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Monday, March 27, 2006

IVR Market To Hit $1.49 Billion By 2012?

Frost and Sullivan predict the IVR Market will grow to $1.49 billion by 2012. The IVR market last year was around $565 million in 2005. They indicate that speech technology has provided the most recent growth, but suggest large scale adoption of speech is still hindered by lack of technological maturity and cost.

Read the article.

Wednesday, March 15, 2006

IETF Mailing List Established for Multimodal Sync Protocol

An IETF mailing list has been established to discuss the Distributed Multimodal Synchronization (DMSP) Internet Draft. You can sign up for the list at:

https://www1.ietf.org/mailman/listinfo/dmsp

The DMSP Internet Draft is available at:

http://www.ietf.org/internet-drafts/draft-engelsma-dmsp-01.txt

The specification describes a protocol for synchronizing the visual view of a web browser or application running on a client (such as a mobile phone) with the voice view of a remote VoiceXML browser running on behalf of the client in the network.

Tuesday, March 14, 2006

Interesting VoiceXML Articles in Recent Issue of VoiceXML Review

The March/April issue of the VoiceXML Forum's VoiceXML Review has a couple of interesting articles worth taking a look at. Dave Burke and Scott McGlashan describe how VoiceXML can be used for video services (IVVR: Interactive Voice and Video Response.)

We recently posted on the X+V content Jim Larson had hosted on his site. Well, this month he has a detailed article in the Forum's e-zine describing his experiences with Opera's X+V implementation in a classroom setting. Looks like Opera still doesn't support the W3C SRGS and SSML specifications.... ARRGG!

Friday, March 10, 2006

Speech Recognition Remains one of Bill Gate's Hot Buttons

In an interview with Time published yesterday, Bill Gates was questioned about Microsoft's ability innovate. In his response to the question, Gates specifically mentions speech recognition, among other things.

Microsoft has pumped a lot of $$ into speech technology R&D, there is no question about it. Whether or not Microsoft benefits from this ongoing R&D investment in a big way is not exactly clear, but there is no question that the speech industry at large benefits substantially. Microsoft's investment and evangelizing speech technology serves to acquaint more and more people with the technology which helps establish and nurture growing market.

Consider for instance, the impact of bundling speech technology into Vista. Regardless of what you think of Microsoft speech technology, this will be a significant development. Basically within 3-4 years 90% of the desktop PC's will likely be speech-enabled with adequate speech recognition and synthesis technologies as a platform feature, NOT an optional add-on package. Sure, you get Microsoft's speech technology when you install Office 2003, but not everybody has Office, or even if they do user's don't necessarily have that component installed or configured. With Vista, the speech technology will simply be there to take advantage of. Developers targetting applications for Windows Vista will be more inclined to utilize the technology, since 1) they can depend on it being there and 2) they can assume people are more familiar with it and more likely to utilize it.

The bottom line is that in the near future, consumers will not just be encountering speech technology via IVR applications when they call their bank, but speech technology will be intimately integrated into their everyday experiences as they interact with their computers and mobile phones. Speech interfaces will no longer be a novelty that quickly become annoying (and abandoned) but a fundamental ingredient in the human-machine interface.

Read the Gates Interview with Time.

Friday, March 03, 2006

Skype Voice Services Are Here!

There are a number of Skype Voice Services now available to skype users. Most of them involve a per minute fee, but a few demos are free. For example, you can dial the VoxPlorer Receptionist demo by calling +99000745745140. When prompted to say department, speak "New-York transit travel information".

You can browse a list of skype voice services that are currently available at:

http://share.skype.com/directory/voice_services_?c36/


Skype Voice Services are built upon the VoiceXML platforms offered by Tellme, Voxeo, and VoxPilot. Its not entirely clear which application is hosted by which platform, but I guess it doesn't matter from the end user perspective. :-)

I tried these out using skype from my PC and recognition works great. Seems to work just as well for me as the typical POTS call to a tellme-like service.