Fw: NYTimes.com Article: Microsoft, IBM tout speech software

----- Original Message ----- 
From: "Steve Pattison" <srp@bigpond.net.au>
To: "VIP L" <vip-l@softspeak.com.au>
Sent: Saturday, October 13, 2001 9:54 PM
Subject: Fwd: NYTimes.com Article: Microsoft, IBM tout speech software

From: beth.wright@mindspring.com
To: gui-talk@NFBnet.org (Multiple recipients of NFBnet GUI-TALK Mailing

Microsoft, IBM tout speech software

October 13, 2001 

Michael Kanellos, CNET News.com

 Speech recognition, one of the computing world's
long-deferred dreams, will be highlighted in separate
initiatives from Microsoft (news/quote) and IBM
(news/quote) next week. 

On Monday, Microsoft, along with representatives from Cisco
Systems (news/quote), Intel (news/quote), Philips and
SpeechWorks, will hold a press conference at its Mountain
View, Calif., offices. The companies will announce a
collaborative effort to lay the groundwork for accessing
the Web through voice commands, according to a statement
from Microsoft. 

The idea behind the effort is to come up with practical
ways to "provide consumers with multiple means of accessing
information anytime, anywhere over a number of different
devices--including PCs, wireless (handhelds), mobile phones
and telephones--over diverse networks," according to

Speakers at the event include Alistair Woodman, director of
marketing in the voice technology center at Cisco; Howard
Bubb, vice president of the telecommunications and embedded
group at Intel; and Kai-Fu Lee, vice president of the
natural interactive services group at Microsoft. 

A Microsoft representative would not release further
details about the announcement. 

IBM, meanwhile, will unfurl the technical details behind
the PowerPC 405LP, a chip for handhelds that contains
dedicated circuitry for performing speech recognition. 

"That is kind of a breakthrough for handhelds. When you try
to do speech recognition on a Palm or a Pocket PC, you are
turning everything else off," said Richard Doherty,
director of research for The Envisioneering Group, a
Seaford, N.Y.-based research firm. "Speech recognition so
far is sound recognition. Until you can tell it is a
sentence, it is very clever sound recognition." 

IBM already produces speech recognition software for
servers, handhelds and PCs. 

Speech recognition has been a staple of technology news for
years, but often for the wrong reasons. Computer
visionaries have often discussed a future where individuals
access databases by speaking to machines that can
understand the syntax and linguistic context behind the
spoken word. Microsoft Chairman Bill Gates, among others,
has made speech recognition a staple of his trade-show

But speech-capturing techniques are still prone to errors.
Speech recognition programs also require fast, powerful

As a business, speech recognition has been no joyride
either. Lernout & Hauspie, one of the pioneers in the
field, has been in a drastic tailspin since last year when
it filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection. Since then,
government investigators have alleged that the company
falsely booked $100 million in orders. Dragon Systems, once
a lead competitor, was bought by L&H before the trauma. 

The downfall of L&H has made IBM the dominant force in the

"The only real competition for IBM is coming out of the
universities," Doherty said. "IBM has the largest number of
speech scientists on the planet." 

Still, over the past two years, speech-to-Web applications
have been popping up with greater frequency. Airlines'
information lines that can retrieve arrival times through
voice commands, instead of the "press-one-for-flight-times"
button commands, are examples of such applications. In
July, IBM was part of a group of companies that proposed a
standard for voice-Web access called VoiceXML. 

Microsoft and Intel have also included hooks into the
Windows XP operating system and Pentium 4 chip,
respectively, for running speech applications.

Regards Steve,

Received on Sunday, 14 October 2001 10:29:44 UTC