IBM Takes Speech Tech Open Source

IBM is reaching out to open-source developers with prebuilt components for speech software.

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IBM is stretching out its speech technologies to the open-source community in an attempt to win more developers.

At the SpeechTek Exposition & Conference this week in New York, Steve Mills, senior vice president and group executive of the IBM Software Group, will announce in a keynote address that IBM is providing software to the open-source community to help developers build speech applications.

IBM, of Armonk, N.Y., will provide its Java-based framework of prebuilt application components, or RDCs (Reusable Dialog Components), to The Apache Software Foundation as well as speech editors to the Eclipse Foundation. RDCs handle functions in speech applications such as date, time, currency and location.

The new initiative is supported by more than 20 IT companies, from top speech vendors Nuance Communications Inc. and ScanSoft Inc. to enterprise IT providers such as Avaya Inc.

"I see a lot more organizations taking on speech; the applications out there now have been advanced, and the systems are improving. Some of the early applications might have been a little rough, but theyre perfecting it now," said James Griffin, a business systems analyst with T. Rowe Price, in Baltimore.

T. Rowe Price has been using IBMs Natural Language Understanding technology, in addition to a corresponding touch-tone system, since late 2000. For some of T. Rowe Prices customers, the natural language system has simplified processes such as checking balances, price/performance, market updates, moving balances or electing how future money will be allocated into accounts, said Griffin.

/zimages/5/28571.gifClick here to read more about how speech applications are advancing.

Also at the show, IBM and Avaya, of Basking Ridge, N.J., will announce an expanded partnership to deliver joint speech technologies to enterprise users. The deal combines Avayas IP contact center software for self-service, Avaya Interactive Response, with IBMs WebSphere Voice Server 5.1 software. The offering will make it easier for businesses to deploy customized applications and integrate them into business processes, officials said.

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