IBM, Genesys Join on Speech Offerings

The companies plan to combine IBM's speech engines and middleware with Genesys' call-center software to better link callers with enterprise information.

IBM and Genesys Telecommunications Laboratories Inc. are working to integrate their speech technologies to launch new self-service capabilities for call centers that better link with enterprise systems.

The two companies announced the partnership Wednesday and said a suite of new solutions would be available this summer for the English, Chinese and Japanese markets.

IBMs middleware for tying speech recognition and synthesis with enterprise databases and systems will be combined with Genesys Interactive Voice Response (IVR) systems that answer and route calls in call centers, said Brian Garr, program director for contact centers in the IBM Pervasive Computing group.

"This is really recognition of the fact that the call center and IT center are merging," Garr said.

/zimages/2/28571.gifClick here to read more about IBMs research on advanced speech and IVR technologies.

Specifically, IBM will bring to the combined offering its WebSphere Voice Server, which includes its speech-recognition and text-to-speech engines; its WebSphere Voice Application Access portal middleware; and its Voice Toolkit for WebSphere Studio for speech application development. They will integrate with the Genesys Voice Platform 7.2.

The development work with Genesys marks the beginning of IBMs push to extend its WebSphere speech technologies to a broader array of partners. Garr said the Armonk, N.Y., company is working on other partnership announcements. Genesys, of Daly City, Calif., is a subsidiary of Alcatel.

"For the speech industry to flourish and grow, it requires an ecosystem of partners to work together with open standards," Garr said.

IBM and Genesys both support VoiceXML in their products, and the companies plan to use a proposed standard called Media Resource Control Protocol to facilitate communication between their products. IBM added support for MRCP in a March update to its WebSphere Voice Server as a way of integrating its speech technologies with other vendors offerings.

IBM and Genesys also announced that they are working on combinations of their speech technologies aimed at small and midsized businesses. The initial focus will be on self-service solutions for the financial services and health-care industries.

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