ScanSoft Bolsters Speech Call Routing

By Matthew Hicks  |  Posted 2004-01-13 Print this article Print

The company buys LocusDialog, known for its auto-attendant applications. ScanSoft plans to focus development efforts on the acquired products.

ScanSoft Inc. on Tuesday announced that it had acquired a leading vendor of speech-based auto-attendant applications to strengthen its speech technology offerings. ScanSoft, of Peabody, Mass., which in late December bought Montreal-based LocusDialog Inc., said it will focus its future auto-attendant development on the products acquired from LocusDialog. An auto-attendant can route calls based on the speaking of a name or department. ScanSoft, which bolstered its speech technology last year with the acquisition of SpeechWorks International Inc., offers its own speech-enabled auto-attendants called VoiceRequest. It is ending development of that product but will continue to support VoiceRequest customers and offer upgrade paths for those seeking to move to LocusDialog, spokeswoman Marie Ruzzo said.
ScanSoft Chairman and CEO Paul Ricci, in a statement, said that the LocusDialog acquisition "will enhance our ability to better serve enterprise and carrier customers." LocusDialog has about 1,000 installations worldwide of its auto-attendant, handling about 500 million calls a year, ScanSoft said.
ScanSoft and LocusDialog already had been working together before the acquisition. LocusDialog made use of SpeechWorks OpenSpeech Recognizer speech-recognition software and Speechify text-to-speech engine, Ruzzo said. LocusDialogs chief executive officer, Richard Martel, will lead the auto-attendant strategy for ScanSoft within the companys Network Speech Solutions group. ScanSoft also plans to rename the LocusDialog auto-attendant product, currently called LocusDialogSTS, Ruzzo said.
Matthew Hicks As an online reporter for, Matt Hicks covers the fast-changing developments in Internet technologies. His coverage includes the growing field of Web conferencing software and services. With eight years as a business and technology journalist, Matt has gained insight into the market strategies of IT vendors as well as the needs of enterprise IT managers. He joined Ziff Davis in 1999 as a staff writer for the former Strategies section of eWEEK, where he wrote in-depth features about corporate strategies for e-business and enterprise software. In 2002, he moved to the News department at the magazine as a senior writer specializing in coverage of database software and enterprise networking. Later that year Matt started a yearlong fellowship in Washington, DC, after being awarded an American Political Science Association Congressional Fellowship for Journalist. As a fellow, he spent nine months working on policy issues, including technology policy, in for a Member of the U.S. House of Representatives. He rejoined Ziff Davis in August 2003 as a reporter dedicated to online coverage for Along with Web conferencing, he follows search engines, Web browsers, speech technology and the Internet domain-naming system.

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