Speech Recognition to Hit School Cafeterias

Israeli voice biometrics company CellMax Systems and point-of-sale (POS) system provider PCS Revenue Control Systems are beginning to pilot a voice recognition-based identification, verification and payment system for school cafeterias. The two companies expect to begin marketing the technology in mid 2007.

The joint effort will incorporate CellMax Systems' next-generation natural speech-based VioMetrics solution into all school lunchroom POS terminals offered by PCS. The system will allow students to say their name and student ID number and will automatically produce the students' account data and photo on the food server's POS screen.

The system also will allow a child or parent to access information and support and authenticate input over landline, voice over Internet protocol (VoIP) telephony, or cell phone and automatically filter out any distortion or background noise. It also will be able to adapt to gradual voiceprint changes, and even dramatic ones, like an adolescent's voice breaking.

For the more than 800 school districts throughout the United States that are already using PCS terminals, the system will provide a more accurate, low-cost and hardware-free alternative to other identity authentication systems. "Instead of relying on present-generation methods such as swipe ID cards, cash or tokens that get lost or stolen, personal identification (PIN) numbers that are forgotten or used by others, or fingerprint scanning which has a lower rate of accuracy, we provide a highly accurate, low-cost, hardware-free solution. Our solution is software only - it's flexible and more easily deployed," Israel Ronn, CEO of CellMax Systems, said in a statement.

The solution, according to David Yaniv, general manager of PCS, promises "to make life easier for thousands of business managers, foodservice directors, cashiers and cafeteria staff, principals, students, and parents."

It will also track meal accountability, enhance student-per-minute processing time and increase line speed, all while ensuring that every student gets what he or she is entitled to at lunch, he adds.

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