has long recognized that the accurate identification and interpretation of dialect is a key component in obtaining actionable customer intelligence from recorded conversations. Accordingly, CallMiner's solution has multiple British dialects built into its core recognition engine, and the software is customized to reflect the intricacies of a client's unique business, customers and marketplace. andy.robertson@callminer.com or sales@callminer.com. www.callminer.com, or call 239-689-MINE.

 

Empirix Launches New Testing and Monitoring Solution for Genesys Environment: Empirix Inc. and Genesys Telecommunications Laboratories, Inc. launched a new automated testing and monitoring solution to allow enterprises to deploy contact centers faster. Called the Hammer Virtual Agent Softphone (VAS) for Genesys, it is the only automated testing and monitoring application for validating voice and data integrity to an agent's desktop for Genesys deployments. This new solution is designed to help customers better understand the performance, consistency, and routing of data for contact centers, leading to a better experience for customers and agents. The Hammer VAS for Genesys emulates an agent's behavior, such as answering a call, receiving information about the caller, transferring the call, and hanging up, thereby enabling organizations to deploy, integrate, and troubleshoot Genesys contact center solutions faster than ever before. One outcome of a test, for instance, would be to ensure that the information a customer entered into an IVR - such as their account number - actually gets delivered to an agent's desktop, negating the need for the agent to ask for the account number again. Thus, enterprises can improve the customer experience while achieving better user adoption and faster ROI on new technology. Empirix's Hammer test systems, known as the gold standard of testing for voice applications and telecommunications equipment, enable organizations to generate high volumes of both TDM and IP test calls to measure functionality and performance of communications networks, along with the applications running on them. Together, Empirix and Genesys are able to emulate thousands of caller and agent interactions in a pre-deployment setting for testing purposes, while using the same methodology in production to proactively monitor and manage application performance. The Hammer VAS for Genesys offers users the ability to:  - Reduce development and QA test time by automatically emulating callers and agents; - Minimize customer and agent frustrations by validating the performance of data delivery to an agent's desktop; and - Deploy contact center technology smoothly. As part of the lifecycle approach to quality, Empirix and Genesys also provide a monitoring solution called OneSight that helps companies proactively identify emerging technology problems before customers or agents are impacted. The result is increased customer and agent retention and decreased operational costs.  The Empirix and Genesys automated testing and proactive monitoring solutions are available as premise-based solutions or as managed services. 1-866-EMPIRIX info@empirix.com www.empirix.com www.genesyslab.com  www.betterinteractions.com

 

TranSched Acquires Ontira: TranSched Systems Limited (Markham, Ontario), a unit of Enghouse Systems Limited (TSX: ESL), announced that they have acquired Ontira Communications (Vancouver, B.C.) Ontira is a leading supplier of Automated Travel Information Systems (ATIS) for the transit and transportation industries, including a variety of solutions including enhanced interactive voice response (IVR) and multi-media systems. TranSched is a full-service provider of enterprise software solutions for the public and private transportation industry. They offer products for scheduling, vehicles, operations, maintenance, sales and dispatch in addition to a variety of specialized applications such as demand-response for paratransit, GPS based fleet location systems, IVR systems for customer inquiries and a complete tour management product. TranSched is a unit of www.transched.com contact: Neil Shafran, Executive Vice President, Enghouse Systems Limited Tel: (905) 946-3200 e-mail: acquire@enghouse.com

 

Co-nexus, Inc. and UTOPY Announce Product Alliance: Co-nexus, Inc. and UTOPY announced a product alliance to further integrate the companies’ flagship products and enhance customer access to important data about the Customer Experience. The Co-nexus, Inc. CXM application is utilized by organizations to record agent-customer interactions. UTOPY Customer Intelligence solutions analyze recorded data allowing unparalleled insight into customers’ current behavior, as well as, the creation of accurate predictive models on what customers and prospects will do in the future. Through an alliance between these two organizations, customer data, captured by CXM, can be efficiently mined and analyzed using UTOPY Customer Intelligence solutions. www.4cxm.com  www.utopy.com 866.44.UTOPY (866.448.8679.) Contact: UTOPY, Shannon Hughes, +1 (415) 621-5700, ext. 37 shannon.hughes@utopy.com  Co-Nexus Brian Daily +1 (713) 934-3902 brian.daily@4cxm.com

 

Intervoice Launches Next-Generation Voice Portals: Intervoice, Inc. (Nasdaq: INTV) unveiled its new next-generation voice portal products to hundreds of its customers during the "Interactions 2007” user conference.  These new voice portal products enable complex, simultaneous voice and data interactions, enriching and refining a caller's experience regardless of the device they are using to access the system.  These next-generation features enable enterprises to give their customers the highest levels of personalized self-service whether they are using a telephone, a computer or a mobile phone, and are part of Intervoice's unified communications strategy for the "mobile generation.”   With a live demonstrator using a web-enabled 3G mobile phone, a "typical traveler” onstage interacted with an airline's reservation system using simultaneous voice and data access. He chose to view the flight schedules and seat assignment options on the touch screen, clicked to choose his flight and the spoke his seat selection.  Later he received a text message from the airline along with a link to the airline's remote contact center for additional information. Clicking on the link, he accessed the contact center, and clicked again to speak with a live reservations agent, completing a multi-step process that usually takes many minutes in less than 60 seconds. The demonstration underscored how rapidly, smoothly and efficiently a customer's needs can be met with simultaneous voice-and-visual access from a single device. www.intervoice.com/index.php/solutions_self_service.html   www.intervoice.com.

 

Microsoft buying Tellme: Microsoft announced that it is buying privately held speech recognition maker Tellme Networks in a deal believed to be in the range of $800 million: With the deal, Microsoft gains a company with deep expertise in speech recognition and the intersection of voice and data, an area of keen interest to the Redmond, Wash.-based software giant. CNET News.com reported on Monday that a deal was in the works and expected to come this week. The companies did not disclose the purchase price or other financial terms of the deal, which they said is expected to close in the second quarter of the year. Earlier this week, The Wall Street Journal reported that the Tellme was expected to fetch $800 million. There are many ways that Microsoft could incorporate Tellme's technology, ranging from its work in unifying business telephony and e-mail systems, to adding speech technology to existing software to bulking up its Live Search for mobile phones. The company also said it will build a platform on which other developers will be able to build speech-based applications.  Much of Tellme's recent work has focused on mobile devices. The company recently started testing a cellphone application that allows people to say the information they are looking for and have data sent to their phone. A second service, also in testing, allows people to send a text message with a search query and have the result sent back via text message. In an interview earlier this month, Raikes talked up the role mobile devices will play in Microsoft's plans, as well as the potential for merging voice and data, but declined to comment specifically on speculation that the company would acquire Tellme. Raikes and Tellme CEO Mike McCue on Wednesday talked up fundamental changes that speech recognition can bring to the telephone, a device that has changed relatively little in decades.  "This in many ways to me represents dial tone 2.0," McCue said in a conference call with reporters. Tellme was seen as a potential target for an initial public offering last year, though it never ended up filing for a stock sale. More recently, the company has been the subject of takeover rumors, including reports that it would be bought by Google or Microsoft. Whether to pursue going public or being acquired is a big question for start-ups, according to Kevin Harvey, a partner at major Tellme investor Benchmark Capital.  "In Tellme's case, the team has a very broad and expansive vision for the collision of voice and information services," Harvey said Wednesday. "I think ultimately, it was clear that (the question) could be more fulfilled in the context of Microsoft...the company clearly did have the financial performance that it needed for an IPO." Mountain View, Calif.-based Tellme, which has 320 employees, is profitable and has raised more than $230 million through several rounds of venture capital, the last of which came in October 2000. Microsoft said that it expects Tellme's executives and staff to join Microsoft following the deal's close and added that it plans to maintain Tellme's existing services. In addition to directly operating a voice portal for consumers, Tellme's technology is used by large companies such as FedEx, American Airlines and American Express to power their automated telephone systems. During the conference call, Raikes and McCue noted that half of all directory assistance calls are made using Tellme's technology, meaning that one in three Americans use its technology each year. Although Tellme will become part of Raikes' business software unit, Microsoft also plans to tap the technology to bolster its competition against Google and others in the mobile search business. "It's going to extend broadly across the company," Raikes said.

SER Launches Latest Version of CPS Enterprise Edition release 3.0 SER Solutions, Inc. announced the general availability of CPS Enterprise Edition 3.0  (CPS E2), the latest version of its next-generation outbound call management solution.  CPS E2 offers integrated inbound, call recording, and speech analytics; and powerful call management options that enable contact centers to further optimize their productivity, improve customer interactions, unify outbound and inbound campaigns, and monitor overall business performance.  The CPS E2 open architecture supports Microsoft platforms (Windows, SQL, and .NET) and XML standards making it easy to interface with existing applications.  The newest release offers advanced capabilities to further improve the outcome of every customer interaction while maximizing productivity and facilitating operational efficiency.  The features include: Inbound Functionality.  Contact centers can effortlessly leverage agents for outbound, inbound, or blended calls to address campaign specific needs and optimize agent uptime.  CPS E2 provides inbound functionality through the use of the dialer, without the use of an ACD. Universal Campaign Management.  Contact centers can put an end to separate records and strategies for outbound and inbound calls.  Universal Campaign Management tightly integrates the two and allows contact centers to leverage advanced list management and call treatment capabilities—as well as our call disposition strategies and unified reporting—on all of calls, whether they are initiated by agents or customers.  Contact centers can now maintain a single record for both outbound and inbound interactions, consolidating customer data into a comprehensive profile and giving agents the information they need to make the most of every call.  Built-in Call Recording.  Contact centers can leverage built-in call recording to ensure compliance, improve agent performance, maintain consistency, and maximize campaign effectiveness.

 

VPI and SER Enter Partnership: VPI (Voice Print International, Inc.) (), and SER announced their strategic partnership. The integrated technologies will enable organizations to extend the value of their call recordings by leveraging sophisticated speech analytics tools. VPI’s Activ! Performance Suite and Prioriti Interactions Suite are comprised of interactions recording and WFO solutions developed for organizations in the private and public sector, respectively. In keeping with the company’s dedication to providing its customers with the most advanced, effective solutions available today, VPI is integrating SER’s speech analytics technology into both of its award-winning product suites. www.VPI-corp.com.  SER is headquartered in Dulles, Virginia with operations in North America and Europe. www.ser.com

 

SpeechCycle Home PageSpeechCycle Closes $10 Million Financing Led by M/C Venture Partners: SpeechCycle Inc. announced the completion of a $10 million round of equity financing. The funding, SpeechCycle’s first institutional round, was led by M/C Venture Partners. Additionally, Matthew Rubins, General Partner for M/C Venture Partners, will join SpeechCycle’s Board of Directors. SpeechCycle’s LevelOne automated agents, comprising the industry’s only triple play automation suite, are currently used by major cable and telecom service providers for broadband, video and digital phone technical support. SpeechCycle will use the new funding to aggressively expand sales and marketing both domestically and internationally, to extend its current product offerings, and for the rapid development of new automated agents. www.speechcycle.com. M/C Venture Partners is a venture capital firm focused exclusively on the communications, media, and information technology sectors. The firm has invested over $1.8 Billion into nearly 80 companies in those sectors. Companies the firm has backed include Metro PCS, TeleCorp PCS, Triad Cellular, Crowley Cellular, and Brooks Fiber. Currently investing M/C Venture Partners VI, a $550 million venture capital fund, the firm has strong institutional backing from the nation's leading pension funds and endowments as well as a long track record of success. www.mcventurepartners.com.

TuVox Awarded Patent for SmartGen Technology : TuVox (Cupertino, Calif.) announced that it has been awarded U.S. patent Automatic generation of voice content for a voice response system Patent # 7,177,817 from the USPTO.  SmartGen enables enterprises to build, manage and update highly sophisticated conversational speech applications using their existing content, data and business processes.  TuVox customers such as Apple, TiVo, Telecom New Zealand and Wachovia are already leveraging SmartGen technology to quickly auto-generate natural language speech applications from their existing knowledge bases and web FAQ content.  TuVox SmartGen technology speeds up the time to build and deliver sophisticated speech applications by enabling companies to automatically create a first iteration of a conversational speech application using the existing content and business processes already built into their Web and enterprise software applications.   “TuVox SmartGen technology dramatically reduces the time, complexity and cost of building and maintaining enterprise speech applications for our customers,” said Ashok Khosla, Co-Founder and CTO, TuVox.  “We are very pleased to have secured the patent for SmartGen, and with a number of additional patents pending, we look forward to continuing to build upon our history of technical excellence and innovation.” www.tuvox.com Contact: Kristi Kilpatrick, 925-964-0671 kkilpatrick@tuvox.com

 

Telstra and VeCommerce join forces: Telstra has signed a memorandum of understanding (MOU) with voice self-service solutions company VeCommerce to jointly develop and support speech-enabled self service and automation opportunities across Australia.  The relationship with VeCommerce supports Telstra’s strategy to be market leader in contact centre solutions, by providing customers with an end to end solutions capability for their contact centre transformation. Director of the Telstra Contact Centre and Collaboration Solutions Group, Ms Agnes Sheehan, said Telstra has formed this relationship with VeCommerce because of its local and overseas experience in delivering speech-enabled self service and automation applications.  “VeCommerce has proven experience in delivering speech-enabled self service and automation solutions, particularly around financial services and government applications,” Ms Sheehan said. “We are seeing an increased uptake of self service and automation as enterprises strive to improve customer service at reduced cost. This partnership enables Telstra and VeCommerce to rapidly deploy leading, automated speech applications to our customers utilising ‘best-fit’ solutions".

 

VoiceObjects Technology to Be Integrated in SAP NetWeaver: VoiceObjects announced that SAP AG (NYSE: SAP) will be integrating VoiceObjects’ phone application server technology in SAP NetWeaver. The technology will enable easy input and access to SAP applications via the telephone. The arrangement is made possible by a software license and distribution agreement recently signed by the companies. The VoiceObjects phone application server technology that will be included in SAP NetWeaver will enable the easy creation and deployment of voice-driven applications that work with SAP applications. Voice-enabled applications use speech recognition to receive data and use computer-generated speech (i.e., text-to-speech) or audio recordings to deliver a response. For example, a voice-driven application could enable orders to be placed and tracked over the telephone by customers or company employees.The VoiceObjects phone application server technology enables voice-driven applications to be deployed without modification to backend SAP applications or the creation of new middleware. The technology also includes media platform drivers that link all the most common third-party IVR systems, including those from Avaya, Genesys, and Nortel, to SAP applications (650) 288-0299  www.voiceobjects.com

 

VoiceRite Achieves Cisco Advanced Unified Communications Specialization: VoiceRite Inc has met all criteria to achieve a Cisco Advanced Unified Communications Specialization. In addition, VoiceRite Inc has met the resource requirements for a Advanced Unified Communications Specialization and demonstrated qualifications to support customers with their Advanced Unified Communications.

 

 

Telephone – Messaging Applications/Products/Services/Partnerships/Financials

 

 

Newly Formed 2ndWave Software Acquires Amcom: 2ndWave Software has acquired Amcom Software. The recently formed 2ndWave Software, led by former HighJump Software executives Chris Heim and Dan Mayleben, chose Amcom as their first acquisition based on the company's reputation in the markets it serves, a solid technology platform and a prestigious client roster. Founded nearly 25 years ago by Jack Collins, Amcom has over 400 customers including Duke University, Stanford Medical Center, Cleveland Clinic, New York Presbyterian, Cedars-Sinai Health System, Intel Corporation and the U.S. Army. Amcom's software solutions are used to automate mission critical communications and improve enterprise-wide communications. Customers benefit with a central, standards-based communication platform proven to reduce cost and increase efficiencies by providing self-service and faster, more accurate call routing. According to a U.S. News and World report ranking, over 70-percent of "America's Best Hospitals" use Amcom to improve enterprise-wide communications. Following the planned retirement of Amcom CEO and Founder, Jack Collins, Heim will take on the role of CEO and Mayleben will be appointed CFO of Amcom. The company will retain its name, company headquarters, management team and employee base. Amcom Software provides mission-critical communications technology solutions for organizations that depend on speed, accuracy, and productivity to support day-to-day business continuity and event-driven communications. Amcom's standards-based technology solutions are used by more than 400 blue-chip organizations in healthcare, education, finance, utilities and government agencies. Amcom customers include Stanford University Medical Center, Emory University, Banner Health System, Cedars Sinai Medical Center, Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center, U.S. Department of the Army, Yale University, New York Presbyterian University Hospital, Vanderbilt University Medical Center, Yale New Haven Hospital, Duke University Medical Center, the U.S. Marines and the U.S. Navy. (800) 852-8935 or go to www.amcomsoftware.com   Formed in early 2007, 2ndWave Software was created by Minneapolis-based technology veterans Chris Heim and Dan Mayleben. Formed in partnership with CIBC Capital Partners, the company targets stable small to mid-sized software companies with niche market leadership and room for operational improvement and growth. 2ndWave Software will assist management teams in growing the business while evaluating opportunities to combine complimentary software businesses. www.2ndwavesoftware.com. Amcom Software 2ndWave Software Chris Heim, 612-965-1901 chris@2ndwavesoftware.com  or Amcom Software Michelle Gjerde, 612-710-8148 mgjerde@amcomsoft.com  

 

AtHoc's Emergency Notification System Achieves CAP Compliance: AtHoc announced the company's emergency alerting and management offerings are compliant with the Common Alerting Protocol (CAP), a standard created by the Organization for the Advancement of Structured Information Standards (OASIS). AtHoc is a contributing member of OASIS. CAP is an open, non-proprietary format for exchanging all types of hazard warnings and emergency alerts over disparate, network-based emergency management systems. AtHoc's systems are consistent with the OASIS CAP suggestions for interoperability between emergency management and alerting systems, including network alerting, radios, public address systems, telephony, etc. CAP is one of several interface options that support the ability for AtHoc's systems to communicate with network alerting, sirens, telephony and emergency broadcast systems, creating an overarching, multi-channel alerting system. Because the AtHoc product line includes a powerful alert management console aimed at launching multiple alerting systems through the click of a mouse, now any CAP-compliant system can easily interoperate with the AtHoc offerings. The AtHoc system functions as a CAP server, enabling the input and output of CAP messages. OASIS is a not-for-profit global consortium that drives the development, convergence and adoption of e-business standards. Companies interested in adopting CAP within their product lines should visit the OASIS Web site at www.oasis-open.org. AtHoc, Inc. provides enterprise-class, network-centric alert delivery and management systems for emergency notifications, force protection readiness, anti-terror warnings and critical communications. AtHoc offers a broad set of alerting solutions for government and defense agencies and commercial enterprises, including IWSAlerts™ for network-centric emergency notifications; C2Alerts™ for targeted user alerts in command and control / C4I operations centers; KMAlerts for knowledge and intelligence dissemination; and EmployeeAlerts™ for corporate emergency communications. AtHoc has partnered with Microsoft, Northrop Grumman, Unisys and IBM to bring these notification solutions to the enterprise market. The U.S. Strategic Command, U.S. Air Force, U.S. Navy, PricewaterhouseCoopers, Boeing, eBay and Juniper Networks are some of the world-class organizations that have selected and deployed AtHoc for their critical enterprise notification needs. www.athoc.com.

 

PepsiAmericas Deploys CallXpress Unified Communications: Applied Voice & Speech Technologies, Inc. (AVST) announced that its flagship product, CallXpress, was chosen to replace an aging Centigram voice mail system at a PepsiAmericas warehousing distribution center based in New Orleans.  CallXpress was specifically selected by PepsiAmericas’ IT department because it minimized the training pain for employees and offered significant time savings for their system administrator. The Pepsi distribution center that services the greater New Orleans area was using an aging Centigram system that crashed and could not be repaired.  This major distribution center services clients that include large grocery stores, fast food and hotel chains, as well as convenience stores, restaurants, gas stations and any business that sells Pepsi products.  The distribution center is a 24x7 operation with heavy inbound call traffic requiring immediate customer service assistance.  The nature of the business for this Pepsi distribution center dictated that a new communications system must be operational immediately. CallXpress was introduced to Pepsi by Shared Technologies Inc. (STI), an AVST authorized reseller.  Because Pepsi was operating without a voice mail system, STI recognized the need for a reliable communications solution that could be fully deployed within a matter of days.  “The entire process from purchase to operational took only ten days,” said Kevin Mobley, Warehouse Manager of PepsiAmericas New Orleans distribution center. “The most impressive part was that CallXpress installed seamlessly and our employees were able to use it right away.” PepsiAmericas’ key requirement was that its voice mail system could integrate into their existing Nortel PBX and emulate the old Centigram system so that the company would not have to invest time and money in retraining its workforce.  CallXpress offers the most complete set of migration options from early generation products that are approaching end-of-life.  “CallXpress mirrored our old Centigram telephone user interface perfectly,” added Mobley.  “The whole transition to our new CallXpress system went smoothly and system administration is so much easier; new mailboxes can be added in a matter of minutes vs. hours.” Initially, PepsiAmericas sought a communications system that offered the basic benefits of standard voice mail and call transfer capabilities.  But its employees are now taking advantage of a variety of advanced call processing features.  For example, CallXpress offers a multi-level automated attendant that provides more options to callers to help them get to the right extension.  Instead of getting routed to a general line, callers are quickly transferred to the right person who can handle the call most appropriately and efficiently.  In addition, CallXpress offers a separation between night and day attendant, which was not available with the old Centigram system.  Again, this provides a more efficient means of handling incoming calls; the night message directs callers to the emergency hotline whereas the day message directs them to the appropriate customer service representative. In the near future, PepsiAmericas plans to rollout unified messaging features offered by CallXpress.  Many Pepsi employees travel extensively in a sales capacity.  By integrating voice messages into Microsoft Outlook® this feature will help them to stay connected while obtaining new business. www.sharedtechnologies.com. www.avst.com

 

CallWave Introduces Vtxt  CallWave, Inc. (NASDAQ:CALL) (Santa Barbara, California) announced the Company's Vtxt service that transforms mobile voicemail into readable, searchable and storable content. Incorporating CallWave's proprietary speech recognition and WEB 2.0 visual voicemail technology, the Vtxt service allows subscribers to read the gist of their voicemail on their handset, manage and reply to voice and text messages from a personal web page, and search a permanent archive of voice and text messages. The service is free during the beta trial. It will be available nationwide in calendar year second quarter of 2007 at www.callwave.com. All services will be available for private-label to carrier partners. The CallWave Vtxt service is built upon voicemail-optimized speech recognition technology and a managed services architecture that offers unlimited storage. This enables the Vtxt service to function without requiring live operator transcription and expands the market to include privacy concerned consumers and public corporation users who are subject to non-disclosure laws.  CallWave has simplified the application of speech-to-text recognition technology by providing the gist of your missed calls, delivered via SMS to the handset. Rather than receiving multiple SMS messages of a completely transcribed call, subscribers can review the essence of a voice message on their handset and determine if a callback or text reply is necessary. Users will be able to hear the full message by accessing their voicemail on the handset, in email and on their personal web archive, depending on their service level. "Our alpha trials have revealed that busy professionals want to know one simple thing from their voice messages. Namely, if and how quickly they need to return a particular call," added Hofstatter. "We have simplified the answer to this question by delivering the gist of a message on the handset rather than trying to transcribe every call word-for-word." CallWave's GIST technology delivers General Information on the Subject and Timing of a missed call, sent to the handset via a single SMS. It combines caller ID, name, city and state, and information on the subject and timing of the call. This enables the subscriber to determine if they need to immediate reply via callback or SMS from the handset. If a message is long or critical, the full content can be accessed via the handset or the desktop. The GIST design is based upon the way busy professionals and email centric Internet users manage their voicemail and mobile email. Often times, they reply to a missed message without ever, or only partially, listening to the voicemail. And like mobile email, they want to be able to fully review, search and find complete messages on their desktop if they skipped something on the handheld. For mobile users who require a full, word-for-word translation of voicemail delivered via multiple SMS messages to the handset or the desktop, the CallWave platform will integrate with live operator transcription vendors. Industry's first service to converge voice and text content on a personal web page  The CallWave Vtxt service supports voicemail review, desktop texting and callback from a personal web page. By integrating both voice and text on the desktop, subscribers can more easily and rapidly reply to their messages when and how they want. Through this process, the technology is also organizing the subscriber's mobile contacts into a network-based directory onto a secure personal web page. "By making it easy to reply to voicemail via text, we have proven to dramatically increase SMS adoption and daily usage," said Hofstatter. "By converging voice and text and making the phone and PC interoperable, text becomes the preferred method of managing and responding to voicemail. For carriers, this evolves voicemail from a one-size-fits-all cost to a revenue generating service specifically designed for more sophisticated, demanding customers."  Today's mobile consumers are also heavy Internet users. They are baffled by the loss of messages from their voicemail box. They want visual, organized and searchable archives of all their missed calls, voice messages, text messages, contacts, and more. Currently, this information is purged from the network by service providers after a specified period of time or limited by the storage capacity on the handset. CallWave Vtxt services allow subscribers to retain all this information permanently. Phone information is automatically populated on the subscriber's personal web page for easy access and management on any desktop, at any time. "The Internet search and portal providers never throw content away, and for good reason. Well organized personally relevant information is very sticky stuff. We are bringing these customer retention benefits to voicemail and text messaging," continued Hofstatter. "Our managed services platform supports the unlimited storage requirements essential to archiving, organizing and interacting with daily calls and voice and text messages while being able to permanently store and retrieve that information at any time. Furthermore, through the creation of these personal phone archives, we are actively engaging customers on a daily basis to create the ultimate retention solution and online marketing engine.". www.callwave.com.  Contact:CallWave Inc. Kelly Delany, 805-690-4040 (Media) kelly.delany@callwave.com Patrick Todd, 805-690-4188 (Investor) patrick.todd@callwave.com or Rohlan PR Elizabeth Cahill, 323-627-7878 lcahill@callwave.com

 

Greater Baltimore Medical Center Uses 3n Mass Notification System for Emergency Communication, Staff Recalls, and Joint Commission Compliance  Greater Baltimore Medical Center (GBMC) is using the 3n mass notification system from 3n (National Notification Network), the leading mass notification system provider, to automate emergency and routine communications with employees. Recognized in U.S. News & World Report’s "America’s Best Hospitals" nine times as one of the Top 50 hospitals in the United States for cancer care, digestive disorders, gynecology and otolaryngology, GBMC uses the 3n system for all its large-scale communication needs, including assembling executives for Joint Commission visits, staffing the emergency room during shortages, running decontamination team drills, performing annual callbacks, and managing maintenance and grounds activities. "3n has completely revolutionized our response rate to emergencies," explained Linda Henning, Telecommunications Manager for GBMC. "Due to our proximity to Washington, D.C. and the U.S. Army Garrison Aberdeen Proving Ground, terrorism is never far from our minds. A reliable, secure, always-available emergency communication system is a critical component of GBMC’s emergency plan, which is why we chose 3n. The 3n system is exceptionally secure and did not require GBMC to purchase or maintain any equipment or additional phone lines. Additionally, the 3n system is extremely user-friendly and enables us to save an immense amount of time in contacting our staff with one call instead of many people making many calls. GBMC includes Greater Baltimore Medical Center (GBMC), Central Maryland’s leading community hospital; Hospice of Baltimore, which provides comfort and care to patients with life-limiting illnesses; and the GBMC Foundation, which supports the GBMC mission by managing fundraising efforts. The 292-bed Medical Center, located on a beautiful suburban campus, serves nearly 22,000 inpatients annually and provides approximately 60,000 emergency room visits. For more information, go to www.gbmc.org

 

Esnatech and Iwatsu Voice Networks Introduce Unified Communications for the SMB marketplace with Their: Esna Technologies Inc. (Esnatech) & Iwatsu Voice Networks (IVN) announced they have merged Esna's Telephony office-LinX Unified communications solution with the ECS IP telephony Platform from Iwatsu to deliver the new Enterprise Communication Suite for small and medium size companies. The new Enterprise Communication Suite provides the unification of telephony, mobility, messaging, and enterprise presence to allow SMB companies to cost effectively change they way they communicate from latent "inbox" response to proactive real time live communications.. ECS has dynamic support for SIP, H.323, TDM, & VoIP in one platform. The merger of the Enterprise communication suite allows Iwatsu and Esnatech to be the first enterprise telephony provider to seamlessly integrate a unified communication suite as part of it's core telephony offering. The merger of these products through SIP integration reduces the cost of hardware, provides flexibility in terms of deployment location and remote site support, as well as support for high availability and resiliency initiatives. The Iwatsu Enterprise CommunicationSuite is already tightly integrated with Microsoft Windows, Exchange, Office, Terminal Services and Outlook. It can be administered directly from an organization's Microsoft Management Console or through Terminal Services over the web. Users can be managed through Active Directory and Group Policy.  www.iwatsu.com www.esnatech.com

 

Read Your Voicemail’ With TextTalk, New Voice to Text Technology From FreedomVOICE Systems A new voice to text solution that enables you to “read your voicemail,” has been launched by FreedomVOICE Systems, a provider of a wide array of integrated virtual office tools. TalkText is a voice to text service that uses advanced voice recognition technology to convert voicemail messages to e-mail. Powered by SimulScribe™, TalkText allows you to read your voicemail messages in locations where listening to telephone messages would be inappropriate. FreedomVOICE Systems officials said they selected New York City-based SimulScribe because of its unique capabilities and cutting edge technology. TalkText employs high-level voice recognition software and advanced proprietary algorithms, developed by SimulScribe, to convert voice messages to email. According to company officials, the average turn-around time is about two to five minutes, depending on the length of the message. FreedomVOICE Systems’ research suggests some professionals spend many hours every week listening to voicemail. “Attorneys, salesmen and many others receive a large volume of messages which they then must listen to and sort through,” said Thomas. “With TalkText, they can scan the content of their messages and even use text searching tools like Google. Whether they are in a meeting, traveling or on the golf course, they can instantly see who called and what was said. And, they won't have to listen to all of their messages to find out about an important missed call.”  Company officials said TalkText in a natural add-on to FreedomVOICE Systems’ virtual office tools which already deliver fax, voice and email to the user’s designated Internet location. “Now, they’ll enjoy the added benefit of being able to read voicemail as text. It’s automated, secure and time-freeing,” said Thomas.  SimulScribe converts voicemail to text and delivers it via email, SMS text messages and web interface. Voicemail transcribed through SimulScribe’s patented technology is delivered in near real-time with the caller’s phone number in the subject line, transcribed voice message in the email body and an attached .wav file of the original audio. SimulScribe provides unlimited voicemail box storage and the voice recognition system has a transcription accuracy of over 90 percent. The Company’s website is SimulScribe.com Founded in 1996, FreedomVOICE Systems (FVS) develops and markets a comprehensive slate of integrated virtual office tools that allow businesses and professional offices to interact more effectively with their customers, clients, patients and associates. Its latest innovation is TalkText, which uses voice to text technology, allowing you to read your voicemail. FVS’ feature-rich systems and flexible technology enable users to enhance their image, communicate seamlessly whether by voice, fax or email, track marketing effectiveness and promote their service by increasing their availability. The company offers a wide array of products and services from 800-number toll free services to more advanced unified communications systems. 800-477-1477 or visit www.freedomvoice.com.

 

Microsoft unveils speech recognition phone system: Microsoft has announced a phone system with speech recognition technology, designed to give small businesses a flexible alternative to a public branch exchange (PBX). The Microsoft Response Point phone system is being launched at Microsoft's second annual Small Business Summit, held in Washington and online. Microsoft expects about 30,000 small businesses and partners in all to participate. The system includes both software and phones, and was designed to be easy to install and manage, said Jeff Smith, a senior product manager at Microsoft. Also included in the Response Point system is a PC-based management console so anyone familiar with a PC environment can make changes or manage the system. Phone calls on the system are designed to be easy to make by pressing the "Response Point" button on the phone and telling the system who you want to call. For example, a user could say "Call Jeff at work" and the system will dial that number based on the contact information entered into the Response Point directory, Smith said. Response Point can be set up either as a Voice over IP (VoIP) system or one that uses traditional phone lines, he added. The team that built the Response Point system acted as an independently funded startup within Microsoft, which gave it the advantage of developing the product "from the ground up" for small businesses without having to work with other product teams, Smith said. The Microsoft Response Point system will be available this year. Microsoft is not yet disclosing the pricing, but Smith said it would be "competitive." He said typical small-business PBXs cost from about US$5,000 (£2,500) to more than $10,000 (£5,000).

 

One Voice Launches Media Center Communicator Version 3: One Voice Technologies, Inc. (OTCBB: ONEV), announced the availability of its new Media Center Communicator™ version 3 for Windows Vista Media Center. Media Center Communicator allows users to simply speak to play music, view photos and videos, watch TV, place Skype calls and control your Xbox 360. Media Center Communicator MSRP is $79.95 with a 30-day trial download version now available. http://www.onev.com/mcc Imagine walking into your home and using your voice to tell your Media Center to play MP3 or iTunes music, call to order a pizza , set the thermostat or home theater lighting, play a photo slideshow, watch and record live TV, read and send E-mail or video chat with a friend. Media Center Communicator delivers on this vision today! Features include: • Simple to use voice commands • No voice training required • High accuracy with wide range of accents • Play MP3 or Apple iTunes music using voice commands • PC-to-Phone calling using Skype to anywhere worldwide • Control up to five Xbox 360 game consoles using voice commands • Home automation for setting thermostats, lighting, security cameras and much more • Read and send email • View photos and photo slideshows • Create your own custom voice macros to launch websites and applications • Works with Microsoft Windows Media Center DVD players (Sony and Niveus). Recommended System Specs: • Windows Vista Home Premium or Windows Vista Ultimate • Intel Pentium 4 3.0 GHz or higher with HT • 1 GB RAM • 350 MB free disk space • Quality microphone (not included).

 

Ontario Systems Uses NMS Communications’ Vision VoiceXML Server to NMS Communications (NASDAQ: NMSS) announced that Ontario Systems (Muncie, Ind.)  is using NMS’s Vision VoiceXML server to provide new features in its Verified Contacts right-party contact system to make its customers even more productive. Ontario Systems’ Verified Contacts system uses dialing and interactive voice response technology to increase right-party contacts. As the predictive dialer senses an answer on an outbound call, the interactive voice response functionality uses pre-recorded messages in conjunction with the Vision server’s text-to-speech technology to speak the contact’s name to ask for the account holder or party responsible for the debt. With this functionality, Ontario Systems’ applications can quickly validate that the right person answered the phone, increasing an account representative’s opportunity to collect a payment or a promise-to-pay or to resolve customer satisfaction issues on an account. NMS’s Vision VoiceXML Server provides operators and application providers like Ontario Systems the ability to rapidly develop and deploy new, innovative voice and video applications for IP, PSTN and 3G-324M networks and quickly assimilate new features such as text-to-speech–enabled functionality within their interactive voice response applications. Ontario Systems, LLC provides debt collection software to organizations that manage large volumes of accounts receivables. These include hospitals, collection agencies, collection attorneys and bankcard issuers. www.ontariosystems.com

 

Prairie Voice Services Announces Key Role In Industry's First Completely Virtual, Automated Collections Agency: Prairie Voice Services (Omaha, NE) announced that the company is playing a key role as the automated messaging provider for Bridgeforce's new Collections Marketing Center (CMC) project. Bridgeforce, a recognized thought leader in collections strategies and collections technology optimizations, has launched the industry's first completely virtual, automated collections agency (patent pending) with easily customizable applications capable of processing many types of past due debt including credit cards, mortgage payments, healthcare receivables, telecom and utility bills, and an array of others. Prairie Voice Services brings the partnership over fifteen years of experience in interactive calling and messaging alerts, along with industry leadership in the automated collections field. www.prairiev.com Collections Marketing Center (CMC) is the industry's first completely virtual, automated collections agency, with easily customizable applications capable of processing many types of past due debt including but not limited to credit cards, mortgage payments, healthcare receivables, telecom and utility bills. CMC was invented and launched by Bridgeforce, Inc., a business technology and strategy solutions firm headquartered in Newark, Delaware. www.collectionsmarketing.com Bridgeforce provides expert consulting services in the strategies, systems and tools required to maximize the value of customer relationships. www.bridgeforce.com Contact: Jay Lake, Prairie Voice Services 402.398.4244 jayl@prairiev.com

Silverlink Completes a Strong 2006 with Revenue Growth of 80 Percent:  Silverlink (Burlington, Massachusetts) announced strong sales growth and market penetration in 2006. Revenue growth was an impressive 80 percent supported by a broad range of product and customer achievements. Access to healthcare information is more important than ever for health plan members and patients to help drive decisions, change behaviors and improve outcomes. As a leader in providing HIPAA-compliant, automated and interactive call programs to health plans, Silverlink understands the issues paramount to success in automated calling including personalization, ease of use, and being able to collect data in real-time,. Silverlink’s 30,000 call programs have helped customers reach goals of improving member communications, affecting better health behavior and lowering operational costs  Silverlink’s considerable achievements in 2006 included: * Released the next generation of Silverlink Advanced Visual Voice Interface (SAVVI), increasing inbound capabilities such as call center overflow, handling temporary call volume surges and clinical management features; *Introduced a new Quality and Accreditation (Q&A) Solution Suite to help health plans improve quantifiable measures of their services through HEDIS and NCQA scores; *Marked customer successes including helping Cariten Senior Health reach out to 30,000 Medicare members with flu shot reminders and education, achieving a 50 percent success rate; *Worked with customer Human Arc to reach seniors who are both Medicare and Medicaid eligible with information and ability to transfer to a live agent, pursue enrollment in a Medicare Savings Program (MSP) or a Medicare Part D program. The calls were delivered in English and Spanish and results far exceeded anything done via mail or other communications vehicles; *Partnered with Healthwise, the leading provider of consumer health information to extend the reach of evidence-based information through Silverlink’s personalized and interactive Health and Disease Management calls; *Partnered with Gorman Health Group to provide Medicare Managed Care plans access to world-class Medicare/Medicaid communication strategies; *Relocated to new headquarters, tripling in space and building out the company’s world-class network operations center; *Elected Arthur H. Spiegel III to Silverlink’s Board of Directors bringing his more than 35 years of healthcare expertise to support and strengthen the company’s strategies and direction.

SoundBite Announces Second Annual User Group Meeting: SoundBite Communications Inc., announced that its second annual user group meeting will be held June 20-22, 2007 at the Charles Hotel in Cambridge, MA. The educational forum brings together SoundBite customers, prospects, partners and other parties interested in learning about the benefits of automated voice messaging (AVM) solutions and how they can be applied to advance communications objectives.

 

SpeechSwitch & Empire Technologies Partner to Deploy Auto Speech Attendant at Bloomfield Municipal Building: SpeechSwitch, Inc. (OTCBB: SSWC) announced that the township of Bloomfield, New Jersey, has installed a Speech Enabled Auto Attendant at their municipal building. Bloomfield implemented an iVoice Speech-Enabled Auto Attendant installed on their Avaya phone system. The Township of Bloomfield is a 5.4 square mile community located in Essex County. It is easily accessible from major highways and the Garden State Parkway that traverses the entire length and has 12 on and off ramps. The Township was incorporated in 1812 when it separated from Newark and took its name from Revolutionary War General Joseph Bloomfield. Bloomfield has a Historic Green area and Bloomfield College in the center of Town. The Township has approximately 48,000 residents and employs 370 full-time employees. www.bloomfieldtwpnj.com Empire Technologies is a nationally recognized Avaya Platinum Business Partner managing communications networks for small and large enterprises throughout the country. 888-711-5200 www.getempire.com

 

SpinVox Brings ‘Real Visual Voicemail’ North American Subscribers: SpinVox announced it is working with leading network operators and industry partners and vendors to bring its Voice-to-Screen services to millions in North America. North American subscribers can now not only listen to voice messages in the order they desire, they can also receive voice messages as a text message or email anytime, anywhere.  When it launched in North America in January 2007, SpinVox experienced immediate demand from the industry and potential subscribers. SpinVox has signed deals with Cincinnati Bell and SaskTel and established a working partnership with Skype to create innovative next generation voice messaging services. These build on existing deals with major companies such as Vodafone and Vodacom. Additional agreements with carriers to offer multi-lingual Voicemail-to-Text service and Voice-to-Screen products are scheduled to be announced this year.  www.spinvox.com SpinVox has signed agreements with IP Unity Glenayre, and uReach Technologies. Additionally, SpinVox is working with Unisys, StreamWIDE, Broadsoft, UTStarcom, and mPathix for carrier deployments. Tel: +1 678 393 5501 www.spinvox.com 

 

Streem Releases Streem Center v6.44:  Streem Communications, L.L.C. (Loves Park, Illinois) announced the release of Streem Center version 6.44.  Streem Center is a network server solution used to integrate and streamline voice, fax, and email communications.  Enhancements and new features allow for improved configuration and flexibility in the Streem Alert notification solution. With the new version, users can take advantage of the following enhancements, along with added features and functionality: *Support for text-capable pagers. *Added voice receipt options to detect answering machine or voicemail, avoid delays for live answers, and request recipients to use touch-tone to confirm a live answer.  *Improved faxing option to restart jobs from the next page number. *Enhanced Gravic Remark OMR and Telcor Text-to-Speech integrations using Streem’s CAP-XML implementation. *Added Support for the latest Brooktrout/Cantata boards. *Enhanced support for Adobe Acrobat 8.0.  Streem Center, Streem’s core product, takes network faxing and notification to the next level with dedicated server and proprietary software based solutions that add powerful messaging capabilities to your current network. Through third party integration, Streem Center integrates with existing email, web servers, voice / fax boards and Telco resources, CRM, ERP, document management, imaging and scanning devices, and a multitude of business applications to make exchanging electronic information simple. Streem Alert manages communications to multiple contacts, delivering messages via telephone, cell phone, PDA, pager, email, fax, or any combination of these methods.  Designed to meet large-scale, multi-channel message delivery of critical information, Streem Alert can be used for routine communication as well.  Streem Alert provides a reliable and easy-to-use rapid notification system that offers a user-friendly web interface or telephone broadcast launch platform for quick access.  Streem Alert also integrates directly with the Xerox WorkCentre Pro to deliver messages from scanned or printed documents, or directly from the device. Streem Communications, L.L.C. is a market leader in fax, voice, and data delivery and retrieval, Streem supplies enterprise-class communications systems used to integrate voice, fax, and email. 1-800-325-7732. sales@streemalert.comwww.streem.net, www.streemalert.com.

 

PAR3 Communications Unveils New Corporate Identity, Changes Name to Varolii Corporation: PAR3 Communications announced that it is embracing a new corporate identity. The new name, Varolii Corporation, reflects the company’s vision of providing the highest quality enterprise customer interaction solutions, while seamlessly leveraging its infrastructure, people and knowledge to deliver unparalleled customer service.  Varolii delivers its solutions through a Software as a Service (SaaS) model, with the added benefit of a fully managed environment to ensure clients achieve measurable, sustainable value. The name Varolii is derived from Pons Varolii, a pathway in the brain that unites intelligence and learning with the ability to communicate.  This concept aligns with the company’s direction and approach:  to redefine the way companies and their customers communicate. The new brand identity also represents a stronger expanded company. In December 2005, PAR3 acquired EnvoyWorldWide®, a provider of notification services for business continuity and emergency communications.  The companies have integrated both technologies and teams, resulting in an enhanced offering that adapts to individual business needs.  Varolii provides solutions that range from standardized applications to fully customized deployments, all supported by dedicated teams.  An experienced professional services staff guides clients through simple-to-complex integrations and strategies for seamless deployments.  Additionally, a customer management group focuses on post-deployment results, continuously monitoring and improving performance to deliver enhanced value. Varolii serves some of the world’s largest organizations including more than 100 of the Fortune 1000 across such industries as financial services, utilities, communications, healthcare, government, distribution and travel.  After billions of customer interactions, Varolii has gained unique insights into consumer response to interactive communications, and uses this experience to provide our clients with effective applications that drive enhanced customer relationships and improved operational performance.  Seattle-based Varolii Corporation (formerly PAR3 Communications and EnvoyWorldWide) provides interactive communication solutions delivered through a Software as a Service (SaaS) model.  Derived from the Pons Varolii, the pathway in the brain that unites intelligence and learning with the ability to communicate, the name Varolii evokes the blending of innovative communications technologies with knowledge, learning, and best practices. www.varolii.com

 

 

 

Telephone – Operator Services Applications/Products/Services/Partnerships/Financials

 

Google launches 1-800-GOOG-411 trial: Google Voice Local Search lets you search for local businesses from any phone and for free. If you're in the US, call 1-800-GOOG-411 and say what you want to find. Here are some of the features: * You can find a business listing by category. Just say "pizza," for example. * You can send the listing details to your mobile phone via SMS. * The service is fully automated, so it doesn't rely on human operators. * It connects you directly to the business, free of charge.

 

Nuance Communications Automates Free Business Category Search for 1-800-FREE411: Nuance Communications, Inc. (NASDAQ: NUAN) announced that Jingle Networks has selected Nuance speech solutions to power its automated business category search service trial. The service enables users to complete directory assistance searches by simply stating a business category. The Nuance voice user interface delivers a compelling caller experience and successfully automates the delivery of the requested information. The service is currently powered by Nuance in nine metropolitan areas.  Powered by Nuance automatic speech recognition (ASR) and text-to-speech (TTS)  applications, the new service interprets the type of business the caller requests and offers relevant listings from approximately 900 business categories. Callers can state their information requests using an infinite variety of phrases or terms to search by city and state. Users may also choose to narrow location terminology such as a street, neighborhood or landmark. When a relevant business is not available in the locality the caller requests, the Jingle system offers an appropriate business match beyond the requested area. Category search will provide a new opportunity for consumers to find businesses who can service their needs. As with Jingle’s traditional 411 service, the business category search service is free and engages callers with brief, targeted marketing offers while their requested category information is retrieved. Nuance speech solutions are fully integrated with Jingle’s advertising engines for delivery of promotions related to the category request. This ad-supported business model has created a compelling new alternative in the directory assistance (DA) industry, as both consumers and advertisers rapidly embrace the service. Powered by Nuance’s automated DA solutions, Jingle has processed more than 170 million calls since the free 411 service’s launch in September 2005, with a monthly call volume that has increased more than 300 percent over the past year. 1-800-FREE411 is supported by national and local advertisers who use 1-800-FREE411 as both a branding and direct-response media channel to target messages to callers within the context of a normal-length 411 call. In addition, FREE411.com on the Internet provides consumers with an easy to use Web-based resource for telephone number lookups. www.free411.com.

 

 

 

 

Telephone – Tools Applications/Products/Services/Partnerships/Financials

 

 

Envox CT Connect 7 Achieves Avaya Compliance : Envox Worldwide announced that Envox CT Connect 7, its standards-based computer telephony integration (CTI) software, has been compliance-tested by Avaya for compatibility with the company’s Internet Protocol (IP) telephony and contact center solutions. Envox CT Connect enables application developers and systems integrators to create speech self-service, contact center and unified communications solutions for IP and TDM networks. The software is now compliance-tested by Avaya for compatibility with Avaya Communications Manager 3.1.2 IP telephony software. Envox CT Connect is one of the most robust and reliable CTI solutions on the market today. It provides support for leading PBX, Automatic Call Distribution (ACD) and IP communication environments. In addition, Envox CT Connect is based on industry standards, such as Session Initiation Protocol (SIP) and Computer Supported Telecommunications Applications (CSTA). The use of open standards enables application developers and systems integrators to add CTI capabilities to speech self-service, contact center and unified communications solutions at dramatically lower costs than ever before. Envox Worldwide is a Gold member of the Avaya DeveloperConnection Program — an initiative to develop, market and sell innovative third-party products that interoperate with Avaya technology and extend the value of a company’s investment in its network. As a program member, Envox Worldwide has access to compatibility testing by the Avaya Solution Interoperability and Test Lab.  www.envox.com/software/envox-ct-connect.asp.

 

Dialogic Expands Media Gateway Product Line: Dialogic announced the availability of the Dialogic  3000 Media Gateway Series, a new line of enterprise media gateway products designed to support the growing market for IP based unified messaging, IVR and contact center applications. In addition, Dialogic is re-naming its existing enterprise media gateway appliances to distinguish and clarify its growing media gateway product portfolio. The Dialogic 3000 Media Gateway Series are turnkey integrated systems that seamlessly merge traditional PSTN technology with IP networks. These Microsoft  Windows based gateways combine industry-standard rack mount server technology and the proven reliability of the Dialogic Diva media processing boards to support new and differentiated communications services across typically separate voice and data networks. Enterprises and service providers can therefore realize the benefits of a converged voice and data network without the necessity to do complex and disruptive changes to the existing PBX equipment. Developed according to the Microsoft Exchange Server 2007 Unified Messaging specifications, the Dialogic 3000 Media Gateways are the ideal solution to connect ISDN BRI (Basic Rate Interface) PSTN lines or PBXs to Microsoft Exchange 2007 Unified Messaging environments, or other SIP based applications that require ISDN BRI connectivity. Built into a 19-inch rack mount server, these integrated gateway systems provide superior voice quality with echo cancellation, and also deliver high-speed T.38 fax support up to 33.6 kbps. The DMG3008BRI offers eight channels via four ISDN BRI ports, while DMG3016BRI supports up to 16-channels via 8 ISDN BRI ports. The new gateways compliment the existing analog, digital PBX and T1/E1 gateway appliances Dialogic has already certified for use with Microsoft Exchange Server 2007 Unified Messaging. As part of the introduction, Dialogic  1000 Media Gateway Series is the new name for the products currently known as Dialogic PBX-IP Media Gateways, and Dialogic 2000 Media Gateway Series is the new name for the Dialogic T1/E1-IP Media Gateway products.  www.dialogic.com Bill Bryant, 503-206-4492 Bill.Bryant@dialogic.com

 

Embedded telematics Applications/Products/Services/Partnerships/Financials

 

 

ALK Technologies Announces CoPilot® Live 7 for Spring Release, ALK Technologies, Inc. unveiled its latest installment in the CoPilot line with Version 7 for mobile phones and PDAs. Supporting Windows Mobile 5 and 6 devices, CoPilot Live 7 redefines mobile satellite navigation with its simple and intuitive menus, clearer 2D/3D map views, and compelling mobile data services. Version 7 also touts a fully customizable user interface which allows mobile operators, handset manufacturers, and everyday individuals to adjust colors, styles, and features to suit their brand requirements or personal taste. CoPilot Live 7 is designed to make navigation on a phone as easy to use as a Personal Navigation device (PND). Entering an exact destination is simple with redesigned step-by-step address entry, finger-touch buttons, predictive address matching, and on-screen set-up wizards. Large-buttoned menus make frequently used features quickly accessible and decrease the amount of user error. CoPilot Live 7’s redesigned 2D and 3D map views enable drivers, cyclists, or pedestrians to see their exact location and where they are going clearly and easily. Customers can choose from a variety of standard road color schemes or create their own personalised skins. As with all CoPilot navigation solutions, driver safety is the top priority. By default, the map shows a turn or junction, progressively zooming-in automatically before returning to the non-distracting safety screen once the turn is completed. CoPilot Live 7’s spoken turn-by-turn instructions are clearer than ever before thanks to its new Text- to-Speech voice commands, with detailed instructions pronounced naturally in 13 different languages both on Windows Mobile powered Pocket PCs and Smartphones. Driving anywhere becomes as simple as driving in your home town.  With an ever changing national road network, today’s maps need to keep up with burgeoning city growth and change. Version 7 incorporates comprehensive detailed updates and enhancements for over 600 counties across North America and over 100,000 miles of new road. Also, 750,000 miles of road have been checked and updated to accurately reflect their current placement. CoPilot Live 7’s powerful new desktop management companion CoPilot Central™ enables customers to fully manage their trips and preferences from the comfort of their desktop. Personal color schemes, routes, trips and downloadable Points-of-Interest databases are just a fraction of what this great managing tool can do. With mapping, trip planning, and automatic software upgrades at the user’s fingertips, Central greatly enhances the CoPilot user experience. In the US, over 100,000 people are killed in road traffic accidents each year, several of which are related to excess speed. CoPilot Live 7 now incorporates excess speed alerts which can remind drivers about local speed limits, and is updated regularly via CoPilot Central. CoPilot Live 7 is a fully connected navigation system that utilizes a mobile phone’s connectivity to the mobile internet to deliver real-time navigation based services and enable interaction with others when on the move. It is now possible to send a tracking invitation directly to a Microsoft Outlook contact from within CoPilot, enabling the recipient to view your location in real time, send messages and even new destinations. www.alk.com Mary Kelly, 609-252-8160, kelly@alk.com

 

Acoustic Technologies' Multi-Mic SoundClear Enhances BlueCore-Multimedia: CSR expanded its portfolio of high quality third party software extensions for its BlueCore-Multimedia platform – including the advanced BlueCore5-Multimedia silicon. The ATS6000MM SoundClear Multi-Mic noise cancellation and hands-free audio processing software from Acoustic Technologies will allow CSR’s BlueCore-Multimedia customers to integrate advanced noise cancellation and enhanced speech intelligibility into products such as Bluetooth headsets, automotive navigation, hands-free systems, and mobile handsets. This new addition to CSR’s eXtension Partner Programme offers customers exceptional voice quality and performance when designing BlueCore Multimedia based products. The single-chip multimedia Bluetooth devices are based on CSR’s high-performance Kalimba DSP coprocessor, which supports third party enhancements while maintaining very low power consumption and high audio quality for both voice and music applications. To date, CSR is the only company capable of offering such a powerful combination, of hardware and high quality third-party software enhancements, to designers allowing them to create high-performance, customisable devices without needing to compromise on critical elements such as power consumption. The ATS6000MM SoundClear technology uses two microphones to eliminate noise and achieve a higher level of sound quality. The software automatically adjusts its calculations according to environmental conditions, the speaker’s voice and the quality of the line connection. The software operation can also be optimised by end-product designers according to the type of plastics, transducers and desired audio configuration adopted. www.acoustictech.com. Contact: Acoustic Technologies, Inc.Jim Jacot, (480) 507-4303 public-relations@acoustictech.com

 

Magellan Maestro 4050 takes directions by voice ImageMagellan Maestro 4050 takes directions by voice: Magellan has taken the button pressing out of its new GPS range with a voice operated unit; the Maestro 450. The new satnav which is one of three in the range will also sport a 4.3-inch touchscreen, Bluetooth for handsfree calling and point of interest details. Available in May, the device will allow you to voice routing directions via Magellan’s SayWhere text-to-speech function, which audibly announces the street names for upcoming manoeuvres. The Maestro 4050 also includes a life time subscription for real-time premium traffic services and comes preloaded with full coverage maps of Europe from NAVTEQ. The company has announced two further models in the range; the Maestro 4040 and the Maestro 4010. The Maestro 4040 also features the Bluetooth Hands-Free Calling feature, Text-to Speech and is also preloaded with full European maps from NAVTEQ, Marco Polo sight seeing points of interest plus an additional 1 million POI. Users will be able to upgrade to add real-time traffic services capabilities at a later date.  The Maestro 4010 provides Bluetooth functionality, turn-by-turn directions with preloaded maps of different European regions from NAVTEQ. UK prices will be £199.99 for the Maestro 4010, £239.99 for the Maestro 4040 and £299.99 for the Maestro 4050.

NAVIGON Launches Its Own Consumer Brand Navigation Products: NAVIGON, creators of the software that powers more brand name navigation products than any other solution, launched its first NAVIGON brand consumer devices. NAVIGON unveiled the 5100 and 7100 models at CeBIT, the massive consumer electronics show in Hanover, Germany. The models will hit store shelves in April in Europe. A North American launch will follow mid-summer.  They pair handsome form factors with the premium-quality navigation software for which NAVIGON has become known.  NAVIGON 7100: "Wow" Features that Redefine the Navigation Experience The premium NAVIGON 7100 product is housed in a sleek piano black shell and at less than an inch thick, it features a high-contrast 4.3" full-color display and an easy-to-read 16:9 widescreen format. The mounting bracket is a top contender for being best-in-category. It employs the same design aesthetic as the device itself -- it is elegant, substantial, and easy to mount and remove. This device offers many "wow" features, all with the aim to reduce burden and stress on the driver. -- Subscription-Free Traffic NAVIGON delivers an industry first with out-of-the-box subscription-free real-time traffic for the life of the product. The system advises drivers on traffic incidents and flow and provides alternate routes. NAVIGON's approach is simple and hassle-free: there are no extra fees, no need to activate or pre-register online. Traffic data is provided by Clear Channel. -- Features that Let the Driver Focus on the Road The system provides turn-by-turn directions and articulates road names via text-to-speech technology -- allowing the driver to keep eyes on the road; Bluetooth technology enables easy and convenient hands-free mobile phone integration. -- Features That Aim to Reduce Driver Stress NAVIGON delivers two category-first features aimed to reduce driver stress. Lane Assistance recommends the optimal lane the driver should be in well ahead of encountering a complex highway interchange. Reality View provides a virtual reality of a complex intersection -- with road geometry, actual road sign text, and 3D images, conveying just the right amount of information that's needed when it's needed. -- Zagat Survey Content Users will know exactly where to wine and dine with the NAVIGON 7100. Complementing millions of points of interest, the device also includes Zagat ratings and reviews on restaurants, hotels, nightclubs, attractions, and golf courses. NAVIGON 5100: Same Great Experience, Smaller Size and Pricetag With a 3.5" display, the NAVIGON 5100 is more compact, but no less compelling. Housed in a compact chrome shell, it can be viewed in portrait or landscape modes. It offers the same NAVIGON premium software under its hood -- including Lane Assistance, Reality View, subscription-free traffic, and Zagat Survey reviews and ratings. Smaller in size, it will also be smaller in price. NAVIGON will release MSRP just prior to the summer launch of the systems. NAVIGON 7100 Top Features -- Ultra-sleek piano black form factor with easy-to-read 4.3" screen -- Door-to-door directions. Pre-installed maps of U.S. and Canada -- Simple to use touch screen with predictive menus -- Voice powered. Speaks directions and street names via text-to-speech technology; provides speech recognition capabilities via voice command tags -- Integrated Bluetooth technology for hands-free calling -- Category Firsts: o Subscription-free real-time traffic. Works out of the box and for the life of the product o Zagat Survey reviews and ratings on restaurants, hotels, nightclubs, attractions and golf courses o Stress busting features like Lane Assistance and Reality View demystify complex interchanges -- Dimensions: 3.5 x 5.1 x .9 (W/H/D in inches) NAVIGON 5100 Top Features: -- Compact chrome design-viewable in portrait or landscape modes -- Door-to-door directions. Pre-installed maps of U.S. and Canada -- Simple to use touch screen with predictive menus -- Voice powered. Speaks directions and street names via text-to-speech technology; provides voice recognition capabilities via voice command tags -- Category Firsts: o Subscription-free real-time traffic. Works out of the box and for the life of the product o Zagat Survey reviews and ratings on restaurants, hotels, nightclubs, attractions and golf courses o Stress busting features like Lane Assistance and Reality View demystify complex interchanges Contact: Peg Herbst, +1-773-510-7258, peg.herbst@navigon.com www.navigon.com/

 

Rogers Wireless Selects Nuance Voice Control:  Nuance Communications, Inc. (Nasdaq: NUAN) announced that Rogers Wireless, Canada’s largest wireless voice and data communications service provider, will offer Nuance Voice Control, a speech-enabled mobile search and messaging service, to its millions of subscribers on select devices. Nuance Voice Control is a comprehensive subscription-based system that is driven entirely by natural voice commands. The Nuance Voice Control service will allow Rogers subscribers to press one button on their mobile phone and simply speak a request, eliminating the need to fumble with tiny keypads or navigate complex menus to perform simple tasks. Consumers can easily dictate and send email or SMS messages, create calendar entries, dial a contact, and search the Web for business listings, news, weather, stock quotes, sport scores and more. This complete mobile service with powerful speech-enabled search and communications applications will be available in May 2007 for a $6 monthly fee for Rogers subscribers on select devices. Bringing accurate speech recognition to the mobile environment opens the wide spectrum of mobile Web content to consumers by eliminating the need to search the Web via their phone's keypad. Using intuitive voice commands, a Rogers customer can find sports scores, movie times, business listings, weather and more. The system does not require any voice training, so most users are up and running within minutes. Simple intuitive voice commands include: *  “Find business, Overnight Shipping, near Jacksonville, Fla.” * “Call Jim Johnson at work” * “Email Karen Smith. Subject: budget meeting. Body: The time has been changed to 2 p.m.” *“Weather for Toronto” * “Sports: hockey” *“Top news stories” *“Search Web for population of British Columbia” *“Go to Website, nuance.com”

 

Nuance Delivers Speech-Based Search for Mobile Music Content : Nuance Communications, Inc. (NASDAQ: NUAN), launched the Nuance Mobile Music Service Package for the Nuance Mobile Speech Platform. The new offering delivers instant access to music content using the power of voice. This eliminates the need for mobile consumers to key in text or navigate complex menu hierarchies when searching for music or ringtones to download from the mobile Web. Expanding on the advanced technology of Nuance’s embedded speech solutions for voice control of mobile music players, the Nuance Mobile Music Service Package allows mobile search providers to add voice search functionality – including song and artist names – to their music search and download applications. With a custom set of grammars specifically built to optimize a catalog of more than 1.2 million song and artist titles, the Music Service Package offers the comprehensive coverage and easy access that will drive more consumer spending on mobile music content.  The Nuance Mobile Speech Platform is an innovative network-based platform that enables developers to transform their mobile applications with a seamless speech experience. Application developers can easily incorporate robust Automatic Speech Recognition (ASR) and Text-To-Speech (TTS) with their existing mobile applications. Using a distributed architecture, developers are able to easily integrate their existing applications with a small-footprint client SDK, which provides network access to Nuance’s portfolio of speech technology. The Nuance Mobile Speech Platform provides a suite of preconfigured Service Packages including navigation, music, and directory services.

 

Rand McNally And TCS Launch Next-Generation Navigation Application:  Rand McNally and TeleCommunication Systems, Inc. announced the companies have extended their strategic partnership to include Rand McNally Navigator. Rand McNally Navigator includes in-application speech recognition for address entry along with voice output for directions, providing an innovative solution for wireless network operators to differentiate their location-based services. Rand McNally Navigator provides speech-enabled, hands-free, turn-by-turn directions from a wireless phone or smart phone and includes real-time traffic information, plus a local search capability that makes it easy for consumers to find relevant points of interest (POIs) on a single map. Handset-based navigation solutions are unique in their abilities to provide an always-connected, two-way communications solution for navigation. The advantages of this connected solution include real-time map updates and points of interest in a small and highly portable package. Rand McNally Navigator by TCS is the next-generation wireless navigation solution, bringing ease of use with always-up-to-date maps and local content to consumers worldwide. Rand McNally is North America's largest commercial maker of national and local maps, street guides and atlases. The company's print and electronic products include America's No. 1 Road Atlas, The Thomas Guide map books, custom-made wall maps on the Web, wireless navigation solutions, and online maps, directions and trip planning at www.randmcnally.com or call (800) 333-0136. www.telecomsys.com

 

CeBIT highlight: SVOX takes cars to the K.I.T.T. level: The new speech dialog system “TALK” for a safer communication between driver and vehicle The European research project TALK presented a “talking car” at the CeBIT Future Park equipped with an innovative car dialog system. The “talking BMW” impressed CeBIT visitors who were amazed by the natural conversation they had with the car. They could determine the next song title, create an own play list or ask the restaurant guide for a good pizzeria nearby. The focus of the TALK project is conversation like speech control, which works in everyday language. Together with SVOX, the BMW Group research provides improved HMI interaction and offers more room for flexibility in the conversion of dynamic information. The SVOX architecture allows flexible integration at a low cost, as well as reduced integration time. In Germany, car drivers waste on average 70 hours a year caught up in traffic jam. Traffic information delivered via radio can only help little as they often reach the driver too late. But, if the car is equipped with a speech enabled traffic information system the driver is informed about the traffic situation in time and en detail, and moreover safely guided around the congestion. SVOX powers In-Car Digital Radio News Service Developed by Audi and Fraunhofer IIS “Teletext for Radio” Provides Continuously Updated Information for Immediate Access SVOX, a global supplier of text-to-speech output solutions for the automotive and mobile industries, teamed with Audi and the Fraunhofer Institute for Integrated Circuits IIS to demonstrate during CeBIT a real-time transmission chain of the first live in-car reception of NewsService Journaline® service over Digital Radio DAB (Digital Audio Broadcasting) according to SVOX CEO Volker Jantzen. NewsService Journaline is the basis for Audi’s Personal News service now in final testing. This “teletext for radio” provides continuously updated information for immediate access. Drivers choose text news sorted by topics from a hierarchically organized menu. Jantzen reports that Audi considers to bring the service to market soon and make it available worldwide based on market acceptance. The real-time transmission chain consists of the new “Fraunhofer Multimedia DataServer™ for DAB R4” by Fraunhofer IIS and DAB receiver technology by Atmel Corporation. The Fraunhofer Multimedia DataServer automatically aggregates content for NewsService Journaline and transmits it using DAB. The powerful SVOX text-to-speech system installed in the car then presents the text messages previously transmitted over DAB to the driver. The service can be managed using the Audi multimedia interface and is easy to personalize. Based on individual preferences, the system chooses only news of interest to the driver. Topics of specific interest can also be bookmarked for an easy and direct access in future. NewsService Journaline: The text based information service allows the user to easily navigate through text messages that are hierarchically organized in menus. NewsService Journaline is highly optimized for an efficient transmission in the digital radio systems DAB as well as Drm (Digital Radio Mondiale). International broadcast stations have been providing this service to their listeners for years. Audi has offered the innovative digital radio technology DAB to its customers since 2005. Digital Radio allows the reception of a great range of programs in CD-like quality. Currently DAB radio receivers can be ordered for the Audi models Audi A5, A6/S6, A8/S8 and Audi Q7. Today, every third A8 in Germany comes with DAB. www.svox.com  www.journaline.info www.iis.fraunhofer.de www.audi.de

 

More alert, less stress and less accidents with a TomTom navigation device: A leading Dutch research institute recently found that drivers who use a TomTom are more alert, less stressed and involved in fewer accidents. Here are just some of the features on your TomTom that That TomTom claims make driving safer:  *Spoken instructions so you can keep your eyes on the road. And when you need to check the screen, crystal clear graphics and intuitive visual instructions.  *Safe calling with your GO hands-free kit, which concurs with all in-car mobile phone regulations.  *TomTom’s Safety Camera service, with alerts and optional displayed speed limits, reminds you when you need to slow down. Independent research into navigation systems proves positive effects With the upsurge in personal navigation systems use in recent years, many have questioned the effect such systems have on traffic safety. Some feel it may distract drivers, increasing accidents. Others think that getting motorists to their destinations more efficiently, reducing their time on the road, also reduces accident rates.  So who’s right? To find out, TomTom joined forces with Delta Lloyd insurance, AON insurance & risk brokers, and Athlon car leasing to commission an independent research project by TNO, the Netherlands’ leading research agency. The research, carried out from April 2006 to January 2007, involved: • Comprehensive user survey of 4,000 motorists; • Scientifically-controlled driving experiment with a TomTom navigation device, to determine effects on stress, workload and driver behaviour; • Statistical database analysis (115,000 samples) of effect on accident damage; • International literature survey This is the world’s first complete, authoritative and independent research into this topic. What exactly did the researchers investigate? To find out the effects navigations systems have on road safety, the TNO researchers answered FIVE key questions about using a navigation system: • Does it influence the costs of damages? • Does it increase driver awareness and/or reduce stress? • Does it change your driving behaviour? • Does it reduce the workload on drivers? • Does it reduce the number of miles/kilometers you drive?

What does it mean for your awareness? During experiments, drivers using a TomTom navigation device have 12% improved reaction times. And it’s not hard to imagine circumstances where an improved reaction time could be absolutely vital. Moreover, 78% of people feel more in control, 68% less distracted, 67% less stressed and 45% more alert when using a navigation system. Hardly surprising, then, that 62% of drivers feel a navigation system makes it easier to keep focused on the road. How does it affect your driving behavior? On average, when using a navigation system, you make 25% less stops and spend 35% less time standing still. During the experiment, drivers also made fewer turns when using a TomTom navigation device. All suggesting that you drive more confidently and decisively with a navigator. Perhaps even more revealing, during the experiments there were over twice as many occurrences of inappropriate behaviour (missing road signs, standing still at a green light, etc) by drivers not using a TomTom navigation device than by people using a TomTom navigation device. And on one in every four journeys without a TomTom navigation device, the driver got lost at least once. But when driving with a TomTom navigation device, not one of the subjects ever got lost!

What about the burden on you as a driver? The driving burden is clearly reduced. How do we know this?  A PDT test (which determines reaction time to a red LED light stimulus) proved that your objective workload is reduced by 20% when driving with a TomTom navigation system. And quantitative analysis of questionnaires completed by the test drivers after the test found that the subjective workload of drivers using a TomTom navigation system is reduced by 55%!
Using a navigator reduces your mileage and fuel bills The research found that on journeys to unfamiliar destinations, on average your mileage is reduced by 16% and your driving time by 18%. It also means that, because you’re driving less miles, your fuel consumption will be similarly reduced. Which is good for you and good for the environment. So what is the overall effect on safety? The research clearly shows the effect to be positive: Not using a navigation system increases the number of claimed accidents you have by 12% and increases the claimed damage costs by 5%.

V-ENABLE Launches Voice-Activated, Ad-Supported Directory Assistance Solution:  V-ENABLE, Inc. has announced the commercial release of Mobile411, a directory assistance (DA) solution available for deployment by wireless carriers. Surpassing traditional operator and automated 411 services, Mobile411 combines the convenience of voice with the power of local search. The advertising-supported, automated DA platform, it offers carriers an attractive, white-label service for providing end-users with the fastest, most-accurate, and user-friendly experience. Over 70 percent of the 25 million searches conducted to date with V-ENABLE’s technology are voice-based, proving voice is a critical mobile interface. Mobile411 required integration with industry leading partners, which include carrier-grade data sources from LSSi, maps and directions from MapQuest, and local Superpages.com advertisers’ content from Idearc Media Corp. In total, this solution is poised to revolutionize the way consumers access DA information while offering new and enhanced capabilities. Users can instantly access business and residential listings, maps, directions, weather and more using their voice, and receive results in a visual format on their phones within seconds. A highly profitable business model for carriers, Mobile411 is the first solution that offers a lower cost of service combined with contextual (relevant) advertisement revenues allowing carriers to offer consumers free or significantly reduced 411 services. Mobile411 is built on V-ENABLE’s patented mobile voice search platform, which mimics a traditional voice-based 411 experience while leveraging existing online, visual advertising to instantly monetize 411 calls. This solution can also be paired with existing operator-supported DA calls, allowing 411 callers to get the basic listing information they need from the operator and receive enhanced services (maps, directions, and other features) after the call. US consumers made nearly 3 billion wireless 411 calls in 2006 according to the Pierz Group. With Mobile411, carriers can now compete with other free solutions that are threatening their revenues, and capture part of the growing mobile advertising market projected to reach $9.6 billion by 2010 (Shosteck Group). www.v-enable.com/411. contact  Jean Smith, 858 824 1999  jean.smith@v-enable.com..

 

Enpocket Partners with VoiceSignal to Provide Ads for new Voice-enabled Mobile Search Platform: VoiceSignal announced a partnership with mobile advertising pioneer Enpocket to provide highly relevant advertisements for the newly announced VSearch voice search service to be offered by VoiceSignal. VSearch will be offered in a manner similar to popular internet search engines in that it is accessible for free and supported by advertising. Users will require a mobile data service plan to enable the handset to connect over the data network to the VSearch Servers. VSearch is activated via a button on the handset and prompts the user to speak the location and name or category of a business. The system sends the processed audio information to the VSearch server via the mobile data network where the user's query is converted into text by the VSearch speech recognition engine.  This unique combination aims to offer the highest accuracy and reliability in all environments for the consumer. The requested listings along with relevant, interactive advertisements are sent to the device and displayed on the screen. The user can review the information, place a call to the business, and get a map of its location and more. Future versions will deliver to consumers a wide range of innovative information services including access to traffic, weather information, movie times, stock quotes, horoscopes and sports scores.  The service integrates specially targeted mobile ads, as well as mapping technology, enabling it to be offered free to consumers. The technology called "VSearch" will be embedded into mass-market handsets made by the worlds leading handset OEMs. www.voicesignal.com Enpocket enables organizations to foster and maintain valuable relationships with mobile consumers. Enpocket technology powers the mobile marketing efforts of operators and media companies around the world, and Enpocket services help leading brands effectively market in the mobile channel.  Customers include: Mobile Carriers: Cingular, Sprint, Alltel, Vodafone, BT, Orange, Airtel, Virgin Media Companies: AOL, News Corp, CNBC, A&E, Clear Channel, Chrysalis, Sony Pictures, TNT, Trinity Mirror Brands:  Ford, McDonalds, Dunkin Donuts, Pepsi, Subway, Motorola, Samsung, Panasonic, BenQ-Siemens, Sprite and GM.  Enpocket has offices in Boston, London, Singapore, and Mumbai. www.enpocket.com Contacts: Mira Genser, VoiceSignal +1 (781) 970 5223 mgenser@voicesignal.com Diana LaGattuta, US Marketing, Enpocket +1 617-501-1128 dlagattuta@enpocket.com Hugh Mark, EU Marketing, Enpocket +44-777-1670209 hmark@enpocket.com

 

VoiceSignal Provides Embedded Speech Recognition for Voice Activated Dialing on the BlackBerry 8800: VoiceSignal announced that its speech solution is embedded in the new BlackBerry 8800 smartphone from Research In Motion (RIM). VoiceSignal's VSuite dialing application integrates with the address book on the BlackBerry 8800 enabling users to dial numbers or contacts with a single, natural voice command, creating an exceptional user experience for the person on the go. Because VoiceSignal's VSuite solution ships directly embedded in the smartphone, there is no fee to download and use the application. VSuite will work right out of the box with no training required, and launches with a simple press of a button. VSuite is available on the BlackBerry 8800 in the following languages: US English, UK English, French, Canadian French, German, Latin American Spanish, Castilian Spanish, Portuguese, Italian, Dutch, Polish, Cantonese, Mandarin, and Russian. Users can also launch the VSuite application from a wired or Bluetooth® wireless headset, with a push of a button.  For example, a user can simply press a button on the headset and say, "Call Joe Smith, work" to initiate the call. In addition to launching the market-proven set of features in VSuite for hands-free eyes-free dialing, the BlackBerry 8800 implements some unique voice calling features including: •    "Smart Dialing" of Company Extensions: Users can call the corporate desk phone of their co-workers by simply speaking the words "call extension" followed by the extension number. The BlackBerry 8800 will dial the preset main line, pause momentarily upon connecting to the switchboard, and then automatically dial the extension number. •    Automatic Updates of New Contacts: New contacts added to the BlackBerry® Address Book, whether directly on the handset or via the user's desktop contact management software (such as Microsoft® Outlook or Lotus® Notes®), are automatically available for voice-activated dialing from the BlackBerry 8800. •    Identical Names Handling: In the case where there are two contacts with the same name in the user's address book, the caller is further prompted to name the contact's company. For example, the user can say "call John Smith", and be prompted to identify if the John Smith they want to call is at "Company ABC" or "Company XYZ". More than 110 million copies of VoiceSignal software in 21 languages have shipped embedded in devices from the world's top handset manufacturers. With VoiceSignal's solution, users can speak a name, a number, or a command, and get connected in one step. VoiceSignal's architecture is compatible with the entire range of mobile devices – from entry-level, voice-centric handsets to enterprise-class PDAs and smart phones.

VoiceSignal Announces release of VSuite 3.: VoiceSignal announced the release of VSuite 3.1, a major upgrade to the company's VSuite speech platform for mobile phones. In addition to providing all the features of VSuite 2.1, including one-step dialing, command and control, and hands-free use, VSuite 3.1 includes dozens of usability and technology improvements that result in increased task completion rate and overall satisfaction, especially among users of mass-market phones who have never used voice recognition before. VSuite 3.1 is the result of a multi-year technology development project in conjunction with extensive usability and user-experience testing that focused on entry-level mobile phone users unfamiliar with speaker-independent voice applications.  Kevin Burden, Senior Manager Mobile Devices of Telephia, in commenting on the new VSuite platform, said, "For years, VSuite has been the gold standard speech solution for mid- and high-tier phones, and these latest improvements demonstrate VoiceSignal's continued commitment to improving the user experience," he added, "these usability enhancements should have even greater appeal with typical users of entry-level phones who put an even greater value on simplicity, convenience, and ease of use." In user trials performed on real mass market mobile phones running actual versions of VSuite 2.1 and 3.1., VSuite 3.1 showed the following improvements: * 47% faster task completion time for first-time users * 26% increase in users' perceived ease of use of VSuite * 38% increase in users' perceived value of voice recognition * Up to 75% more accurate  VSuite 3.1 is also the first product to be based on VoiceSignal's new mobile software architecture. Developed from the ground up over several years, VSuite 3.1 is designed to make VoiceSignal's client software more portable, scalable, and testable, while reducing utilization of memory on the mobile device. As a result of the new architecture, VSuite 3.1 offers: * Significant reductions in memory consumption * A new suite of documentation and developer tools * A new suite of automated testing tools that allow customers to regression test VSuite on the mobile device * A simple upgrade path from previous versions of VSuite * Greater portability between mobile phone software platforms * Support for the mobile VSearch client application All of VoiceSignal's products, including VSpeak text-to-speech, VoiceMode dictation, and the VSearch client-server mobile search solution, take advantage of the new VSuite 3.1 platform. VSuite 3.1 is available in 21 languages including US English, Canadian French, Latin American Spanish, Brazilian Portuguese, UK English, French, German, Italian, Castilian Spanish, Iberian Portuguese, Dutch, Swedish, Finnish, Norwegian, Polish, Russian, Ukrainian, Mandarin (simplified and traditional), Cantonese (simplified and traditional), Korean, and Japanese.

 

Wayfinder Partners with Code Factory  Wayfinder (Stockholm, Sweden) announces a cooperation with an international company specializing in accessibility products; Code Factory (Terrassa/Barcelona, Spain). This cooperation ensures that Wayfinder Access will be powered by Mobile Speak, Code Factory’s iscreen reader and will be available to Code Factory’s thousands of customers across Europe and North America. The cooperation between Wayfinder and Code Factory ensures that Wayfinder Access can be offered to an even larger group of the blind and visually impaired through the speech, magnification and Braille output that is unique to Mobile Speak. Any mobile phone subscriber in a community of an estimated 20 million blind people in EMEA and North America, and 135 million people worldwide with mild visual impairments, is sure to find the solution he requires from the combination of these two powerful software products. Wayfinder Access aims to help the blind and visually impaired to become more mobile with better access to their surroundings. The navigation software can be combined with text-to-speech applications like Code Factory’s screen reader for Symbian mobile phones, Mobile Speak, to convert the displayed directions on the mobile device into highly intelligible speech. It also integrates unparalleled screen magnification with font smoothing thus making Wayfinder Access the perfect mobility solution even to the low-vision users. Code Factory will offer and market Wayfinder Access together with Mobile Speak to major operators and distributors in North America and Europe who have partnered with Code Factory for years. Wayfinder Access will be delivered in 17 languages and be available across Europe and North America from the end of April 2007. About Wayfinder Access Wayfinder Access is a new mobile navigation product developed to facilitate the everyday life of the visually impaired. With the four new ‘Vicinity Views’, a location becomes both visible and audible. This means that Points of Interest (POI), crossings or favourites etc are listed according to their distance from the user’s location. Wayfinder has reworked this entire application from scratch, so as to ensure that it will function as a fully integrated service with text-to-speech applications. Wayfinder Access also includes a ‘Where am I?’ function. This means that the application is not only an indispensable support in guiding users to chosen destinations, but also enables them to establish their location. Wayfinder offers map, direction and GPS navigation services accessible by mobile phone. From these basic navigation services, we provide mobile phone users with content services, including digital city guide books, traffic information, currency conversion and weather reports. Clients include phone manufacturers, Sony Ericsson and Nokia, and operators such as Telenor, Telefonica and A1. The products are sold to end users throughout Europe and the USA. Wayfinder has over 600 000 unique users. Wayfinder currently has 75 employees.  www.wayfinder.com  www.codefactory.es

 

Embedded Appliances Applications/Products/Services/Partnerships/Financials

 

Fonix Showcases Game Development Tools at 2007 Game Developers Conference: Fonix Speech, Inc., showcased its  Fonix VoiceIn® Game Edition at the 2007 Game Developers Conference (GDC) in San Francisco, CA. The improved Fonix speech software that will be presented at GDC is based on experience working with the industry’s top developers to optimize solutions for advanced game design. Fonix technology is now featured on 20 retail titles from key gaming companies. Fonix VoiceIn Karaoke Edition – Fonix VoiceIn KE provides a customized solution for karaoke game developers. Fonix technology compares the timing, pitch and voice of the karaoke singer to the reference song and reports on the accuracy of the karaoke singing. Fonix VoiceIn Phonetic Edition – Fonix VoiceIn PE speech technology aligns word phonetics with audio data, allowing animators to more precisely synchronize an animated characters’ facial movements with the phonetic components of speech recognition. Fonix Text-to-Speech – With Fonix DECtalk text-to-speech (TTS), developers can use TTS voices as a “place-holder” until recorded dialog can be added. It can also be used during actual game play to articulate written text when players engage chat features. Fonix VoiceIn Game Edition – The original speech recognition software for game development, VoiceIn is software that allows game developers to add speech recognition to videogames. VoiceIn is available for Microsoft Xbox, Xbox 360, Sony PlayStation2, PlayStation3 and Windows development platforms and is available in multiple languages: U.S. and U.K. English, French, Italian, Spanish, German, Korean and Japanese. VoiceIn supports the use of dynamic vocabularies; game players can now create their own sets of dynamic voice commands, rather than using pre-set game commands. Fonix VoiceIn Game Edition is designed to save memory and processing power and is built upon Fonix’s proprietary neural network-based ASR. A total of 20 video games are available on the retail market featuring www.gdconf.com

New Olidata Reglo Voice: the fully voice-controlled media center: Olidata, Italy's leading manufacturer of personal computers, and Loquendo announce the launch of a ground-breaking and easy to use voice-controlled media center: Olidata Reglo Voice. The solution has grown out of a partnership between Loquendo, providing the speech technology, and MOAI, providing the intelligent interface 'Speaky' - including remote-control unit with microphone and Push to Talk. Olidata Reglo Voice Media Center is able to voice control any menu: through a user friendly interface enriched with dynamic, TTS-based feedback users can change TV channel, make a content-based search of the TV or video guide or program the video recorder. Additionally, they can select a piece of music, view their photos, access any multimedia file they have saved in the media centre, or manage, by voice, VoIP telephony.  The Olidata Reglo Voice Media Center is also ideally suited for use in the office: for setting up a slide show, making presentations, showing product demonstrations, publicity campaigns, etc. The solution is based on a remote control Windows Vista compliant, enhanced with push-to-talk capabilities, and Loquendo ASR and TTS technology, integrated by the Speaky media centre application platform. It is currently available in US and UK English, Italian, German, Spanish, French, Polish, Chilean, and is undergoing expansion to other languages. Olidata is Italy's leading manufacturer of personal computers. Founded in 1982, the company has installed hundreds of thousands of systems and sells several lines of personal computers suited for all needs, from the home to large-scale corporations. www.olidata.com

 

Voice-recognition robot entertains as domestic slave : Japanese firm RayTron isn’t one we’ve heard much about but that could change if its domestic robot, cutely named Chapit, gets to take over the nation’s home entertainments as planned. The ¥200,000 droid should be available to buy next year but is already on view in a showroom at a high-tech model housing development called Napia in Osaka. Rather than showing off like one of those attention-seeking somersaulting robots, Chapit limits itself to sitting still and listening carefully. That’s because the machine’s mission in (virtual) life is to hook up to domestic electronics, including TV, video players, internet connections, lights and even heating, to act as a voice-controlled interface for the residents of the house. Demonstrations have already shown the robot switching TV channels, dimming lights and setting up videophone calls in response to the spoken commands of couch-potato users. RayTron says it hopes to have Chapit recognising up to 10,000 words by the time it’s ready for market. Sadly, for anyone outside the company’s homeland, those words are likely to be only in Japanese.

 

New Appliances Powered by Sensory Chip Talk and Listen: Among the many voices heard at the International Home & Housewares show this year were some very famous celebrity chefs, as well as some not yet famous talking appliances. Galanz, which manufactures half of the microwave ovens in the world, showed off their new product line featuring voice recognition provided by Sensory, Inc., the leading supplier of embedded speech technology for consumer electronics. Targeted towards younger and more tech-savvy users, a speech-enabled microwave offers convenience with preprogrammed settings for common foods, and also allows custom settings that can be "memorized" and recalled with a simple spoken command. "Consumers are always looking for added features in their appliances," says Travis Kirwan, senior vice president of Galanz North America. "Sensory's RSC-4128 speech recognition chip enables us to offer ease of use and adds value at a very low cost to the consumer." Galanz speech-enabled products are being marketed under their own name as well as under the Sylvania brand. Digiweigh, an innovator in design and quality for competitively priced weighing devices, treated visitors to a unique bathroom scale at its booth. Billed as the first scale that speaks your weight and also understands your voice, it provides irreverent feedback like "I am a body scale, not a loading dock!" In addition, the scale will track a user's previous weight, average weight, and target weight for up to 3 family members. The contemporary design and precise weight-sensing electronics are provided by Digiweigh, and the ability to listen and chat is based Sensory's RSC-4128. Sensory also provides speech technologies for HVAC, lighting, audio-visual, and other voice control functions in the home. www.sensoryinc.com Galanz Group Co. Ltd. of Guangdong is not only global, professional home appliance manufacturer, but also one of the most outstanding groups of home appliance in China. www.galanz.com www.digiweighusa.com

 

Desktop Applications/Products/Services/Partnerships/Financials

 

Coolsoft (Sweden) AB announces that Coolexon Dictionary is available Coolsoft (Sweden) AB announced that Coolexon Dictionary is available as a free download and trial. Coolexon is a dictionary and multi-language translation software providing results in over 60 languages. It offers users a variety of free dictionaries and translation tools in English, French, German, Spanish, Italian, Russian, Chinese, Japanese and other major languages in the world. Coolexon is a translation software with five key features as follows: 1. Cross-translation over 60 languages Coolexon provides translation and dictionaries of over 60 languages in the world, supporting cross translation between different languages. These languages include English, French, German, Russian, Spanish, Italian, Portuguese, Dutch, Chinese (simplified/ traditional), Japanese, Korean and etc. 2. Cursor translation "Shift" key for the cursor translation and cross-translations between different languages. You can translate words in any places of the screen by using the cursor translation function of Coolexon. Simply pressing Shift key, the translation results will be displayed on a popup window simultaneously when users place the cursor on a word. With this function, users can conveniently translate e-mails, Web pages, even PDF file. 3. Full text translation The online translation service offered by Coolexon integrates the most advanced text translation engines in the world, including Systran, Promt, Cross, Yahoo, Google and Altavista, etc, which makes text translation unbelievably easy. You can freely choose these engines for your translation and compare the different results generated by different engines to help you understand the texts in languages which you are not familiar with. 4. Words and Texts Pronunciation Based on the advanced text-to-speech (TTS) engine, Coolexon provides the function of words and texts pronunciation, which can help users quickly learn the pronunciations of the words and is very convenient for study and memorizing. 5. Free Multi-language Dictionaries We know the diverse demands of customers, therefore we provide hundreds of free professional dictionaries of various languages and disciplines for customers to download, and the quantity is increasing everyday.   www.secoolsoft.com/coolexon/index.html  The size of Coolexon is only 3.3MB which could be smallest dictionary software in the world. In this case, the usage of RAM and system resources for running Coolexon is very low. Every user can download and use the free trial with limited features

 

NIH Awards $850,000 SBIR Fast-Track Grant to Fluential to Develop Speech Translation System for Hospitals : The National Institutes of Health (NIH) has awarded an $850,000 Fast-Track Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) grant to Fluential, Inc. to develop and evaluate a two-way speech translation system to enable hospital nurses to communicate with their Spanish- and Cantonese-speaking patients. Fluential will create the speech translation system using S-MINDS, the technology platform the company has developed for the U.S. military. The system will provide hospital nurses with immediate access to accurate, convenient, and easy-to-use medical interpretation for their most common patient interactions. The system will be developed in collaboration with a major San Francisco-based medical center. "Our goal is to develop a system that will increase safety and the quality of care for hospital patients who cannot speak English" said Farzad Ehsani, Fluential's CEO. "This system will not be the Star Trek 'Universal Translator,' and it will not completely eliminate the need for trained medical interpreters. However, it should handle 80-90% of a nurse's routine communication needs and greatly increase his or her ability to communicate with patients when an interpreter is not available" added Ehsani. The NIH awards SBIR grants to small companies with fewer than 500 employees to engage in federal research that has the potential to solve important problems for society and also shows strong promise for commercialization. Fast-Track grants are reserved for those projects showing the most potential for commercial success and are awarded in two phases. In Phase 1, which will be completed by June of this year, Fluential's system will enable nurses to complete common tasks with their Spanish-speaking patients, including checking patients' vital signs, assessing their pain, and conducting a respiratory assessment. Phase 2 will be completed by the end of next year and will enable a comprehensive range of nurse-patient interactions in both Spanish and Cantonese. The completed system will contain highly accurate speech recognition, language translation and human-like speech synthesis engines, as well as a robust library of common concepts that are used in nurse-patient interactions in all three languages. During the evaluation period, Fluential will continue to update the system with additional words, phrases, and sentences. Established in 1998, Fluential Inc. is a provider of 2-way speech-to-speech translation systems. Its flagship product, S-MINDS, enables communication between two people who each speak a different language. S-MINDS is ideally suited for well-defined interactions, such as treating physical therapy patients, communicating with patients in hospital settings and training Iraqi police and soldiers by U.S. service members. Fluential was previously knows as Sehda, Inc. www.fluentialinc.com

 

Fluential Receives a $1.2 Million Contract from DARPA: The Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) has awarded a $1.2 million contract to Fluential, Inc. to develop the next generation of two-way speech translation technology and to create mission-specific applications using this technology for English-Arabic to be used by service members in Iraq.  Fluential received the contract under DARPA's Spoken Language Communication and Translation System for Tactical Use (TRANSTAC) program. The purpose of the TRANSTAC program is to develop technologies that enable spontaneous two-way tactical speech communications between English and target-language speakers. . www.fluentialinc.com

IBM To Help Computer Students Develop Software For The Disabled : The plan is to build a collection of repeatable learning materials to teach computer science students ways in which software can be rendered that makes it easier to use by individuals with disabilities. IBM said that it will work with several major universities in the United States and Canada to help them develop computer programming methods that can be used to create software that is easier to use for individuals with certain disabilities. Under the program, IBM said it would work with the University of Illinois, Georgia Tech, the University of Toronto, and several other institutions to create what it's calling the Accessibility Common Courseware Exchange for Software Studies (Access) repository. The plan is to build a collection of repeatable learning materials that educators can use to teach computer science students ways in which software can be rendered that makes it easier to use by individuals with visual, speech, hearing, or cognitive disabilities. For example, students using the courseware developed by IBM and the universities will, among other things, learn to create Web pages that are compatible with text-to-speech readers that allow the blind to surf the Web. A recent survey commissioned by IBM of more than 200 two- and four-year U.S. universities found that the majority of faculty respondents do not teach accessibility in the classroom, due to a lack of familiarity with the topic and a shortage of learning materials to incorporate into existing classes.

To honor Mass. employee’s wounded son, IBM offers tech donation: To honor an employee’s son who was badly wounded in Iraq, IBM Corp. plans to give the U.S. military $45 million worth of Arabic-English translation technology that the Pentagon had been testing for possible purchase. The offer - made from the highest reaches of the company directly to President Bush - is so unusual that Defense Department and IBM lawyers have been scouring federal laws to make sure the government can accept the donation. The story begins one night in late February, when Army Sgt. Mark Ecker Jr., 21, on his second tour in Iraq, was on patrol in Ramadi. Preparing to raid a house, Ecker’s unit lined up along a side of the building. But an explosive device had been hidden in the wall, and when it went off, it wounded several soldiers. Ecker eventually lost both legs below the knee.   Ecker’s father, an IBM mainframe sales specialist in East Longmeadow, shared the story of his son’s ordeal with co-workers, and word spread through the company. Eventually it reached Chairman and CEO Samuel Palmisano. IBM would not make Palmisano available for comment. But according to other IBM executives, With that and Ecker’s experience in mind, Palmisano called and wrote Bush, offering to make IBM’s Multilingual Automatic Speech Translator software, known as MASTOR, ”immediately available for use by our forces in Iraq.” Palmisano offered 10,000 copies of the MASTOR software and 1,000 devices equipped with it, plus training and technical support. Palmisano had heard from several IBM employees who have returned from active duty in Iraq that a shortage of Arabic translators has severely hampered U.S. forces’ efforts to communicate.     ”Hopefully this will be helpful to our efforts,” he wrote.     ”Hopefully this will be helpful to our efforts,” he wrote. Giambastiani told IBM he appreciated the donation, although according to his spokesman, Lt. Col. Gary Tallman, ”the offer is under evaluation right now” and ”does not constitute acceptance” by the Department of Defense.  ”Part of the evaluation is to determine a proper legal way for acceptance,” he wrote in an e-mail.  Indeed, it is very rare for a large defense contractor like IBM, which does roughly $3 billion worth of federal business every year, to give the government a freebie. It is also worth noting that MASTOR has been undergoing testing by the Pentagon’s Joint Forces Command, in addition to a rival two-way translation technology known as IraqComm from nonprofit SRI International. Both systems take English or Arabic that is spoken into a computer microphone, translate it into the other language and utter it through the machine’s speakers. Joint Forces Command told The Associated Press last October that tests on IraqComm and MASTOR so far had been in quiet offices rather than noisy war-zone settings, and that it might be 2009 before the technology is widely used on patrols or other tense situations.

Loquendo and Artificial Solutions Announce Integration of their Technologies into IKEA Online Assistant: Loquendo and Artificial Solutions, specialist in optimizing and automating Customer Support through natural language solutions, announce the integration of Loquendo Text to Speech into Artificial Solution's Interactive Web Assistant for IKEA's UK website. The interactive customer care service on IKEA's website - Ask Anna - is a human-like online assistant that can move, smile, understand and now also speak using Loquendo's truly lifelike Text To Speech, answering customer queries and helping them to find their way around the site. Employing an Interactive Web Assistant for first line customer support, i.e. for responding to straightforward and repetitive questions, is highly cost efficient. Artificial Solutions' Interactive Web Assistant is particularly effective because it takes visitors straight to the appropriate webpage. Thanks to Artificial Solution's innovative Interactive Web Assistant, visitors to the IKEA website can type in their questions on any aspect of IKEA product lines and services, and they will receive a prompt reply in an expressive and natural sounding voice. Questions can be phrased in a truly natural way and Anna will understand by identifying the key words, or will ask follow-up questions if more information is required to give a fully comprehensive response. Anna's knowledge base is gradually enhanced by means of dialogue analysis, while responses and URLs can be easily updated. Artificial Solutions' Interactive Web Assistant can be combined with a human-operator service, transferring calls to an operator if required and thus ensuring that customers always receive a complete and seamless service. During 2006 Anna helped over 10,000,000 IKEA customers and is now managing around 40,000 dialogues every day on the various IKEA web sites, generating cost savings of well over 10m euro per year. Artificial Solutions helps larger organisations and companies to drastically reduce their customer service costs while at the same time increasing customer satisfaction. These results are achieved by implementing our Customer Service Optimization, CSO™ concept that enables efficient optimization between the various service channels such as chat, e-mail and telephone as well as optimization between automated, semi-automated and manual service in all these service channels. The applications used in the CSO™ concept are based on advanced natural language processing and include the Interactive Web Assistant, the Agent Based Chat, the E-mail Processor and the Interactive Phone Assistant. The knowledge used by these applications is managed in the web based knowledge management tool CSO™ Knowledge and the statistics and log files generated from the applications can be viewed and analyzed in the web based tool CSO™ Analysis.

 

Toast 8 ScriptPak: MacSpeech Inc. (Salem, NH) has released new a new ScriptPak for Toast Titanium version 8. The new ScriptPak add almost 60 commands to iListen, allowing users to do virtually anything in Toast they would normally do using the keyboard or menus. "Toast 8 adds a brand new interface and a host of new features," said MacSpeech Chief Evangelist Chuck Rogers. ScriptPaks work with MacSpeech's flagship product, iListen, whose TalkAnywhere technology allows users to dictate anywhere they would normally type. ScriptPaks enhance iListen's Command & Control capabilities by teaching it about the individual keyboard and menu commands in a specific program. ScriptPaks only affect iListen's ability to control an application and are not required for dictation. The Toast ScriptPak is available immediately from the MacSpeech online store for only $10. www.macspeech.com Contact: Chuck Rogers (504) 628-3640 chuck.rogers@macspeech.com

 

Avid Delivers Media Composer and Avid Xpress Pro for Intel-Based Macs: Avid Technology, Inc. (NASDAQ: AVID) announced the worldwide availability of version 2.7 of its Media Composer family of products and version 5.7 of Avid Xpress Pro software.  The new Media Composer and Avid Xpress Pro systems now include support for Intel-based Mac notebooks and workstations, new workflow capabilities, and an updated bundle of third-party content creation software.  Both Avid products also offer expanded format support, including write-back capabilities for the popular Sony XDCAM and Panasonic P2 file-based media formats, as well as support for the emerging 720p50 HD broadcast standard in Europe.  In addition, version 2.7 of the Media Composer system introduces two industry breakthroughs -- Avid ScriptSync™, a next-generation script-based editing tool that uses phonetic speech recognition technology to automatically sync text with media; and Avid DNxHD® 36, the industry's most efficient HD codec for offline editorial, which runs at a data rate of 36 Mb/s (megabits per second), only slightly greater than the data rate of DV25 media, but at full-raster HD resolution.  Avid will showcase the new Media Composer and Avid Xpress Pro systems -- alongside other technology innovations -- at the National Association of Broadcasters convention in Las Vegas from April 16 - 19, 2007. Powered by next-generation phonetic speech recognition technology from Nexidia, the ScriptSync tool advances the functionality of Avid's script-based editing by automating the task of synchronizing scripts or transcripts with their respective media files, and eliminates the labor intensive process of manually inserting sync points.  Once the script and media are matched, editors, directors and producers can quickly and easily review multiple line readings and select individual takes.  With ScriptSync, script-based editing is significantly more accurate and more practical for everyday use. 

 

Nexidia increases index speed of audio files by 24% and search speed by 224%: Nexidia announced that they have significantly increased their technology’s indexing and search speeds to help companies uncover valuable data from their audio files. Nexidia has optimized the algorithms of their own core phonetic-based audio search technology, resulting in greater index and search speeds. With these enhancements the index speed has increased from 66 to 82 times faster than real-time and the search speed has increased from 169,000 to 548,000 times faster than real-time on the same hardware. As a result of both Nexidia’s enhanced technology and the use of more powerful hardware, the index speed is 341 times faster than real-time on a single dual processor server, which means the technology can render over 8,000 hours of audio data searchable per day. As a result, Nexidia delivers the most competitive total cost of ownership for audio search and analysis while allowing companies to quickly review the entirety of their audio data.  As companies look for insights in their recorded audio files, it is critical that they have a solution that will allow them to search quickly and accurately. Significantly increasing the scalability and index time of audio search has been a focus for many vendors in the speech analytics industry and Nexidia continues to deliver major technological advances to its customers.  Technical Details: *Previous index speed: 66 times faster than real-time on a single 3.8 GHz processor *New index speed: 82 times faster than real-time on a single 3.8 GHz processor  *New index speed on optimum hardware: 341 times faster than real-time on a 3.0 GHz dual processor/ quad core *Previous search speed: 169,000 times faster than real-time on a 3.0 GHz processor *New enhanced search speed on optimum hardware: 3,610,800 times faster than real-time on a 2.66 GHz dual processor/ quad core  www.nexidia.com

 

Nuance to Acquire Focus Infomatics, Accelerates Delivery of Speech Services to Automate Healthcare Transcription: Nuance Communications, Inc. (NASDAQ: NUAN) announced a definitive agreement whereby Nuance will acquire Focus Infomatics, Inc.. This acquisition will expand Nuance’s ability to deliver Web-based speech recognition editing services and significantly accelerate Nuance’s strategy to automate manual transcription in healthcare, where an estimated $15 billion is spent worldwide each year. Focus Infomatics is one of the most respected speech recognition services organizations in healthcare, serving some of the U.S.’s largest healthcare organizations such as Ardent Healthcare, MD Anderson Cancer Center and Brigham and Women’s Hospital. The company combines the use of speech recognition, a Web-based editing platform and an optimized India-based operation to achieve superior customer satisfaction, turnaround time and cost efficiency. Nuance expects the acquisition to add between $7 million and $9 million in Dictaphone healthcare revenues in fiscal year 2007 and between $18 million and $22 million in fiscal year 2008. The acquisition is expected to be dilutive to earnings on a GAAP basis by approximately $(0.02) to $(0.01) in fiscal year 2007 and $(0.01) to $0.00 per share in fiscal year 2008. On a non-GAAP basis, the acquisition is expected to be accretive to earnings, excluding amortization, acquisition-related costs and stock-based compensation, by approximately $0.00 to $0.01 per share in fiscal year 2007 and $0.02 to $0.03 per share in fiscal year 2008. The acquisition was funded with cash. Consideration after adjustments is approximately $58 million. The acquisition has been approved by both companies’ Boards of Directors and is expected to close by March 31, 2007, subject to customary conditions. Focus’ complements Nuance’s existing suite of healthcare solutions, providing: * Accelerated Growth for Dictaphone iChart For the past year, the Dictaphone iChart managed transcription service has been a significant catalyst of growth for Nuance. This acquisition provides the Company and its iChart Preferred Service Providers with additional infrastructure and capacity to achieve high levels of accuracy, reliability and scale in this extremely fertile market. *Recurring Revenue Stream Within Nuance, software as a service continues to become an integral component of the Company’s financial performance. The acquisition of Focus Infomatics affords a stable, recurring revenue stream from its speech editing services. In addition to delivering these speech-based services to the customers of Nuance’s Dictaphone Healthcare Solutions division, Focus will continue to service its existing customer base. *Improved Operating Efficiencies The acquisition is expected to improve earnings through immediate improvements to Dictaphone operating margins and enhanced synergies over time. In particular, Focus’ India-based operations allow for an efficient, cost-effective delivery of Nuance’s automated speech services. Focus now serves more than 100 medical facilities across the United States. Nuance’s Dictaphone Healthcare Solutions Division provides comprehensive dictation and transcription solutions and services that improve the way patient data is captured, processed and used changing the way people process and work with medical information. Nuance.com/Dictaphone.

 

Philips Announces Integration Support from Dataworxs for the Digital Pocket Memo 9600: Royal Philips Electronics (NYSE: PHG, AEX: PHI) announced that Dataworxs is offering immediate support for the new Digital Pocket Memo 9600. The launch of the handheld recorder was formally announced last week. Dataworxs Systems Limited is a global digital dictation workflow and audio management developer for digital dictation, transcription and speech processing.  *Advanced features of the Digital Pocket Memo 9600 include: *The highest data security standard in mobile dictation, which facilitates compliance with Sarbanes-Oxley, HIPAA and other standards through file encryption, passwords and personal user keys. *Voice files that are password-protected on the device itself to prevent unauthorized access. *DSS Pro file compression, an enhancement of the industry’s DSS standard that ensures clear sound quality for more accurate manual transcription and improved speech recognition results. *The largest backlit display of any dictation unit and smart buttons that make operability completely intuitive. *A ‘quick recharge’ feature that ensures constant availability. *Metal case design that recently received the IF Product Design award 2007 for its outstanding ergonomics and innovative functionality. Philips Speech Processing is a global market leader for professional dictation systems and develops, manufactures and sells both analog and digital dictation solutions. www.philips.com/dictation Rick Gallahan  rick.gallahan@philips.com  (410) 349-4685 www.dataworxs.com

 

Release of WinScribe v3.7 Digital Dictation for Optimal Dictation Workflow: WinScribe, announces the release of WinScribe version 3.7, with enhancements specifically aimed at improving enterprise-wide workflow management.  In addition to its compatibility with the recent release of Microsoft Windows Vista, the latest version includes advanced features designed to ease workflow such as integrated speech recognition which will further help clients to improve report turnaround times.  The ability for authors to generate, review and approve reports from anywhere is further improved by WinScribe's support for a multitude of input devices. WinScribe is the first digital dictation supplier to support the new Philips 9600 range of digital portables, as well as the Olympus DS 30, 40, 50 digital portables.  With the professional capabilities of Dragon Naturally Speaking 9 integrated into the WinScribe application, organizations will experience notable productivity gains and cost efficiencies. Using client-side speech recognition, speech recognition text can be viewed, edited and corrected while the author is dictating a report. With server-side speech recognition, jobs can be directed to the speech recognition server for processing and automatic distribution, keeping the author unburdened with administrative tasks.  www.winscribe.com

 

DynaVox Technologies Chooses Wizzard Software to Provide Text-To-Speech Technology for Assistive Products: Wizzard Software (OTCBB: WIZD) announced that DynaVox Technologies (Pittsburgh, PA) has selected the desktop version of the AT&T Natural Voices text-to-speech (TTS) software to enhance the speech capabilities of their DynaVox V and Vmax speech-generating devices.  DynaVox Technologies develops, manufactures and distributes advanced speech-output solutions for individuals challenged by significant speech, language and learning disabilities. The DynaVox V and Vmax were designed to improve communication for individuals who may otherwise be unable to speak their minds due to the effects of disease or disability. These easy-to-use, full-featured portable communication devices are utilized by people of all ages with various diagnoses, such as autism, stroke, cerebral palsy, traumatic brain injury, Down syndrome and amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS or Lou Gehrig’s Disease), to name a few.  AT&T Natural Voices provides the clear, natural-sounding voices that will allow these individuals to be heard in a variety of situations, such as at home, school or work, and particularly where communication may be challenging such as in shopping malls, stadiums, and other public environments.  Also featured in the Dynavox V and Vmax is the DynaVox Series 5 software, the most comprehensive and powerful communication software in the industry, which permits users to compose messages and create keyboard short-cuts that enable instant communication.  Another feature is the InterAACT framework, which serves as the V’s core content, and provides pages developed based on a communicator’s age, communication ability and the context or setting of the interaction.  The InterAACT framework presents a complete language system suitable for all ages and cognitive levels that also allows for real-time communication using pictures or visual scenes.  DynaVox V speech-output device was recently featured in a segment titled “Technology to Aid the Disabled” on ABC News Now’s Ahead of the Curve program.  www.dynavoxtech.com. DynaVox Systems LLC applies proprietary and third-party technologies, and applied research efforts to deliver a broad range of augmentative communications tools to improve the quality of life for adults and children with severe speech disabilities caused by Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis (ALS or Lou Gehrig's Disease), stroke, traumatic brain injury, cerebral palsy, Parkinson's Disease, autism and mental retardation. The Company offers a wide range of software and hardware technology, along with an extensive customer support program, which enables individuals and their families to access state-of-the-art technology and reimbursement counsel regarding the Company's suite of products. www.wizzardsoftware.com Contact: Danielle Lewis (412-621-0902) Marketing Director

XA Interactive Enters into Exclusive Strategic Alliance with Wizzard Media :  XA Interactive, a subsidiary of XA Inc., (XA) (OTC BB: XAIN) announced a strategic alliance with Wizzard Media, the world's largest podcasting service and part of Wizzard Software (OTCBB: WIZD), to enhance its service offerings for their Fortune 100 and Fortune 500 clients.  Wizzard Media will assist XA in providing their clients with new social media marketing channels through the creation and marketing of digital content, such as podcasts and web video, adding a cutting-edge advantage to their marketing and public relations efforts.  XA will be the exclusive content provider for the event marketing industry in the Wizzard Media distribution network.  In addition to acting as XA's exclusive podcast distribution network, Wizzard Media will provide XA with a number of online optimization efforts to maximize the exposure XA-produced events will receive, such as website creation, video and audio blogging, e-mail messaging and other forms of consumer interaction tools. Wizzard Media is the world's largest podcasting distribution company, providing podcasting services to over 6,000 independent and corporate clients.  Through media aggregators like Apple's iTunes and other podcast directories, Wizzard Media distributes over 60 million podcast downloads per month. XA is a holding company for several wholly-owned subsidiaries, one of which is The Experiential Agency, Inc., an Illinois corporation. The Experiential Agency, Inc. has offices in Chicago, New York and Los Angeles from which it provides corporations and highly visible brands with comprehensive event marketing, public and media relations, design and production services. Since 1989, the XA team has been the creative force behind prestigious, national projects for such clients as The NBA, Disney, McDonald's, British Telecom, Song Airlines, Eurex, Olympus, Salvatore Ferragamo, Vogue, W Hotels, ABN AMRO and Emirates Airline. In 2003 and 2004 www.wizzard.tv  

 

Hilary Duff Teams with Wizzard Media for Podcast Distribution: Hilary Duff, internationally celebrated multi-platinum, chart-topping recording artist, headlining concert performer, actress, designer, philanthropist and businesswoman, and Wizzard Media announced Hilary's popular video podcasts will be distributed by Wizzard Media. Hilary's podcast can be found on Apple's iTunes or at Switchpod.com, and on Hilary's recently re-launched hilaryduff.com.  The Hilary Duff Video Podcast presents a sneak peak into Hilary's entertainment and business ventures.  The latest episodes feature personal messages from Hilary on location in London and Milan.  In recent weeks, the podcasts have been consistently ranked in the top 100 most popular podcasts on iTunes and reached the #1 spot of iTunes' Fashion and Beauty category.   Hilary has been a Hollywood sensation since her break-out role as the title character in the Disney Channel's hit series, Lizzie McGuire.  She maintains a successful film career with starring roles in The Lizzie McGuire Movie and the Cheaper by the Dozen films. Hilary is also a pop music star having sold over 13 million albums worldwide. Her new album, Dignity, is scheduled for U.S. release in April.  She is also an entrepreneur, having launched a thriving 'tween fashion label stuff by hilary duff for large U.S. and international retail chains which includes, among others, apparel, accessories, jewelry, home furnishings and fragrance. Teenagers make up a sizable portion of digital media users.  More than half of America's teens (54%) own a portable mp3 player, according to a 2006 study conducted by market research firm Ipsos.  The report finds that as many as one in five Americans aged 12 years or more now owns a portable mp3 player, and more than one in twenty own more than one. Additionally, when they are not enjoying video podcasts on their MP3 players, they're watching video on the Internet.  www.wizzard.tv www.hilaryduff.com Contacts: Big Mouth Communications, Amy Bonetti, 415-384-0900, amy@bigmouthpr.com

 

Voice Data Entry Applications/Products/Services/Partnerships/Financials

 

CTG Selects Syclo's Agentry Platform to Deliver Speech-Enabled Multimodal Logistics Systems: CTG (NASDAQ:CTGX) (Buffalo, NY) and Syclo announced a strategic partnership to deliver speech-enabled multimodal business applications to the logistics industry. CTG has executed a reseller agreement licensing Syclo's Agentry platform and is being certified as an Agentry mobile application developer. The new CTG offering, Vulcan Voice Powered by Agentry, incorporates a state-of-the-art speech recognition engine and text-to-speech application to optimize the enterprise-wide management of inventory, resources and facilities. The new solution allows workers to interact with their warehouse management systems by voice, improving productivity and accuracy across manufacturing plants and distribution facilities by freeing workers' hands and eyes to focus on their specific tasks. Syclo is a leading developer of mobile solutions that streamline workflow, maximize productivity and drive more value from enterprise systems. Building on its flagship development platform Agentry, Syclo offers fully configurable, rapidly deployed mobile applications that run on a variety of devices and support real-time wireless and offline computing. Syclo's SMART Suite includes prepackaged and preintegrated applications that mobilize CRM, ERP and EAM systems, among others, to improve communication and data capture. Syclo and its partners utilize Agentry to design, develop and integrate customized solutions on time and within budget. Over 600 Global 2000 corporations across industries have deployed Syclo's solutions. www.syclo.com/ Backed by 40 years' experience, CTG provides IT application management, consulting, software development and integration, and staffing solutions. CTG has automated hundreds of warehouse and distribution facilities ranging from less than 20,000 to over two million square feet, both in North America and Europe. CTG's 3,300 IT professionals based in an international network of offices in North America and Europe have a proven track record of delivering solutions that work. www.ctg.com. Contact: Ken Severs, CTG, Tel: (800) 214-2820 Ken.severs@ctg.com Joe Granda, Syclo, LLC. Tel: (847) 230-3800 


Nuance Communications and CTG Deliver Speech-Enabled Warehouse Management System:
Nuance Communications, Inc. (NASDAQ: NUAN) and CTG (NASDAQ: CTGX), a leading IT services provider with extensive experience in the automation of warehouse and distribution centers within the Consumer Packaged Goods (CPG) and Food & Beverages industries, today announced that CTG has selected Nuance speech technology to power Vulcan Voice, its new speech-enabled solution for the warehousing and logistics industry. The new solution allows workers to interact with the warehouse management system by voice, improving productivity and accuracy across manufacturing plants and distribution facilities by freeing workers’ hands and eyes to focus on specific warehouse tasks. Vulcan Voice incorporates Nuance’s speech recognition and text-to-speech technology to optimize the enterprise-wide management of inventory, resources and facilities. CTG has delivered Vulcan Voice to a major North American CPG manufacturer to transform its complex warehouse operations across more than 200 individual facilities. This manufacturer, a CTG customer for more than a decade, opted to speech-enable its existing logistics solution to optimize the overall efficiency of warehouse operations, including loading, receiving and replenishment. The speech application from CTG and Nuance replaces cumbersome keyboards and touch screens and allows expanded capabilities of the CTG warehouse system while reducing labor costs and minimizing new capital investments. “We selected Nuance as our strategic partner based on the high recognition accuracy demonstrated by the VoCon 3200 engine, especially in noisy environments, such as those a mobile device user might experience in a distribution center,” said Michael Colson, CTG’s senior vice president, IT Solutions. “In our logistics laboratories, engineers evaluated several competitive voice technologies by conducting extensive noise and accuracy tests and concluded that Nuance VoCon 3200 was the clear choice for embedded voice-recognition. Nuance also provides state-of-the-art embedded text-to-speech software that accurately reads data in a natural-sounding voice.” Backed by 40 years’ experience, CTG provides IT application management, consulting, software development and integration, and staffing solutions. CTG has automated hundreds of warehouse and distribution facilities ranging from less than 20,000 to over two million square feet, both in North America and Europe. CTG’s 3,300 IT professionals based in an international network of offices in North America and Europe have a proven track record of delivering solutions that work. www.ctg.com. CTG, Inc. Ken Severs, 800-214-2820 ken.severs@ctg.com or Nuance Communications, Inc. Kristen Wylie, 781-565-5428 kristen.wylie@nuance.com

 

Kendal at Longwood Continuing Care Retirement Community Implements AccuNurse Voice-Assisted Care : Vocollect Healthcare Systems, Inc. announces that Kendal at Longwood (Chester County, Pennsylvania), a continuing care retirement community (CCRC) and a leader in the field of not-for-profit care for the aging, deployed AccuNurse, a voice-powered, point-of-care documentation and communication system. Within a year of implementation, Kendal reduced nurse overtime by more than 50 percent, improved documentation for state surveys, and enabled its staff to spend more time with residents. With AccuNurse, which is designed specifically for skilled nursing facilities, caregivers at Kendal at Longwood wear lightweight headsets that enable them to hear care plans, deliver care accurately, document care as it takes place and communicate with other staff to more quickly respond to residents. AccuNurse converts their speech into real-time reports that are used by Kendal nursing staff and management for monitoring resident care and staff progress. With both hands free, caregivers can document while multitasking, and reports are instantly generated and available online for nurses, dieticians, and physical therapists -- anyone needing specific information about residents' care. In addition to meeting its residents' daily care needs, Kendal at Longwood also improved documentation in preparation for its annual survey conducted by Health Care Regulatory Services at the Pennsylvania State Department of Health.  From a nursing perspective, Kendal at Longwood has reported these results, as documented in the National Institute on Aging Final Report, 30 June 2006: -- Reduced nurse overtime by more than 50 percent;  -- Reduced time spent on paperwork up to 27 minutes per staff member per shift; -- Replaced end-of-shift meetings with audible reports, saving up to 30 minutes per staff member per shift;  Reduced time spent searching for staff by more than 70 percent for both nurses and nursing assistants; and Increased speed, ease and accuracy of documenting residents' dietary information, resulting in savings of one full-time equivalent. Kendal at Longwood reports that, based on nursing hours reduction alone, they have achieved payback within just a year of implementing AccuNurse. The organization plans to eventually expand use of AccuNurse to its assisted living facilities.

 

Waitrose Expands Usage of Voxware’s VoiceLogistics : Voxware, Inc. (Nasdaq: VOXW), announced that Waitrose have placed an order for a major expansion of their use of Voxware’s VoiceLogistics software in key Waitrose distribution centres. “We have been using VoiceLogistics from Voxware for the past two years,” said Mike Wooldridge, Manager Distribution Projects, for Waitrose.  “The results are now quite impressive, both in terms of partner productivity and accuracy, so from a cost/benefit standpoint it is the right time for us to expand our use of voice technology.” www.voxware.com. Contact: UK: Gareth Giles-Knopp – 44 (0)1189.832.660 US: Maureen Miller - 732.747.5786  Product/Sales Inquiries: marketing@voxware.com 609.514.4100 ext. 4122

 

B&Q Selects Voxware for Voice-Driven Logistics Solution : Voxware, Inc. (Nasdaq: VOXW), announced that B&Q (Theale, England) have ordered Voxware’s VoiceLogistics® software for implementation in B&Q distribution centres. Voxware’s software enables workers to perform a wide array of logistics tasks – such as picking, receiving, and replenishment – more efficiently.  B&Q will deploy the software on MC3090 terminals from Motorola, beginning with 60 units at B&Q’s Preston Brook facility. “We are very pleased to have B&Q join the Voxware family of customers,” said Scott J. Yetter, Voxware President.  “The retail sector is proving to be a strong focal point for Voxware, as an increasing number of companies seek to realize the cost benefits delivered by our VoiceLogistics software.”  B&Q is the UK's leading DIY and garden centre retailer, offering over 45,000 inspirational home improvement and garden products for the homemaker, occasional to serious DIY'er, and trade professionals.  B&Q is the number one DIY retailer in Europe and the third largest in the world. www.voxware.com.

 

NASDAQ Determines Voxware Not Eligible For Continued Listing on the NASDAQ Capital Market : On March 23, 2007, Voxware, Inc., a Delaware corporation (the “Company”), received a determination from the Listing Qualifications Department of The NASDAQ Stock Market, Inc. (“NASDAQ”) indicating that the NASDAQ staff denied the Company’s request for continued listing on The NASDAQ Capital Market as a result of the Company’s failure to comply with or satisfy NASDAQ Marketplace Rule 4310(c)(2)(B), which requires that the Company maintain minimum stockholder’s equity of $2,500,000 or $35,000,000 market value of listed securities or $500,000 of net income from continuing operations for the most recently completed fiscal year or two of the three most recently completed fiscal years.  In response to the determination, the Company intends to request a hearing before the NASDAQ Listing Qualifications Panel to appeal the determination and seek continued listing on The NASDAQ Capital Market.  The request for the hearing will stay the determination at least until the hearing is held (generally within 30 to 45 days from the request for such hearing).  After the hearing, the NASDAQ panel will render a formal decision on this matter.  In the meantime, the Company’s securities will continue to trade on The NASDAQ Capital Market, pending issuance of the Panel’s final decision. The Company intends to demonstrate its plan to satisfy the requirements for continued listing on The NASDAQ Capital Market at the time of the hearing, although no assurance can be made that NASDAQ will modify its determination. www.voxware.com. investor Relations Contact: Paul Commons IR@voxware.com 609.514.4100

 

 

 

Base Speech Technology Applications/Products/Services/Partnerships/Financials

 

LumenVox Announces New Spanish Language Model for Speech-enabled Asterisk® Solutions: LumenVox, announced at VON support for South American and Mexican Spanish-language dialects in their Speech Engine v7.5. These new language models enable Asterisk developers in Spanish-speaking countries to leverage LumenVox speech recognition technology by building speech-enabled applications that are localized for their markets. The LumenVox Speech Engine is the core speech recognition technology that handles the recognition of words and phrases. Currently supported languages are US, UK, Australian and New Zealand English; Canadian French; and the new Spanish dialects. The Speech Engine is directly and seamlessly integrated with the Asterisk platform. Speech applications can be written in Dial Plan, Java and VXML. 877-977-0707 www.LumenVox.com.

 

W3C gives browsing a voice: The organisation that determines Web standards is turning its attention, once again, towards vocal interaction with websites. The W3C (World Wide Web Consortium) has announced it is relaunching its Voice Browser Working Group, to better enable users to speak and listen to Web-based apps. The group, says the W3C, will concentrate on 'standardising languages for capturing and producing speech, and for managing the dialog between users and computers'. 'The telephone was invented more than 150 years ago, and continues to be a very important means for us to communicate with each other,' says the W3C in its introduction to the group's work. 'The Web by comparison is very recent, but has rapidly become a competing communications channel. The convergence of telecommunications and the Web is now bringing the benefits of Web technology to the telephone, enabling Web developers to create applications that can be accessed via any telephone, and allowing people to interact with these applications via speech and telephone keypads.' Areas for standardisation include voice dialogs, speech synthesis, speech recognition, telephony call control for voice browsers and voice response sytems generally. This includes help for people with hearing or speaking impairments. Possible applications identified by the W3C include accessing personal information (such as calendars, address and telephone lists and to-do lists), public information (weather, traffic conditions, school closures and local and national news) and business information (such as 'front desks' asking callers who or what they want and automated telephone ordering services or event booking services).  Specifically, the focus of the group, as before, will be on the W3C Speech Interface Framework suite of specifications, which includes the likes of VoiceXML, a Speech Recognition Grammar Specification, a Speech Synthesis Markup Language (SSML) and Semantic Interpretation for Speech Recognition (SISR). More details about the Voice Browser Working Group, including how to join, can be found here. Scott McGlashan, of HP, and Jim Larson, described as an 'invited expert' will chair the group.

 

Speech Industry People

 

Apptera announced the promotion of Randy Haldeman to chief marketing officer. PlantCML, announces the appointment of Lorin Bristow to Vice President of Marketing. Fluency Voice Technology announced the appointment of Mark Bush to Director of Alliances. Steve Chirokas joins SpeechCycle as Vice President of Marketing

 

Financials

 

Table F1

Q4, 2006 Financial Results

Supplier

Item

Q4, 2006

2005 to 2006 % change

Q3, 2006 to Q4, 2006 % change

Q4, 2005

Q3, 2006

$M

$M

Andrea Electronics

Total Revenue

1.60

41.80

-5.15

1.13

1.69

Net Income

0.04

-116.70

-23.60

-0.21

0.05

Cash or equiv.

0.30

-27.35

81.61

0.42

0.17

ThinkEngine

Total Revenue

2.70

-32.50

173.83

4.00

0.99

Net Income

-0.90

-10.00

210.34

-1.00

-0.29

Cash or equiv.

2.76

-65.96

-34.10

8.12

4.19

Encorium Group

Total Revenue

6.08

183.13

39.87

2.15

4.35

Net Income

-1.03

56.31

-259.59

-0.66

0.65

Cash or equiv.

5.53

398.57

-36.35

1.11

8.69

Enghouse

Total Revenue

11.59

-20.08

-14.58

14.50

13.57

Net Income

1.55

-42.09

-35.68

2.68

2.41

Cash or equiv.

90.95

9.06

7.08

83.40

84.94

Fonix

Total Revenue

0.31

-19.74

-20.98

0.38

0.39

Net Income

-2.95

-62.98

-34.24

-7.97

-4.49

Cash or equiv.

0.00

-100.00

-100.00

0.03

0.04

ICT Group

Total Revenue

117.20

6.16

10.15

110.40

106.40

Net Income

5.10

30.77

2.00

3.90

5.00

Cash or equiv.

32.37

210.39

-12.76

10.43

37.10

Witness Systems

Total Revenue

64.36

26.58

25.89

50.85

51.13

Net Income

-0.51

-113.28

-119.70

3.85

2.59

Cash or equiv.

73.89

-33.88

-20.95

111.75

93.48

Wizzard Software

Total Revenue

0.74

-8.62

-9.77

0.81

0.82

Net Income

-1.58

153.81

26.36

-0.62

-1.25

Cash or equiv.

2.69

209.23

1914.18

0.87

0.13

 


Table F2

Speech Industry Financial Summary (April 1, 2007)

Company

Symbol

Share price

2006

Market Cap.

Mkt Cap./Rev.

2005

Last

52-wk.

Rev.

Net Income

4/1/2007

% change

Rev.

Hi

Low

 $M

$M

Comverse Technology

CMVT

21

25.23

16.95

1588.554

-39.87

4,240.00

-3.64

2.67

959.4

Convergys

CVG

25.63

27.18

17.72

3,789.80

166.2

3,505.00

0.14

0.92

2,582.1

Eckoh (UK)

ECK

10

17.7

6

250.475

4.5326

68.54

-18.36

0.27

104.937

Enghouse(Canada)

ESL

8.25

11.18

7.51

54.3195

9.56

173.14

1.73

3.19

43.5

Fonix

FNIX

0.0013

0.028

0.0011

1.329

-21.943

1.70

-35.11

1.28

16.2

ICT Group

ICTG

27

36.88

21.83

447.912

16.811

286.99

-30.44

0.64

401.3

Interactive Intelligence

ININ

15.69

23.1

8.52

83.222

10.248

264.36

6.16

3.18

62.9

Intervoice

INTV

6.63

8.27

5.58

197.716

8.3

256.21

-1.78

1.30

168.1

MedQuist

MEDQ

9.92

15.45

9.25

NA

NA

NA

NA

NA

NA

NMS Communications

NMSS

1.64

5

1.6

99.606

-15.751

74.87

-12.76

0.75

109.5

Nuance Communications

NUAN

15.28

16.63

6.94

388.51

-22.887

2,640.00

9.09

6.80

232.4

Prosodie (France)

PRD

25.2

28.21

14.8

NA

NA

197.05

8.39

NA

185.7

SAFLINK

SFLK

0.09

0.85

0.06

4.166

-120.11

11.26

8.00

2.70

7.1

TALX

TALX

33.47

36.94

17.86

256.829

33.238

1,050.00

-1.87

4.09

193.3

Telephonetics

TPH.L

0.178

0.622

0.242

12.867

-0.321

14.68

-3.10

1.14

8.779

ThinkEngine Networks

THN

2.59

3.72

1.75

9.633

-5.595

17.23

-12.80

1.79

7.75

Trinsic

TRIN

0.07

0.2

0.051

NA

NA

NA

NA

NA

189.205

VoxWare

VOXW

2.8

7.25

2.04

15.478

-6.763

17.54

-4.41

1.13

17.5

Verint

VRNT

32.32

37.34

25.02

373.575

2.84

1,040.00

2.97

2.78

309.066

Vertical Communications

VRCC

0.9

1.1

0.27

63.292

-14.272

42.32

-5.26

0.67

36.051

Witness Systems

WITS

27

27.04

12.76

221.783

7.458

922.05

1.39

4.16

185.4

Wizzard Software

WIZD

2.6

3.75

1.37

2.943579

-4.794

91.26

-23.75

31.00

1.694

Total

Total

 

 

 

7,862.01

6.88

14,914.21

-3.20

1.90

5,821.9

 


 

Speech Tek Jobs.com

2377 S. El Camino Real, Suite #201

San Clemente, CA 92672

Phone 949-366-9000 ● Fax 949-366-9200

www.SpeechTekJobs.com

 

Career Opportunities in Speech Technology – April, 2007

 

Job Title

City/State

Position Id

Account Partner, Financial Services

Several US locations

AXG-1041

Acoustics & Hands Free Specialist

Detroit area

AXG-1012

Consultant Professional Services, Automotive 

Cincinnati area

AXG-1046

Business Consultant, Call Center Solutions

Work remotely or in New Jersey

AXG-1064

Client Manager, Enterprise Software / Telcom

San Francisco Bay Area

AXG-1089

CTI Developer/Programmer

Work remotely or in NJ

AXG-1061

Director Professional Services

Flexible/ Major US cities

AXG-1043

Director, Professional Services Sales 

Flexible /Major US Cities

AXG-1042

Industry Lead, Media & Entertainment

DC, CO, FL, OH, Possible Remote

AXG-1098

Partner Manager / Telephony Consultant

San Francisco Bay Area

AXG-1090

Product Manager, Telephony Software Products

San Francisco Bay Area

AXG-1091

Project Manager, Consulting Services

Any major US city

AXG-1024

Sales Account Exec Voice Applications

Flexible/US Sales Regions

AXG-994 

Sales Account Manager, Speech Solutions

Flexible / South East Region

AXG-1084

Sales Director, Call Center Solutions

Seattle

AXG-1095

Sales Engineer Call Center Solutions

Work remotely or in NJ

AXG-1030

Senior Business Analyst

Open / several US locations

AXG-1023 

Senior VUI Designer / IVR Systems

Work remotely or in TX

AXG-1052

Speech Apps/Grammar Tuning

Dallas area

AXG-1065

Speech Applications, Tuning & Grammars

Silicon Valley CA

AXG-1085

Speech Recognition Engineer

Pittsburgh

AXG-1053

Speech Recognition Software Engineer

NY, NJ

AXG-1007

Speech Recognition Scientist

Boston area MA

AXG-1086

Speech Technology Architect 

Chicago

AXG-1025

Voice Biometrics Engineer, Senior

Pennsylvania

AXG-1102

Voice Interaction Designer

New York City

AXG-1108

VoiceXML Developers 

Chicago area

AXG-1056

VUI Design Analyst 

San Francisco Bay Area

AXG-1075

VUI Designer

New York

AXG-1094

VUI Design & Usability, Senior Manager

Dallas Area

AXG-1104

VUI Design Leader

Work remotely & travel

AXG-958 

Web Supp/ Integration Engineer 

Silicon Valley

AXG-1072

 

Calendar

 


Coming Speech Events

2007 IEEE International Conference on Acoustics
Speech, and Signal Processing (ICASSP)
Honolulu, Hawaii
17-20 April 2007
www.icasssp2007.org

ATA Summit, Washington DC

22-25 April  2007

ATA, www.ataconnect.org/RegistrationSummit  317-816-9336

Voice Biometircs Conference, Washington, DC
1-2 May , 2007
Opus Research, www.voicebiocon.com Pete Headrick: (415) 904-7666, or pheadrick@opusresearch.net

INTERSPEECH 2007
Antwerp, Belgium
27-31 August 2007
www.interspeech2007.org/

EIG Speech Applications: Planning, VUI Design, & Tuning
17-21 September 2007
Las Vegas
, NV
ICMI,   800-672-6177 icmi@icmi.com

 

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ASRNews is published monthly by Voice Information Associates, Inc., P.O. Box 253, Concord, MA, 01742, USA, Voice. 978- 266-1966, Fax:815-550-8730, http://www.asrnews.com, email, asrnews@asrnews.com Walt Tetschner, Publisher and Editor.  Subscription, annual: hard copy only, U.S. and Canada, $345, foreign, $395, Copyright 2002, ISSN 1051-4163.  All rights reserved.  Reproduction or photocopying is strictly prohibited without written permission.  Voice Information Associates is an information services company specializing in the advanced speech technology industry.