Speech on the go

Many of speech recognition’s most important contributions to productivity have to do with mobility. For example, speech allows telephone users to simply say the name of the person they are calling and be connected, a big advantage for cellular phone users in the car. Speech also has many applications that allow users to be productive while they are away from their computers. One such area is hand-held recording devices. Mobile professionals need to be in contact with many colleagues during the course of a hectic business day. Then they need to have an exact record of the conversation days, weeks or even months later. Names, phone numbers, even transcriptions from entire meetings can be vital information, but who has time to write it out or type it all down? The advent of speech recognition makes it possible to record thoughts and words the minute they occur and then conveniently download the information later into a computer, which can produce a clean document that reports what was said. The whole process can take place without scribbled notes on messy napkins. Four such products have been introduced in recent months. Walkabout Tour
Dictaphone Corporation recently announced the WalkaboutTM Tour, a hand-held digital recorder with removable VoicedataTM cards that captures voice recordings and then allows for easy transfer of the voice file to the PC. With the Tour, users can record notes, conversations, and meetings, and the resulting standard WAV files can be played on any Windows 95/98/NT PC. Once on the computer desktop, the voice records can be manipulated through Dictaphone’s Boomerang Voice Exchange software. "In the fast-paced, high-technology business world of today, the ability to record and send voice is a powerful tool," said Tim Butler, Dictaphone’s Senior Vice President and General Manager of Integrated Voice Systems. "Although we are in an age of pagers, e-mail and faxes, professionals continue to depend on voice as the most reliable form of communication. The Walkabout Tour allows professionals to easily get work done on the go." The Walkabout Tour package incorporates a hand-held digital recorder, Voicedata cards, a PCMCIA adapter, and Boomerang Voice Exchange software, allowing users the following benefits: Mobile Dictation - Professionals can create digital voice files in or out of the office. Voice Document Editing - Users can edit or append voice documents whenever they need to do so. Transfer of Voice Files - With the PCMCIA-compatible Voicedata cards, users can upload voice files onto their laptop, where they can be edited as needed or forwarded to other PCs. The Walkabout Tour saves information onto a removable Voicedata card, which offers a minimum of 30 minutes (2MB) of recording time. Higher capacity cards with up to 2 ‡ hours of recording time, are also available. Recorded information, which is time/date-stamped and organized into individual files, can then be moved and/or appended without copying over existing material. The Walkabout Tour has a suggested retail price of $479. For more information, contact Steve Rothschild of Dictaphone at 3191 Broadbridge Ave., Stratford, CT 06614, or by phone at 800 447-7749. Olympus Digital Voice Recorder Olympus recently announced the D1000, packaged with IBM’s ViaVoice software and Intel’s Flash Memory Miniature Card, intended for mobile workers. Users can dictate memos, reports and other types of correspondence into the Olympus 1000 digital voice recorder, where it is stored in the card. Later the audio can be transferred to the PC, where the dictation software converts it into text which can be edited, formatted, and printed just like any word processor file. The D1000 is shipped with a cable, carrying case, a customized version of ViaVoice, a 2 MB Intel Flash Memory Miniature Card and a PC Adapter Card. The removable miniature card and the Olympus PC Adapter Card (for PCMCIA slots) allow users to move audio files to a PC and conveniently share information with co-workers. The system can record 16 minutes in standard recording format with a 2 MB card, 33 minutes with a 4 MB card, and 78 minutes with an 8 MB card. In "Long" recording mode, the system can record in segments of 34 minutes, 72 minutes and over 2 º hours, depending on the card. (Using ViaVoice requires the user to be in the standard mode.) System requirements for the D1000 are Windows 95, Pentium 133 MHz or higher, 32 MB RAM, CD ROM drive, 125 hard disk space, Sound Blaster, and line-in input support. For more information, contact Olympus at http://www.olympus.com or 800 622-6372. Voice File from SONY
The Voice File Recorder from SONY is a portable, palm-sized office assistant which allows users to record, play back, transmit, convert, store, e-mail, and transcribe their verbal communications. Users can dictate notes, memos, reminders, "to do" lists, names, phone numbers, and other important information. The personal memory device is palm sized and all digital. Because it uses an integrated circuit chip instead of audiotape, users get high quality sound, random access to any message at the touch of a button and the ability to erase any message in a file. Capacity is 24 minutes of recording time and 495 message units. Once users want to download their voice into a computer, they can connect the Voice File recorder to their PC. The WavLink software will display a list of messages for each file of the recorder on the computer screen. Once the user has downloaded the audible memo, it can be stored using the WavLink software. It is also possible to send a talking picture. For more information, contact Sony Electronics Inc., One Sony Drive, Park Ridge, NJ 07656, or at http://www.sony.com or calling 1-800-222-SONY. Portable Speech Recognition from Norcom
Norcom Electronics Corporation recently released the Norcom 2500, a portable speech recognition system which allows users to dictate reports and any other types of documents anywhere. Later, it can be transcribed automatically with a computer. The system would be convenient for doctors, lawyers, insurance adjusters, on-site inspectors, traveling business executives, and commuters. The Norcom 2500 permits the users to have the freedom allowed by a traditional dictation system, with the power of speech recognition software giving the users an opportunity to generate letters, reports, and documents without typing. For automatic transcription, the Norcom 2500 connects to a computer sound card with the Norcom SRC-1 Coupler. Among the key features for the Norcom 2500 are:
  • A single slide switch that controls record, play and rewind functions.
  • An electret condenser microphone necessary to achieve the sound quality necessary for speech recognition accuracy.
  • The SRC-1 coupler, a speech recognition coupler that matches the output of the 2500 recorder to the requirements of the sound card’s microphone input jack.
Optional accessories for the Norcom 2500 include a rechargeable battery pack, a cassette eraser, an AC adapter, and professional quality 30-minute microcassettes. For more information, contact Norcom Electronics Corp., Trumbull, CT 06611 or at http://norcom-electronics.com.
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