New Voice Service Handles Phone Downloads

ClearSky Mobile Media, a provider of entertainment content and services for the wireless industry, today announced the availability of a way to shop for ringtones and images through a new voice-enabled product called Talk2Me.

Talk2Me, a downloadable application, interprets the consumer's voice to quickly and easily locate content for purchase. It uses a patented, speaker-independent voice search technology from V-ENABLE, a provider of speech recognition solutions for mobile search and directory assistance applications, to search ClearSky's catalogs of ringtones and wallpapers. The speech recognition is performed not on the handset but rather at ClearSky's central database.

After a consumer speaks the name of his favorite artists or says a keyword for an image, Talk2Me lists the best matches on the phone's screen within about two or three seconds. The application also allows the consumer to listen to a preview or view a thumbnail of the selection before actually buying it. Then, with two clicks, the content is purchased and downloaded. The time-consuming task of scrolling through vast content catalogs on a small screen is completely eliminated.

ClearSky maintains a database of more than 10,000 songs and images, and trying to scroll through them all would be almost impossible, says Dean Fresonke, CEO of ClearSky.

Though the downloadable ringtone market racked up sales of $10 billion last year alone, "less than 50 percent of the people who have cell phones have actually bought a ringtone, and it has a lot to do with the browsing and scrolling. It's been considered too painful," Fresonke says.

Based on previous deployments, consumers have shown a preference for voice search over text. More than 70 percent of V-ENABLE's 25 million searches to date are completed with voice input compared to 30 percent for text, he adds.

The ClearSky

The first carrier to launch Talk2Me is Movilnet in Venezuela. For Movilnet specifically and the Latin market in general, Talk2Me's voice interpretation engine is configured for Spanish. These innovations make Talk2Me the first mobile content speech recognition application on the South American continent.

The application is ready to go in North America as well. ClearSky is just waiting to put the processes in place to handle the billing. Typically, downloads are billed through the wireless carrier, and then ClearSky reconciles with the carriers at the end of each billing cycle.

Today, ClearSky Mobile Media supports 60 million subscribers with content through its carrier customer base.  Mobile voice search applications powered by V-ENABLE technology are currently available from Verizon Wireless, ALLTEL, U.S. Cellular and Leap Communications.

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