Todd Mozer of Sensory
Q. You've been in the embedded space for sometime now what changes have you seen over the past few years? A. Embedded speech has become well established as a real market opportunity. Ten years ago when Sensory was started, we had dreams of this huge market emerging rapidly. Then reality set in and we realized that the market desires and expectations were out of whack with the available solutions. Today, after much development and market education, there are well established embedded speech recognition businesses in automotive, wireless handsets, toys and other consumer electronic applications. Q. How have these changes impacted Sensory? A. Sensory started as a low-cost speech recognition IC company. We quickly realized that we needed to invest very heavily in speech technology to achieve the features and level of performance our customers desired. This led us to acquire Fluent Speech Technologies who were on the cutting edge of high performance embedded solutions. In 2004 we rolled out our first chips implementing the Fluent technologies, and we are in the process of also rolling out a line of high performance small footprint embedded software solutions for platforms such as TI, ARM, Intel and other leading DSP and microcontrollers. We are now being designed into over 35 products for rollout in 2005, and our customers are blown away by the performance we can achieve in such a small footprint low cost solution. Q. You're in a number of world markets so tell us what geographic area you are seeing the most traction for speech? A. Historically our customers have designed all over the world, manufactured in Asia, and sold primarily into the />US market. With the recent availability of Sensory's language models covering over half a dozen languages, we are now seeing emerging opportunities to sell product in China, Korea, Japan, and Europe . We expect that the Chinese market alone will quickly double our sales. Q. You've recently partnered with Texas Instruments to place Sensory technology into Motorola phones, where will this lead Sensory and what have you learned from this partnership? A. We have used the TI platform to showcase a number of Sensory's exciting technologies for the cellphone handset market, and we are receiving very positive customer evaluations of these technologies. We can now demonstrate highly accurate name dialing with hundreds or thousands of names in very fast response times and with an incredibly small footprint solution. Other technologies like continuous digits and text to speech name confirmation are now available and are being well received. Our roadmap includes some very interesting added value features for handsets like animated SMS messaging, dictation, and TTS message playback. Q. What are Todd Mozer's five best practice tips when deploying embedded speech technology? A. It must be easy to implement, not add much cost, and work great even in noisy environments. It's also nice if the speech technology adds some real value and is used as more than a gimmick. Sensory has put a lot of effort into creating tools that allow the implementation task to be passed on to our customers. For example, Sensory's Quick T2SI allows one to type vocabularies into a PC and download them into a chip selling for under $2. This revolutionized how our customers can develop products. What used to take months now takes minutes, and the really cool thing is that we can now do this with larger vocabularies AND higher accuracy. Q. What are your most important strategies in running a speech technology business? A. Our product strategy includes 1. Making speech technology easier to implement, 2. Investing in technology, selling in products and 3. Continuously improving the value to customers. Sensory's market strategy entails focusing on high volume applications and localizing for international markets. Our financial strategy is very conservative. I am very happy that Sensory is able to remain profitable, and we manage our resources to maintain this profitability. We also believe that selling both chips and software in the embedded market is a real differentiation that allows us to play a more consultative role in customer designs to help them find the best solution possible. Having chips and software allows us to invest once in technology and get a double bang for the buck, allowing us to offer the lowest possible pricing to all our customers.