Sassine Mazraani, Managing Director, Emerging Technologies

Q Please give us some background on Emerging Technologies. How did you get started?

A Emerging Technologies was established in 2001, as the first United Arab Emirates software application developer of bilingual (Arabic & English) speech recognition solutions. Emerging is the brain child of Saeed Al Romaithi, a veteran entrepreneur who appreciated the core benefits of speech recognition technology. His vision is to build a company that would be the leading provider of bilingual speech recognition solutions in the Middle East & Africa and ensure that it provides optimal solutions in accordance with the highest international industry standards.

Q Can you explain some of the products/solutions your company offers?

A Emerging Technologies specializes in developing & deploying bilingual speech recognition applications, such as :

Email Reader : A navigation tool allowing the user to access email.

News Reader : A personalized broadcasting channel enabling the user to obtain updated news.

Stock Reader : Allows the user to select the stock quotation & get the most comprehensive Market Reports from various Stock Exchanges.

Business Directory : A sophisticated business directory service.

Banking : Enabling improved banking service and customer satisfaction through Voice Authentication.

Voice Portal : Speech-enabled access to Web-based information.

Driving Direction : A voice recognition driving direction map.

Real Estate Classifieds : A speech recognition multipurpose real estate marketplace service.

E-Government : An advanced speech recognition solution to maximize the benefits of E-Government & reach the masses.

Educational Voice Portal : An advanced speech recognition registration tool enabling program selection & enrolling.

Unified Communication : A comprehensive speech enabled Unified Communication tool, brings all various types of communications to one mailbox, accessible via any communication device.

(Note : the "Educational Institution Registration" was changed to "Educational Voice Portal")

Q The "Educational Voice Portal" solution is a unique offering by Emerging Technologies. Please describe this offering.

A Due to the high utilization of mobiles among the youth, we have developed this speech recognition registration tool which enables students to select programs & enroll via the phone. Generally speaking it eases information access & registration procedures for both students & faculty.

Q Please describe the language offerings that differentiates Emerging Technologies from its competitors.

A The Arabic language, which is a very rich language with many dialects, has always been a challenge for information technology developers, but due to the advancement in processors & voice recognition technology larger vocabularies could be utilized making it easier to incorporate complex languages such as Arabic into voice recognition applications. The Arabic solutions will permit Emerging Technologies to meet the Middle East's and Arab markets requirement & eagerness to utilize the language in the latest technology advancements.

Q Please describe a recent, successful deployment and provide supporting statistics.

A On April 26, 2003, Emerging Technologies with its hosting partner in Saudi Arabia launched the Arabic Email reader in Riyadh, the center of the Middle East region's largest IT market; which will bring a much needed speech recognition service to the 7,500,000 million telephone & mobile users in Saudi Arabia. Although it is early to give statistical figures, we are approximating about 300,000 potential subscribers to the service. We are working on various projects and are at the solution development or deployment stage and soon will be announcing the launch of another service.

Q Deploying an Emerging Technologies' solution requires a voice hosting facility. Can you explain this and tell us who you partner with for these services?

A Our business hosting model depends on four players who have various responsibilities :

Telecom : the telecommunication company which provides the telecommunication connectivity and collect payments from subscribers.

Voice hosting : could be a call center or Emerging Technologies providing the voice hosting facility and ensuring the availability of the appropriate infrastructure.

Application : Emerging Technologies is the application provider and responsible for installing, testing, supporting, upgrading and enhancing the speech recognition software.

Content : The customer is the content provider and responsible for marketing the service to their existing subscriber base.

Q Could you explain your methodology for deploying speech solutions for your customers?

A We use our own methodology which is custom tailored of the Nuance methodology, basically we start with understanding the customer requirements which is translated into a Memorandum of Understanding and once approved we sign an agreement that stipulates all the agreed upon clauses. At the first stage, Emerging Technologies may develop a prototype before developing the application and then install it at the call center. In the second stage the content provider reviews and evaluates the application and discusses any verification requirements with Emerging Technologies; the third stage involves internal deployment and testing of application and selection of a testing group by the content provider. The last stage is the deployment and announcement of the service.

Q Your development environment currently supports Java and VoiceXML. Do you have any plans for SALT?

A We are waiting for these standards to mature first, as we are at the stage of evaluating their implications on our application development and once they become renowned standards then we will be complying with them.

For further information visit www.em-t.com

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