Kirusa And SpeechWorks Announce First GPRS Trial Of Multimodal Applications On Bouygues Telecom's GPRS Network

BERKELEY HEIGHTS, NJ, BOSTON, MA, and PARIS, FRANCE - Kirusa, the provider of multimodal platforms enabling delivery of multimodal applications to wireless devices, together with SpeechWorks International Inc. (NASDAQ:SPWX), a supplier in speech recognition and TTS technologies and services, announced the initiation of a multimodal trial on the French mobile operator Bouygues Telecom's GPRS networks in France. This marks both an integration of a multimodal platform in a real 2.5G mobile network environment, and a network implementation of simultaneous multimodality, where voice and visual information interact. By integrating Kirusa's multimodal platform into Bouygues Telecom's GPRS environment, Kirusa and Bouygues Telecom have initiated a study of multimodal ergonomics within an actual network. Bouygues Telecom is developing a suite of applications designed to explore the human factors of multimodality. Kirusa will install the Kirusa Multimodal Platform in France to support the trial. Kirusa's multimodal platform, which offers SMS, sequential and simultaneous multimodality, allows wireless phone and PDA users to access information by speaking a command, or by using visual signals such as typing or gesturing to their handset. Application results can be delivered visually on the device screen, by voice, or through combinations of both voice and visual modes. The multimodal platform installed at Bouygues Telecom leverages advanced French and English language speech solutions from SpeechWorks, including the OpenSpeech Recognizer recognition software, OpenSpeech Browser Platform Integration Kit, and Speechify TTS software. The multimodal platform utilizes distributed speech recognition, which splits the speech processing on the device and network, enhancing the performance and accuracy of the speech recognition and reducing the bandwidth requirements over GPRS networks. "Multimodality is a disruptive technology that will drive widespread adoption of wireless data applications. We're convinced that multimodality will empower our subscribers and application developers with unique capabilities, and open new horizons for revenue and profitability," said Georges Passet, Chief Technical Officer of Bouygues Telecom. "We view multimodality as a core service from our network to the application providers, just as location-based information is a core service. After an exhaustive evaluation process in our US labs, we believe the platform offered by Kirusa is the most advanced and production-ready from a mobile operator's perspective, and we have been delighted with the support and response from the Kirusa team." "This inaugural trial with Bouygues Telecom provides Kirusa with an incredible entrée into the European wireless market, while giving the opportunity to quantify, for the first time, the rewards that multimodality can bring to a 2.5G service provider," said Dr. Inderpal Singh Mumick, CEO and founder of Kirusa. "Multimodal technology is the prerequisite to mass market adoption of wireless data services. As an early adopter of multimodal solutions, Bouygues Telecom is a key partner and customer of Kirusa in driving adoption of multimodal solutions amongst European consumers and enterprises." "SpeechWorks is excited to work with Kirusa on the Bouygues Telecom multimodal trial," said Alan Schwartz, vice president of business development and head of the Automotive and Mobile Devices Customer Focus Unit at SpeechWorks. "SpeechWorks' partnership with Kirusa and our commitment to multimodal solutions that improve user interfaces will help mobile operators such as Bouygues Telecom leverage the power of its 2.5G network, delivering the network's full potential to end users, and as a result, driving the market adoption and deployment of multimodal applications."
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