Computer Talk Technology and SpeechWorks Support The Canadian National Institute for the Blind
TORONTO, ONTARIO - Computer Talk Technology Inc. (CTT), a provider of multi-channel contact center solutions, has partnered with Boston-based SpeechWorks International, Inc. (Nasdaq: SPWX), a developer of speech technologies and services, to deliver a text-to-speech (TTS) conversion program for The Canadian National Institute for the Blind Library, based in Toronto. The program, VisuNEWS, converts electronic news feeds into natural sounding speech, enabling people who are blind or visually impaired to access current news and entertainment articles from anywhere using a touch-tone telephone. Only three percent of all published material in Canada is available in a format that Canadians who are blind or visually impaired can use. Programs like VisuNEWS help to create equal access to information for everyone. The system is housed on CTT's 'glacier' platform and uses SpeechWorks ETI-Eloquence TTS software to create synthesized speech in English and French. 'glacier' lets callers use the touch-tone keys on their phones to navigate through the system, make selections and input commands such as repeat, speed up, slow down and skip articles. "CTT's products are globally recognized for their functionality and versatility. By integrating CTT's and SpeechWorks' systems, we're leveraging technology to push boundaries that once limited people who are blind or visually impaired," said Greg Blackett, Director of Product Marketing at CTT. The CNIB Library for the Blind offers free library and information services to approximately three million Canadians who are blind, visually impaired and print-disabled. The library circulates 1.8 million items each year, offering an ever-growing collection of braille books, talking books, and an array of electronic and digital materials. "VisuNEWS by phone is one of our most popular services and makes an enormous difference in our clients' lives," said Margaret McGrory, Executive Director of the CNIB Library. "Without it most Canadians who are blind or visually impaired would have no access to the daily newspaper, an essential source of information that the rest of us take for granted. We applaud CTT and SpeechWorks for making this technology possible." "VisuNEWS is a powerful tool offering people who are blind or visually impaired greater access to news and information to enhance their lives," said Steve Chambers, Chief Marketing Officer at SpeechWorks. "We continue to see increased interest in our TTS suite of products for embedded and network applications such as this that deliver dynamic text-based information to callers in a natural sounding voice."