Financial Applications: Speech Delivers For Brokers

In September 1994, a New York-based service bureau providing telephone and Internet transactional services to banks and brokerage houses worldwide, ushered in the age of real-time, online stock trading. Since then, digiTRADE's list of customers has grown to include brokerages and financial institutions like Bear Stearns, Chase Manhattan, Citicorp, T. Rowe Price, and others.

Today, digiTRADE's 51 major clients handle a combined database of over 2 million retail customers who in part, call on System 4 to process over 120,000 phone calls, 13,000 equity, option and mutual fund orders, and over 1,500,000 real-time quotes each trading day. Nearly half of all online stock trades are processed using digiTRADE System 4.

Automated Interactive services are becoming a vital part of doing business in this age of 24 hour, 7 day per week operations. Financial institutions, such as Citicorp Investment Services (CIS), New York, look to automated services for a competitive edge.

"We believe clients will find the service a simple and convenient way to access market and account information 24 hours a day, seven days a week," said CIS Chairman and CEO, Steven Frieberg.

Efficiency is the key to providing maximum benefit at all levels, and the technology behind digiTRADE is the linchpin. System 4 is built upon a sturdy IVR foundation, provided by Voicetek Corporation of Chelmsford, Mass. Voicetek's Generations platform and VTK voice processing servers allow digiTRADE to seamlessly integrate every major back-office to their interactive interface. Voicetek also enables digiTRADE to employ one of the financial services industry's most robust multilingual applications, extending the benefits of digiTRADE System 4's services to customers who may speak English, French, Spanish, Cantonese and Mandarin.

"Voicetek can provide customers like digiTRADE with the most capable voice services available thanks to the open-architecture of Generations," said Paul Gagne, Voicetek's Executive Vice President of Engineering. "That kind of flexibility, and the availability of large, mid, and small vocabulary voice in a wide variety of languages and dialects, means greater choice for the customer."

State-of-the-art speech technologies not only provides the means to offer better service to the customer, but client companies are able to create unique interfaces tailored to meet individual corporate needs. Transactions are streamlined as well, reducing the amount of time customers spend on the phone conducting their trade or inquiry - and each second saved per transaction equals tens of thousands - even millions - of dollars saved in annual toll charges.

"The telephone ranks as the most widely used computer. As such, it is imperative to have robust systems in place to support our IVR services," said digiTRADE's President, David N. McGraw.

Voice processing capability, is a key element in providing top-notch customer service in the US and worldwide. And as the world in which we do business grows smaller, extending the benefits of multilingual voice processing to an ever-widening potential customer base becomes even more important.

For more information, contact http://www.voicetek.com.

ALTech Expands Opportunities for Brokers

Applied Language Technologies, (ALTech) and Automated Financial Systems, Inc., (AFS) a provider of automated voice and Internet services to the brokerage industry, recently announced that AFS will use ALTech's SpeechWorks solution for its service bureau offering of automated speech recognition (ASR) investing applications.

"End users are savvy investors who want up-to-date market information," said Keith Aufthuaser, AFS co-founder

"This new opportunity extends ALTech's impressive momentum in the brokerage industry," said Stuart Patterson, CEO of ALTech. "We're delighted to be working with AFS, a young and exciting company, who is taking an aggressive position delivering e-commerce solutions to the brokerage industry."

For more information, contact ALTech at http://www.altech.com or AFS at http://www.automatedfinancial.com for more information.

Nuance, Periphonics Provide a Speech First in Canada

Nuance Communications and Periphonics recently announced that TD Bank's Green Line Investor Services, Canada's largest discount broker, has deployed TalkBroker, the first Canadian automated market information service that understands commands and fulfills requests by telephone.

With its new TalkBroker system, Green Line is offering customers an easy-to-use interface to access investment information 24 hours a day, seven days a week from any telephone. Using natural speech recognition software from Nuance integrated with IVR systems from Periphonics, TalkBroker allows Green Line customers to obtain real-time quotes on Canadian and U.S. stocks and options, Canadian mutual funds and major North American indices by simply speaking the name of the company or fund.

TalkBroker recognizes over 20,000 stocks and funds. For example, callers can say "TD", "TDBank", or "Toronto Dominion" to represent the Stock Toronto: TD. TalkBroker also allows customers to create a "Personal Profile" that specifies the amount of detail they wish to receive on every quote.

"Talk Broker provides a convenient and easy-to-use service to our customers, providing the perfect complement to other services we offer," said John See, president and chief operating officer for Green Line Investor Services.

For more information, contact Nuance at http://nuance.com or contact TD Bank at 1-800-983-2265.

Chase Gains with Voice

Chase Manhattan reports they are achieving big productivity gains with a voice-recognition system in its bearer bond processing department.

The banking giant recently went live with a software solution from Ume Voice Inc. which cuts the time needed to process a bearer bond order. A procedure that once required using 17 screens and seven minutes can now be handled from one screen in less than one minute. Training time for employees has dropped from one month to less than three days.

The bank took the Ume Voice technology and integrated it with its own record-keeping systems so it has a "purely Chase Manhattan focus," according to Nicholas Papinakolaw, Chase√Ćs senior vice president and chief operating officer.

"Our applications are tailored to the environment," said Paul Cavise, vice president of marketing and business development at Ume Voice.

Designed for trading rooms and banking operations, the Ume Voice recognition software system recognizes fast continuous speech while canceling out background noise through a proprietary technology.

For more information, contact Ume Voice at http://www.umevoice.com.

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