Voice Technology Enters the Mainstream

Pointing to uses of voice recognition in cars, cell phones and video games, a SpeechTEK conference panel predicts that Star Trek-style voice apps are not far off. (PCMag.com)

NEW YORK—When hearing terms like "voice integration" and "voice recognition," its hard not to think about Star Trek and other sci-fi shows, where speech-sensitive technology is almost as standard as spaceships and hyperspace.

At the 2005 SpeechTEK conference here, leaders in the field are showing how early versions of that futuristic technology are finding a home in mainstream consumer products.

An afternoon panel consisting of representatives from speech technology companies ATX Communications Inc., VoiceSignal Technologies Inc., Scansoft Inc. and Fonix Corp. suggested that voice will soon be playing a more integral part in cell phones, video games and automobiles.

/zimages/6/28571.gifClick here to read about Avayas new IP-based speech self-service software, on display at the SpeechTEK conference.

Thomas Schalk, ATX vice president of Voice Technology, demonstrated how his companys route assistance service can help a user find driving directions, route summaries and traffic updates.

The service also offers more advanced features, such as telling the user how long itll take to reach the parking lot or to walk from the parking lot to the final destination spot.

Shalk also showed how operators on the other end view the entire procedure, and have some control over the results the user gets back from the system.

For instance, if a user adds too many numbers to a zip code, the operator can either select the correct number from a list or type it in manually—all without having to interface with the customer.

"The idea here is that a common cell phone can be used as an effective navigational device," he said, "one thats very critical to getting where you need to go."

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