Speech Technology Magazine

 

KPN Connects Technology and Customers

A Netherlands telecom turns to Comsys to help manage text-to-speech service demands.
By Mike Matthews - Posted Nov 9, 2006
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KPN, a telecom company in The Netherlands, had been operating an SMS fixed solution for millions of text messages delivered as voice and text messages to fixed line handsets. The service was created with an application developed internally, using a legacy IVR platform. When a successful marketing campaign resulted in a high demand for the text-to-speech service, there were concerns that the legacy platform would not have the stability to cope with rising demand, particularly on New Year's Eve, when the number of messages would rise dramatically. KPN needed to resolve this quickly. Since KPN used VoiceXML as its standard application language, the company required a vendor that could develop in this language and could respond quickly and efficiently. KPN also required a solution that offered reliability and extended functionality, especially in the areas of management and configuration.

KPN selected SpeechFrame, the telephony platform from Comsys, for its SMS to Fixed service. SpeechFrame replaced the legacy platform, offering KPN extended functionality, especially in the areas of management and configuration. Comsys now takes care of the complete implementation and delivers— in cooperation with KPN project management—a turnkey solution.

The SMS service enables customers with a fixed line to send and receive SMS messages to and from the PSTN or KPN fixed network and mobile operators, meaning that messages can be sent to the five mobile operators in The Netherlands.

An SMS message sent to a fixed telephone can be delivered in two ways—as text or as a spoken message. A text message is only possible when the receiving telephone is designed to receive text messages and the receiver has already sent a message.

When this is not the case, the message will be converted to spoken language. Obviously, specific SMS language such as abbreviations and emoticons has to be translated. The application uses a "slang table" to translate text such as ";-)" and "cu." The text-tospeech function within SpeechFrame converts the contents of SMS text messages to fluent, naturally sounding spoken text.

The SMS fixed service is also used by businesses to send mass text messages to customers. It is built on top of the SMS fixed platform and provides additional functionality over the standard service. SMS messages can be sent by large accounts through the following methods: email, Web, or point-to-point message interfaces.

If businesses want to send messages to their clients, they can make the communiqués appear as though they're from the calling party. These messages can be sent to mobile and fixed numbers. In the case where it is a fixed number, the message can be translated as text-to-speech or be presented as text (in case the recipient has a UBS or fixed SMS-enabled phone).

Aculab's Prosody card is integrated into SpeechFrame and is responsible for providing media processing resources and ISDN interfacing to a fixed line network. Aculab provided and developed customized protocol specifications quickly and efficiently so the project could be delivered within the KPN desired timeline.

Thanks to help from the KPN, Comsys, and Aculab teams, KPN successfully replaced the old equipment and implemented the new SpeechFrame system, which could manage the high volumes of New Year's Eve traffic.



Mike Matthews is the head of product marketing at Aculab.

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