Speech Reconnaissance: Which Came First?

Whether financial interest develops technology or if technological developments attract investment is a classic chicken-or-egg situation. Which does come first? As speech moves from research and development labs into real products for businesses, financial issues are attracting attention in a couple of ways. For one, the industry itself is growing so rapidly it has attracted the interest of investors. Several Wall Street firms have issued reports citing the remarkable growth of several speech recognition companies. The financial interest in the technology was also evident in a recent wave of mergers and acquisitions. Voice Control Systems was involved in two deals, announcing a partnership with IBM, and acquiring Pure Speech. Andrea, Aspect, General Magic and Telex were also involved in financial deals which are discussed in an article beginning on page 10. But Wall Street investors are doing more than just investing in speech technology, they are using it. In Speech Delivers for Brokers, beginning on page 6, we discuss how recent speech applications are being used in financial transactions. The development and application of the technology these investors are using is also explored in this issue, with a particular focus on biometrics." In "Detecting the Goats," we describe how a layered approach to biometrics can make for more secure applications. Biometric standards are featured in Voice IDeas, where Judith Markowitz notes that "Standards are a natural byproduct of market acceptance because they support rapid widespread deployment of biometrics." So taking the issue as a whole it looks like we are still grappling with the chicken or the egg; money or the technology question. Which came first? There is no way to tell, but we do know there will be more of both involved in the industry soon.
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