Philips Electronics Brings Speech-Enabled Directory Assistance Service to Japan

TOKYO, JAPAN - Philips Electronics and Infocom Corp., the system integrator of various industry solutions in Japan, announced the launch of a new service providing automated, speech-enabled directory assistance for Japan Multimedia Service (JMS) Corp, the directory service provider with customers such as J-phone. The service hosts over 8 million business listings covering whole Japan and is accessible for J-phone subscribers to dial #9887 from their mobile phones. It completely automates the inquiry process by interacting with callers and providing requested phone listings. During the conversation, callers are asked to speak the location (prefecture, city/town/village) and company name inquired, and the system then prompts back the listing. No service charge will be applied except for actual airtime charge. "Our experience and installations so far have illustrated our leadership and market prominence in this application," said Dr. Bernd Voelpel, General Manager APAC, Philips Speech Processing/Telephony Solutions. "We are very pleased to be a significant partner of Philips to provide speech-enabled directory assistance for JMS as well as J-phone subscribers throughout Japan," said Mr. Norihiro Takehara, Manager at CTI Division, Infocom. "Infocom has proven its capabilities in providing the Japanese market with speech innovated and enabled services and is looking forward to continuously working with Philips to leverage our strengths together with value-added solutions for enterprises and their customers." "We are excited to work with Philips and Infocom, for it brings us the opportunity to offer latest speech recognition technology in the directory assistance service and moreover to pass the savings onto our customers. Speech recognition technology really helps us add a new dimension to the scope of how directory assistance service is currently offered to the users in Japan and it also provides a more natural and convenient way for users to voice access such service." said Mr. Kenji Kitamura, President, JMS Corp. "The costs of having a human-based directory assistance are rising, but the service flexibility or quality is not proportional to the cost increase." said Dr. Bernd Voelpel, General Manager APAC, Philips Speech Processing/Telephony Solutions. "However, speech technology enables service providers or carriers to improve customer service while containing cost to stay competitive. With our advances in speech technology, we have made the concept of automated directory assistance a reality and delivered a highly efficient, scalable yet flexible solution for service providers or telco industry."
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