SAN FRANCISCO— IBM on Tuesday launched a series of upgrades to its speech technology offerings and announced plans to support Linux in its speech server software during the first day of the AVIOS SpeechTEK Spring 2004 show here.
IBM plans to add Linux in the second quarter as one of the supported operating systems for its WebSphere Voice Server, said Igor Jablokov, speech program director for IBM Pervasive Computing. Voice Server, which runs IBMs speech-recognition and text-to-speech engines, currently supports Microsoft Windows and IBM AIX.
Along with Linux, WebSphere Voice Server will add support for a proposed standard, called Media Resource Control Protocol, to integrate multiple vendors speech-recognition and text-to-speech engines with the server, Jablokov said.
IBM also rolled out enhancements to its development toolkit for voice applications and its middleware for adding voice support to portals. Its speech software updates joined news earlier in the day that Opera Software ASA plans to launch a multimodal Web browser using IBMs Embedded ViaVoice speech software.
Multimodal functionality allows voice and data interactions to coexist so that a Web browser can handle voice commands or a phone conversation can trigger Web content.
“A lot of people think speech technology is something in the future,” Jablokov said. “(But) speech technologies are deployed today and in existence today.”
IBMs speech software upgrades all are part of its focus on standards-based speech-application development and deployment, Jablokov said. The Armonk, N.Y., companys news comes a day before rival Microsoft Corp. is set to launch its entry into the speech market with a message that it is moving speech-application development into the mainstream.
IBM also has taken aim at development. New additions to its speech development toolkit, called the Voice Toolkit for WebSphere Studio, include a call-flow builder that helps non-IT staff build the front-end interface for voice applications, the company said. The WebSphere Studio toolkit is an Eclipse-based development environment that supports VoiceXML.
On the portal side, IBM added support for the AIX 5.2 operating system and new customization options to the WebSphere Voice Application Access middleware. It runs with IBMs WebSphere Portal 5.0.2 and adds voice capabilities to enterprise portals.