• January 13, 2004
  • By David Myron, Editorial Director, CRM and Speech Technology magazines and SmartCustomerService.com

ScanSoft Acquires LocusDialog

ScanSoft today announced it has acquired Montreal's LocusDialog, a developer of speech-enabled, auto-attendant applications and call routing solutions. "The acquisition of LocusDialog, another milestone in our speech application strategy, will enhance our ability to better serve enterprise and carrier customers, strengthen distribution channels, and optimize the value and unique capabilities of the SpeechWorks speech portfolio," said Paul Ricci, chairman and CEO of ScanSoft, in a statement. The move is an attempt to broaden ScanSoft's footprint into accounts where LocusDialog installations exist and ScanSoft products do not--mainly in small and midsize companies. LocusDialog's auto-attendant applications provide support for directories ranging from as few as 200 entries to more than 50,000 entries, menus to direct callers from departments to individuals, call forwarding, voice-activated outbound dialing, and database and directory integration, including support for Lightweight Directory Access Protocol (LDAP) to manage large name lists. "As a younger market speech was focused on technology and performance of recognition. Now customers and partners want applications, and this is the most successful speech application today," Stuart Patterson, president of ScanSoft, told CRM magazine. LocusDialog already has more than 800 systems installed in North America, with a significant presence in Canada, plus a growing customer base in Europe, bringing total worldwide installations to nearly 1,000, handling approximately a half-billion calls annually. ScanSoft plans to further LocusDialog's European adoption, and then follow suit in Asia, according to Patterson. The acquisition brings a fresh list of new customers to ScanSoft, as there is less than 5 percent customer overlap between the two companies, says Richard Martel, CEO of LocusDialog. Martel will lead ScanSoft's auto-attendant strategy within ScanSoft's Network Speech Solutions group. ScanSoft will continue to support customers using its current auto-attendant solutions, VoiceRequest, and offer a migration path to LocusDialog if customers choose to upgrade their solution. LocusDialog auto-attendant applications and enhanced call-routing platforms are presently built with ScanSoft's OpenSpeech Recognizer speech recognition software and the natural-sounding voice quality of Speechify text-to-speech software. The company expects the acquisition to be neutral to earnings in 2004, but could not elaborate any more on the financial terms of the deal.
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