• August 4, 2005
  • By Coreen Bailor, (former) Associate Editor, CRM Magazine

All the Talk at SpeechTek

Players in the speech technology industry assembled in New York this week to display new products and announce partnerships and executive changes at the 11th annual SpeechTEK International Exposition and Educational Conference. Highlights of the event (in alphabetical order) include: Aspect Communications launched Aspect Customer Self-Service (CSS) v7.1. The upgrade, which is VoiceXML 2.0 compliant and supports applications developed using third-party tools from TuVox and Voxify, offers a platform prepackaged with contact center speech self-service and enterprisewide VoiceXML-based auto attendant functionality. It adds support for ScanSoft Open Speech Attendant v1.1, ScanSoft Open Speech Recognition v3.0, ScanSoft SpeechSecure v2.0, Nuance v8.5, Nuance Verifier v3.5, and ScanSoft RealSpeak v4.0. Deployment options include connectivity to PSTN networks or to VoIP using SIP, and turnkey or software-only options are available. CSS V 7.1 "is allowing our customers to not only develop and deliver the robust call center applications that they've always had, but to extend their IVR investment from the call center into the enterprise with the Auto Attendant application," said Elizabeth Magill, partner marketing manager at Aspect. "The aim there is not to go after the standalone auto attendant market, but really to allow our customers to leverage the investment they've made in their IVR platform." Avaya
unveiled Avaya Voice Portal, a self-service software platform that integrates within a service-oriented architecture. Supporting the standards-based Red Hat Linux Enterprise 3.0 platform, features include license pooling and automatic failover capabilities. The company also announced Avaya Dialog Designer, a speech application development tool created for integration with Web services or more traditional environments. The tool, which is based on Eclipse, a technology framework that enables Dialog Designer to interoperate with various standards-based development tools, supports Avaya Voice Portal and Avaya Interactive Response, and features a common VoiceXML 2.0 browser for use with both solutions. Expanding their existing relationship, IBM announced IBM WebSphere Voice Server and IBM WebSphere Application Server are the first speech and middleware platforms to support Avaya Voice Portal. Additionally, Dialog Designer works with IBM WebSphere Eclipse-based tooling, providing commonality and skills reuse for customers and application developers. These products "are specifically designed to address key enterprise and IT requirements around open standards and more intelligent and simple systems," said Cory Glover, senior manager of marketing, enterprise communications applications division at Avaya. "Because Avaya has built AVP to exploit the WebSphere platform...we think that the integration of these capabilities, both the application server and AVP, as well as leveraging the application server that the voice server software is built on, provides some advantages over the competitive offerings," said Bruce Morse, vice president of contact center solutions at IBM Software Group. Edify unveiled Edify Voice Interaction Platform Release 9.5, which supports VoIP, session Internet Protocol, VoiceXML, and speech application language tags. Companies can choose from two separate deployment options: a voice browser and voice application server that allows organizations to deploy an Enterprise Voice Portal Architecture, or a complete voice system platform that has an all-in-one voice and speech solution. Empirix unveiled Hammer CallMaster 5.0, an automated testing solution designed to support both voice self-service applications and VoIP networks. Additional features include Integrated Grammar Administration, which allows IT professionals to remotely manage test scripts and supporting grammars from a remote desktop interface; enhanced scheduling capabilities for monitoring based on time and day; support for Windows 2003; and enhanced ISDN support, which provides extended programming capabilities for testing. The company is also partnering with Audium to help enterprises develop and deploy more reliable VoiceXML IVR applications. Microsoft announced that Fingerhut, King Pharmaceuticals, Sandia National Laboratories, and the Virginia Department of Motor Vehicles have selected Microsoft Speech Server (MSS) for their enterprise speech solutions. Microsoft is expanding its speech technology efforts beyond the call center and IVR markets and into the enterprise unified messaging market by integrating speech technologies into a future release of Microsoft Exchange Server. Related articles: Everybody in the (Speech Enablement) Pool Avaya's CEO explains in his keynote at SpeechTEK 2005 the growing popularity of IP telephony. Open Standards in Contact Centers
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