Speech Technology Magazine

 

VoiceXML Solution from NewVoiceMedia and Aculab Gets Friends Reunited

MILTON, KEYNES - Members of the Friends Reunited website service can now listen to voice profile messages from old school mates thanks to a VoiceXML solution created by NewVoiceMedia (NVM) using technology from Aculab.
Posted Oct 1, 2002
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MILTON, KEYNES - Members of the Friends Reunited website service can now listen to voice profile messages from old school mates thanks to a VoiceXML solution created by NewVoiceMedia (NVM) using technology from Aculab. Members can also send a voice message to old friends and hold a voice "reunion" by dialling into a conference service. "To use the service, members simply dial 0871 271 8000 - which costs less than a mobile phone call - or if calling from overseas +44 870 055 3222," explains Faye Matthews, strategic marketing manager at Aculab, which provided the digital signal processor (DSP) resources needed to create the application. "Members then enter an ID and PIN number to leave a message or set up a conference." "Information from the Friends Reunited web server is taken by NVM's VoiceXML interpreter, which utilises Aculab's Prosody DSP resource platform for record and playback functions." "This allows the members of the service to record a voice profile about themselves - indicating what they are doing now, for example. An icon appears alongside their name and school listing. When the recording is complete other members can click on the icon to hear the message on their PC or call into the service and hear the profiles over the phone." The VoiceXML solution also allows members to send voice messages to friends by using personal ID numbers. Aculab?s text-to-speech (TTS) speaks back their name for verification. Members then record a voice message, which can be converted to a .WAV file and sent to a friend using email. Friends can also call into the system and hear the message. Prosody's conferencing capabilities are used to allow the setting up of conferences for up to 100 members at any one time. Prosody was the ideal hardware choice for NVM because of its low-level matrix conferencing application programming interface (API), which allows multiple DSPs to be linked together to enable large conferences. This reduces the amount of hardware required and therefore cost of ownership. When members dial in to the system they can select from the ID numbers (room numbers) of the other members they would like to conference in with. The caller enters the room number using dual tone multi-frequency (DTMF) keypad entry. This is then sent to the Friends Reunited website for verification and Aculab's TTS speaks the room owner's name as confirmation. An invitation is sent out via email informing participants of the room number ID and time that the conference will take place. Leo Todd, marketing manager at NVM, commented, "Friends Reunited has a fabulous web presence and NVM saw an opportunity to add value to the site they offer their clients. We chose Aculab's DSP resources because they offer a significantly better price performance than their competitors. They also have a solid range of services such as speech recognition and TTS and a really high quality technical support team."
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