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Lucent Unveils New Speech Software from Bell Labs
MURRAY HILL, NJ (Aug. 24, 1998) -- Lucent today introduced a speech software package based on Bell Labs research called the Lucent Speech Application Platform(TM) that will enable professionals to develop powerful, scalable Windows*-based applications for speech-enabled products.
Lucent also announced that it will work with Intel Corporation to advance away-from-the-office business applications. These new business applications will combine both companies' strengths in developing high-quality, easy-to-use products. Other initial customers for the Lucent Speech Application Platform include Cambridge Consultants, Ltd. and 900 News Inc./Stock News Now.*
The result of more than 20 years of Bell Labs speech research, the new Lucent software developers kit (SDK) integrates state-of-the-art automatic speech recognition (ASR) and superior text-to-speech (TTS) synthesis technologies for computer applications that work with a microphone or over the telephone. These capabilities can be combined to provide a uniform platform for multilingual "natural language" environments that is easy to use. This speech technology, previously available only for large-scale phone network deployment, is now available as a PC software solution. In recent years, it has been used more than 1 billion times per year in such applications as AT&T operator assistance, voice dialing, and financial services call automation.
"The Lucent Speech Application Platform pushes the envelope of speech recognition, ushering in a new era in speech application development," said Sid Ahuja, director of the Bell Labs Multimedia Communications Research Laboratory. "All of the current innovations in Bell Labs speech research are delivered in this product; including our work in specialized microphones and speakers for pick-up of speech in hostile environments such as airport lobbies and cars."
According to Skip Matthews, product development manager for Intel Corporation, "the Lucent TTS engine is ideal for this new business application area because it enables the highest voice quality and message density for handheld devices. Speech can now move beyond the desktop PC."
Said John Holmgren, business development manager for Lucent Speech Solutions, "we are aggressively expanding the market for useful applications of our TTS engine through a co-operative project with Intel Corporation to develop and refine for production away-from-the-office business applications that will complement the capabilities of both companies."
Lucent is the industry leader in terms of deployed speech recognition channels with more than 30,000, and has more than 800 corporations using its ASR and TTS for such applications as reverse directory service, credit-card billing, natural-language call routing, and voice dialing. Now, the company is leveraging its more than seven decades of leading speech research and development in a new product based on Bell Labs innovation.
"The market for speech products will continue to grow and Lucent will be a major player," said Eric E. Sumner, Jr., President of Lucent Speech Solutions. "Lucent is looking to deliver the highest-quality product for a market that has not yet seen robust, reliable speech. Both our TTS and ASR products are an indication of our commitment."
Distributed on a CD-ROM with multilingual engines for ASR and TTS, the Lucent Speech Application Platform allows software developers to create such applications as e-mail readers, voice-controlled Web browsers, and automatic news readers.
The Lucent Speech Application Platform is the industry's most versatile speech platform compliant with Microsoft Software Application Programming Interface (SAPI), with highly sophisticated TTS and ASR engines.
The TTS engine provides an extremely natural and intelligible system, with unrestricted text input and options for both male and female voices as well as multilingual engines. The Lucent TTS Engine currently supports American English, German, and Spanish (Mexican). The engine will soon handle French, Spanish (Castilian), Italian, Russian, Japanese, and Chinese (Mandarin). A full demonstration of these capabilities is available on the Web at http://www.bell-labs.com/project/tts.
The Lucent ASR engine supports speaker-independent, continuous speech recognition and run-time vocabulary change. Both sub-word (phonetic) models and whole-word models are supported. The engine can reject out-of-vocabulary utterances and offers a fully optimized SAPI-compliant grammar compiler. The speech recognition engine uses 32 MB of RAM and requires a 166 MHz Pentium Pro. It is currently available in English and Spanish, with other languages planned.
"The Lucent Speech Application Platform guarantees accuracy in such areas as pronunciation of numbers, dates, and time in a way not possible before," said Joseph Olive, chief scientist of Lucent Speech Solutions, and a leading expert on text-to-speech synthesis technologies. "Our ASR engines are capable of handling large vocabularies with extreme accuracy and are complemented by our ability to embed words in natural sentences with patented word spotting technology. We also provide natural interaction by employing our patented 'barge-in' technology, which allows a user to interrupt the computer while talking."
Cambridge Consultants will develop Web e-commerce applications using the Lucent TTS engine.
"Consumers have become accustomed to using the Web for convenient shopping and, with Lucent's TTS engine, they can now receive detailed product descriptions for items without having to scroll through long fields of text," said Trevor Shonfeld, manager of new business for Cambridge Consultants. "The quality of Lucent's TTS creates a new avenue for Web shopping applications."
900 News Inc./Stock News Now* has developed a unique stock news and quote reader, Stock News Now, which will use Lucent's TTS engine for an over-the-telephone application.
"Stock-market news has become limited, more and more, to the PC environment. Now, thanks to Lucent's TTS engine, we can provide an industry first: a fast, accurate stock news and quote reading service for on-the-go people who only need to dial their telephones," said Annetta Budhu, Vice President of Stock News Now.
The Lucent TTS engine has logic to support accurate pronunciation of names, addresses, numbers, date and time, as well as context-sensitive abbreviation expansion. The TTS playback includes male and female voices at both 8 KHz and 11 KHz; and supports adjustment of speed, volume, pitch, and vocal tract size.
The Lucent Speech Application Platform is available to developers for $495.00 plus shipping and handling. To order the product, call 1-888-lucent8 and ask for product code number 193-010-220. Additional information pertaining to server license fees and engine distribution fees can be obtained by contacting email@example.com or by calling 1-888-527-7887. Further information about the Lucent Speech Application Platform can be found at http://www.lucent.com/ideas2/lsap.
Lucent Speech Application Platform is a trademark of Lucent Technologies.
Stock News Now is a trademark of 900 News Inc.
Windows 95 and Windows NT are trademarks of Microsoft Corp.
Copyright © 2002 Lucent Technologies. All rights reserved. *