SpeechWorks Provides Speech-Activated "Postal Code Helpline"; Genius Institute to License Speech2Go Embedded Speech Recognition Software

SINGAPORE - Singapore Post (SingPost) and SpeechWorks International, Inc. (Nasdaq:SPWX), a developer of speech recognition and text-to-speech (TTS) technologies and services, launched the speech-enabled "Postal Code Helpline," an automated system that offers the public easy and user-friendly access to over 122,000 postal codes island-wide. SingPost offers a means by which the general public can inquire about the 6-digit postal code for any building name or street address throughout Singapore. Today, with over 122,000 postal codes in Singapore, it's common for callers to inquire about postal codes so they can update their database of addresses, confirm an address and complete an address. Powered by SpeechWorks speech recognition technology, callers can now access postal code information 24-hours a day, seven days a week. Callers can say the name of a building or a combination of street name and block, building or house number and the system will respond with the correct postal code. The "Postal Code Helpline" is accessible at 1 800-842 7678 (toll-free within Singapore only). Compared to the previous touchtone system that serviced only 30% of callers, the speech-activated "Postal Code Helpline" services 70% of callers, a significant increase in caller-friendly automation that enables increased self-service. According to Mr. Tan Swee Guan, SingPost's senior director, eBusiness and Engineering, the previous self-service option was a touch-tone system that was difficult and cumbersome to use due to the many different streets and options that needed to be keyed into the telephone key-pad to get a postal code. "The previous touch-tone system was only assisting 30% of callers. The new speech-activated 'Postal Code Helpline' is much easier to use. Callers will no longer have to wait nor will they have to navigate through a time-consuming touch-tone menu. Now, callers will instantaneously gain access to a friendly and efficient service by using the simplest but most powerful tool - the human voice." The system was first piloted in December 2001. Since then, the speech-enabled "Postal Code Helpline" has significantly improved service for SingPost customers through fast and easy access to postal code information. Customer service representatives can now dedicate more time to assisting callers with more complex inquiries, as the automation rate has risen to over 70% since the speech-enabled system has been in place. "We believe in using the latest technology wherever possible for better service and the convenience of customers. We are extremely pleased to partner with SpeechWorks to be the first in Asia to bring this innovative and efficient service to our customers," said Mr. Tan. The "Postal Code Helpline" is yet another SpeechWorks-powered application in the Singapore market. Since establishing its Asia Pacific Headquarters and Regional Center of Excellence in September 1998, SpeechWorks has deployed speech solutions for Singapore Telecom, Singapore Association for the Visually Handicapped, DMG & Partners and more. "We are delighted to have teamed up with Singapore Post to deliver the first speech recognition technology solution for the postal industry in Asia," said Arthur Goh, general manager, SpeechWorks Asia Pacific. "We applaud SingPost for leading the industry in creating enhanced services for the public, and we are excited to be launching this system live to the general public today."
Genius Institute to License Speech2Go Embedded Speech Recognition Software
BOSTON, MA and MANAUS, BRAZIL - SpeechWorks International Inc. (Nasdaq: SPWX), a developer of speech recognition and TTS technologies and services, and the Genius Institute of Technology, announced a joint licensing and development agreement for SpeechWorks' Speech2Go embedded speech recognition engine. The relationship will accelerate the time-to-market for speech-enabled devices in Brazil and the introduction of Brazilian Portuguese and Latin American Spanish languages for Speech2Go. The Genius Institute of Technology is a Brazilian private institute, devoted to the research and development of innovative technologies in the digital electronics field. Speech-enabled devices will offer command and control functionality using speech, for television, DVD, MP3, VCR, cell phone and other consumer devices. For example, a user might say "turn TV on," "volume down," or "VCR, play 'A Beautiful Mind.'" These devices may also connect to network-based services allowing users to navigate a television guide or download music files from the Internet. Under the terms of the agreement, Genius is licensing SpeechWorks' Speech2Go software, a continuous, speaker-independent speech recognition engine designed specifically for use in automotive applications, mobile devices and home entertainment systems. Using Speech2Go, Genius will deploy speech solutions in a wide range of devices. Genius will also create a reference design for a home entertainment system that will incorporate SpeechWorks' technologies. To support its markets, Genius will develop Brazilian Portuguese and Latin American Spanish language models for the recognizer. Genius' founder and main client, Gradiente, is a manufacturer of entertainment systems and a cell phone provider in Brazil, and plans to integrate speech into many of its product lines. "Through rigorous evaluation, we determined that SpeechWorks can provide us with the best embedded recognizer available today to develop speech-enabled devices for the Brazilian market," said Tsen Kang, business development manager for new technologies at Genius Institute of Technology. "Working with SpeechWorks, we can bring new, innovative products to market faster that will enhance the lives of consumers."
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