Dutch company Philips moved firmly into the voice recognition market when it announced a mass of products at the Cebit trade fair in Hanover.
The company introduced a trackball microphone, a personal telephone assistant called Speech Connect, an operator-free automatic PBX switchboard and a natural speech recognition system for lawyers at the show.
The first of these, called Speechmike, integrates microphone and trackball into the same device and supports Philips' Speech Magic software. It includes play, record, fast forward and rewind and supports both Windows 95 and Windows NT operating systems. It has LED indicators for visual feedback and a built-in loudspeaker.
Speech Connect, due this summer, is a platform to integrate different speech services in a uniform environment, said Philips. The software includes a personal telephone book, call screening and direct access to different information and transaction services.
The voice recognition PBX will also be available in summer and provides a front end system to connect outside callers using natural language, give fax numbers and email addresses of employees, and provide automatic connection.
Philips claimed the device not only understands fluently spoken speech but also answers in a natural voice. The system will be sold to telephone system manufacturers.
The legal package was developed for German speaking attorneys, Philips said, and will recognise over 95 per cent of dictated speech. But analysts said that this level may not be high enough for tricky legal cases. Philips is expected to integrate its speech technology into other packaged solutions for vertical markets.
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