IBM and Dragon Systems continue to compete for market share in the speech recognition arena, with both firms launching upgrades to their software lines.
Dragon announced Naturally Speaking Version 3.0 last week, as IBM unveiled details of its upgrade to ViaVoice 98. Dragon also launched a low-end product, Point and Speak, for #49.
ViaVoice98 will be available from the end of this week, priced at #139, while Naturally Speaking and Dragon Dictate are shipping now, priced at #85.
A high-end version of Dragon's product, Naturally Speaking Professional, will cost #459 and includes Dragon Dictate.
Features new to Naturally Speaking include Natural Text, which allows the user to point their cursor and dictate into nearly all Windows applications.
ViaVoice 98 shares this function.
In addition, Dragon has added a feature called Natural Word, which automatically integrates speech recognition into Microsoft Word 97 and Corel WordPerfect 8.
Elaine Richards, IBM's UK speech manager, claimed that ViaVoice has "a higher level of accuracy due to trigram analysis", which is a system that looks at how words work together, understanding the difference between words such as "practice" and "practise".
Dragon's international sales manager Alan Burbidge responded: "In accuracy, version 2.0 of Naturally Speaking and IBM's ViaVoice are similar. We both use trigram analysis, but we aim ourselves at more serious users. We are not interested in 'Mary had a little lamb' or 'Peter Piper picked a piece of pickled pepper' users but, for example, the ones who are more likely to say, 'the plaintiff's complained' and our software will know where to put the apostrophe."
IBM: 01705 492249
Dragon: 01242 678575.
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