Rhetorical Systems, Digital Animations Groups and Emblaze Join Forces

BOSTON, MA, SCOTLAND and FRANCE - Digital Animations Group and Rhetorical, a developer of speech synthesis technology, have announced an application partnership with Emblaze Systems, an Emblaze Group company (LSE: BLZ) and a provider of media services and delivery solutions over wireless networks. The agreement will see the three partners develop joint products for GPRS and 3G standard phones. The triumvirate will work closely together to develop products for the mobile media-messaging marketplace enabling carriers and service providers to see increased data revenue from mobile services. The system brings together DAG's avatar technology, Rhetorical's text-to-speech solution and Emblaze's media delivery solution to provide messaging for multimedia phones. One of the first of the new applications "StereoTypes", brief, stylized animated multimedia messages comprising of an audio greeting, an animated character and a text message has already been demonstrated at the recent 3GSM mobile conference held in Cannes. The phone user selects one of 15 characters to represent their message and sends it to the recipient. The message is then analyzed on the server and the appropriate animation and greeting is added. The tone of the message defines the animation and greeting. Each character has 12 mood animations including happy, grumpy, flirtatious and disgusted. These are accompanied by one of 30 pre-recorded audio greetings. By looking at the language of the text the system can accurately reflect the tone of the message through the character. Although not a feature of the initial launch later generations of the product could feature text-to-speech technology with text messages being read to the user. Targeted to people 18-35 years old, StereoTypes appeals to this early adopter group who tend to be high users of text services. StereoTypes give carriers a differentiating service and encourage sales of multimedia phones by demonstrating the ability of the technology. Carriers also have a migration path for video messaging with 3G services. As the initial service does not require 3G capabilities the lead-time is very short. This is further underlined, as the service will work with phones from Nokia, Sony Ericsson and Samsung, which are already in circulation. Itai BenDor, CEO of Emblaze Systems said: "Mobile operators are looking for more ways to keep customer loyalty and demonstrate the sophistication of today's mobile technology. Our aim has been to demonstrate to telecommunication companies and network operators the range of applications and content that can be adapted to be used on our non-proprietary technology and show them the revenue generating opportunities." Mike Antliff, CEO of DAG said: "With voice revenues levelling off and industry regulators looking to enforce price reductions operators need to find new ways of stimulating revenue streams. With StereoTypes text messages come alive encouraging use of the lucrative data messaging services." Marc Moens, CEO of Rhetorical said: "We are constantly finding new applications for speech technology. By creating voices with emotional presence we are once again moving text to speech forward. We are pleased to be working on this project which harness several very different areas of expertise."
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