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Monday, February 28, 2005

Speech Industry Finds Microsoft's Speech Server to be a Red Herring!

If you were at SpeechTEK last week, you probably had a tough time finding Microsoft's booth. Unlike last Spring when Microsoft made its Speech Server Splash at SpeechTEK 2004, this year, Microsoft was not to found at SpeechTek. If you've been watching the news since then, you probably realize that in terms of Microsoft Speech Server, there is either no news, or bad news such as this rather scathing article entitled "Bumpy start for Microsoft's Speech Server" that ran in Computer World.

On the other hand, the rest of the speech industry continues to rapidly gravitate towards the established W3C standards (VoiceXML, etc.) for speech applications. One significant development this week was the huge boost in support enjoyed by the VoiceXML Forum. Intel, Loquendo, Scansoft, Tellme and Verizon have all joined the VoiceXML Forum at the sponsor level.

Thursday, February 10, 2005

Eclipse and VoiceXML Development

While I don't have any hands-on experience with HP's OpenCall Media Platform vXML developer toolkit per se, I am quite enamored by Eclipse, upon which it is based. Eclipse does all the things Borland's JBuilder does for me at a much better price! The ability to easily customize Eclipse to create more specialized IDE's (such as HP's for VoiceXML) make it a very attractive development platform.

There is also a Voice Tools Project proposal on the table at the Eclipse Foundation.

If you are interested in VoiceXML tools you might want to get plugged into the VoiceXML Forum's Tools Committee - there is a fair amount of interesting activity within this group.

Wednesday, February 02, 2005

M$FT's Billion Dollar Investment in Speech

"We've been working on speech recognition for a long, long, long, long time!" - Bill Gates

According to this recently published article in Fast Company, Microsoft has invested close to $100M annually in their Speech Server, since it started in 1995. That's around a billion $$$ folks!

Read the article.

Studies show hands-free mobile phone usage while driving is still dangerous!

According to research published in a recent human factors journal, hands-free devices do not necessarily reduce accidents, fatalities and damage when using a mobile phone while driving. Speech recognition is singled as one of eight distractions. One of the studies show that drivers tend to slow down when entering information either manually or via speech recognition.

I suppose somebody unaccustomed to using speech-enabled apps or a poorly performing speech app could be distracting, but would a finely tuned, completely hands-free speech interface be any more distracting to a driver than the car radio or a talkative passenger?

Read the article.