This issue of Speech Technology magazine contains the first Vendor Web Guide, which will give you a comprehensive list of "who’s who" in the speech industry. A listing of the web sites of over 150 companies involved in the speech industry, the vendor guide gives our readers a reliable reference guide they can use throughout the year. It provides a comprehensive list of manufacturers, developers, VARs, systems integrators, services and publications serving the speech industry as it relates to computers, telephones and embedded systems. While such a listing naturally takes up quite a large section of the magazine, we still need to stay on top of a great deal of breaking news in a rapidly emerging industry. Several companies are investigating the prospect of using the telephone as a means of accessing information on the web; Lernout and Hauspie, one of the major players in the speech arena, has announced a restructuring and IBM Speech Systems, one of the pioneers of the computer side of the business, has announced a family of telephony products. Possibly the most far-reaching event that impacted the industry in recent months is the release of the Pentium III chip from Intel, which the company is promoting as a chip that will greatly enhance multimedia presentations, and speech recognition development. Our correspondent Judith Markowitz attended the Intel press function held in San Jose recently and learned what speech companies are expecting to do with the new chip, which she reports in her story "Intel Previews Pentium III." On the telephone side, we offer "Can Speech Improve Cell Phone Interfaces?" by Lydia Volaitis. Ms. Volaitis notes that "cell phone interfaces are not keeping pace with their functionality." She notes that cellular phones now offer many services that users simply ignore because they are too difficult to use, and describes how voice interfaces have the potential to solve the problem. And in our cover story, "Parts of Speech: Building Dialogs," James A. Larson describes how computer driven conversational dialogs present challenges for speech application designers that go far beyond the hurdles they needed to clear to first make computers "talk" and "listen."
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