Microsoft Launches Microsoft Speech Server 2004 R2 with Expanded Language Support and New Deployment Options

REDMOND, Wash. - Microsoft Corp. released Microsoft® Speech Server (MSS) 2004 R2. With MSS 2004 R2, enterprise customers can offer language support for U.S. Spanish and Canadian French. Customers can also deploy MSS 2004 R2 in an all-in-one server configuration.

The new language support will address the needs of enterprises that serve Canadian and U.S. multilingual callers by enabling the enterprises to deploy speech-enabled applications designed for Canadian French, U.S. Spanish or U.S. English speakers. New automated speech recognition (ASR) and text-to-speech (TTS) engines are provided in MSS 2004 R2. Examples of customers deploying MSS 2004 R2 include Grange Insurance Group, Landstar System Inc., TALX Corp. and Woodforest National Bank.

"The MSS 2004 R2 release from Microsoft allows Grange Insurance Group to offer a bilingual, self-service speech channel to our Spanish speaking policyholders with minimal modifications to our current application," said Ryan Thorsness, business systems specialist, Grange Insurance Group.

"As we expand our deployment of Microsoft Speech Server to support our Welfare to Work and Work Opportunity Tax Credit services, the added support for U.S. Spanish will allow TALX to serve an even broader set of users with greater service levels and more efficient delivery," said Bryan Garcia, chief technologist, TALX. "Microsoft Speech Server is an economical way for TALX to deliver customer service in a timely and efficient manner."

The new MSS 2004 R2 Enterprise Edition continues support of distributed multi-server deployments, which are recommended for implementations requiring more than 48 ports.

"When all the applications are up and running, we anticipate a 60 percent reduction in internal transfers with a Microsoft Speech Server 2004 R2-based solution," said Larry Thomas, chief information officer at Landstar. "That means a huge number of our 20,000 callers each month get what they want faster."

Part of the Windows Server System™, MSS is a Web-based, speech-enabled Interactive Voice Response (IVR) and multimodal application solutions platform. As a Speech Application Language Tags (SALT)-based platform, Speech Server follows the Web application deployment model, using an ASP.NET-based Web server as the application server. The two main core components included with Microsoft Speech Server are the Telephony Application Services and Speech Engine Services, including ASR, TTS and prompt manager. MSS 2004 R2 also can be deployed in an all-in-one server configuration. In addition, customers can benefit from expanded telephony boards coverage and voice over Internet protocol (VoIP) support for MSS 2004 R2 from industry partners including Aculab, Brooktrout Inc., Eicon Networks and Vail Systems Inc.

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