ScanSoft TTS Deployed by Royal New Zealand Foundation of the Blind

SYDNEY, AUSTRALIA and PEABODY, MA - ScanSoft Inc. (Nasdaq: SSFT) has deployed a speech-enabled daily news service for the Royal New Zealand Foundation of the Blind (RNZFB) using Speechify® text-to-speech (TTS) software. The RNZFB selected Speechify software to speech-enable its daily news service comprised of content from The New Zealand Herald. This is the first deployment of Speechify TTS in the New Zealand market. The RNZFB has over 11,500 members, 65 percent of whom are over the age of 65 and only two percent have access to the Internet. The Speechify solution converts text from the paper's Web site via XML feeds into speech in a male voice through a program developed by the RNZFB. Members are able to select the stories they want from an extended menu. "Broadcast media provides one medium of daily news, but it isn't as comprehensive as newspaper editorials and opinion pieces," said Mary Schnackenberg, RNZFB divisional manager for adaptive support. "This solution provides our visually impaired members with equal access as their sighted peers to print media through one of the nation's highly regarded newspapers. We were exceedingly impressed with ScanSoft's responsiveness and willingness to help from inception. This ongoing interest and commitment assures the RNZFB that our news service will continue to be a sustainable success story." The RNZFB plans to introduce a female Speechify-powered 'news reader' so that members can select whether they want to listen to the news in a male or female voice. "This application is an excellent example of how well Speechify TTS converts dynamically changing text to accurate and natural-sounding speech," said Peter Chidiac, Asia Pacific regional director, Network Speech Solutions at ScanSoft. "We look forward to working with the RNZFB to further develop and support this innovative service as it evolves."
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