IBM Announces New Speech Technology and Middleware around Conversational Access
SAN FRANCISCO - IBM announced new software, tools and technologies aimed at helping businesses integrate speech and multimodal technologies seamlessly into their existing infrastructures. In a related announcement, Norway-based Opera Software announced a new multimodal browser incorporating IBM's embedded speech. Centered around the idea of conversational access, the announcements are aimed at automating processes so that end users can access data whenever and wherever, as well as complete transactions quickly using speech. Built on open standards and based on Java, the product offerings are aimed at allowing businesses and developers to integrate speech into existing infrastructures more efficiently, rather than treating speech as a separate silo. Among the new customers using IBM's speech middleware is Parcelforce, the parcel delivery arm of the United Kingdom's Royal Mail. Parcelforce is using speech technology to allow users to get round-the-clock information on their packages and to schedule deliveries. IBM also announced upgrades to its speech portfolio, which are all based on the VoiceXML standard, with tools built on Eclipse-based WebSphere infrastructure software. IBM also announced its plans for future versions of WebSphere Voice Server to support Linux as well as MRCP, a proposed standard aimed at easing the integration of automatic speech recognition and text-to-speech. MRCP is designed to enable additional vendor platforms to support WebSphere Voice Server.