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Friday, July 15, 2005

IETF Publishes Multimodal Synchronization Internet Draft

IBM and Motorola recently submitted an Internet Draft to the IETF defining a protocol called "Distributed Multimodal Synchronization Protocol" (DMSP). This is something folks interested in multimodal interfaces are going to want to take a look at:

http://www.ietf.org/internet-drafts/draft-engelsma-dmsp-00.txt

In a nutshell, the protocol enables multimodal interactions on a mobile device by synchronizing a GUI application running on the mobile device with a remote VoiceXML interpreter. The protocol seems to assume the GUI application is an XHTML browser and the presentation markup being rendered is XHTML+Voice (a multimodal markup proposed by IBM/Motorola/Opera) but that doesn't appear to be a requirement.

Monday, July 11, 2005

Lexus LS: The Talking Automobile

The last page of the WSJ's "Weekend Journal" was a full page color ad ran by Lexus focusing on the speech technology incorporated in their vehicles. It makes for an interesting read if you're a speech technologist. In large print, under the photo of a Lexus LS it reads:

"Having a conversation with your car can now be considered quite normal."

The following text goes into more detail under a row of photos showing the nav display and other dashboard controls:

"Admit it. You've been talking to your cars for years. Urging them up those hills. Giving them pep talks on those frosty mornings. Some of us have been bestowed names on our vehicles (not always pleasnt ones.) But when you own a Lexus LS, you no longer have to hide your little talks from startled onlookers. You can speak freely without embarrassment. Because the LS is available with an ingenious device called the Lexus voice-activated DVD Navigation System. So when you talk to it, it talks back. You see, it actually responds to over 100 of your spoken commands. It will guide you home, to your favorite restaurant, to the ball game, or wherever. But perhaps most heartwarning of all is that you'll no longer be having a one-way conversation. Which is a lot more than you can say for you old car. Visit your local Lexus dealer for a test drive today."

This is an interesting ad and says a great deal about the maturation of speech technology. The Lexus LS obviously has no shortage of snazzy and convenient features to plug, but this particular ad is focused solely on the voice-activated nav feature. spkydog hasn't gotten to the local dealer yet for that test drive, but the voice-activated nav must work pretty good for them to draw attention on it like this.