Lucent Technologies launched a new speech-to-text software platform last week, and outlined a deal with Intel to push the technology to the corporate remote user.
The Lucent Software Platform is available to developers who wish to write Windows-based applications for speech-enabled products and costs #300.
It is the result of 20 years of Bell Labs speech research and integrates automatic speech recognition (ASR) and text-to-speech (TTS) synthesis technologies for computer applications that work with a microphone, or over the telephone.
This speech technology, previously available only for large-scale phone network deployment, is now available as PC software.
Intel is to work with Lucent and a third partner, likely to be a consumer electronics manufacturer, to create a cut down PDA device costing as little as #50. The device use low-cost flash memory on a single circuit. Lucent's text-to-speech software will enable the device to run applications such as Email readers, voice Web browsers and interactive Ecommerce.
An announcement on the project is expected in six to eight weeks.
A Lucent spokesman explained: "Business people on the move will be able to download their Email and have it read to them, gain access to their bank account via a voice-enabled Web browser and buy a plane ticket, all while leaving the office and getting into the car."
Intel said that text-to-speech technology is a key application for handheld devices. Skip Matthews, product development manager for Intel, said: "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."
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