New Directions at AVIOS

AVIOS (the Applied Voice Input/Output Society) has recently taken two important new initiatives which we believe will strengthen AVIOS' support for the speech technology industry.

The first of these initiatives is the combining of the annual (23rd this year) AVIOS Conference with the SpeechTEK Spring Expo. The second initiative is the decision by the board of directors to extend AVIOS membership to the speech technology community instead of limiting membership broadly to conference attendees. We believe that these new directions will strengthen AVIOS' traditional efforts to bring researchers, developers and users together to advance real world applications of speech technology.

This year the 2003 AVIOS Conference will become the AVIOS Speech Developers Conference and SpeechTEK Spring Expo. It will be held as previously announced by AVIOS at the Fairmont Hotel in San Jose, Calif., from March 31 - April 3. The combined conference and expo is the result of a collaborative agreement between AmComm Holdings and AVIOS. This collaboration will offer the strong technical applications content of AVIOS presentations, speech technology tutorials and the VoiceXML Forum Users Group to the conference. It will also bring AmComm's staff and marketing resources to the conference and expo promotion, vendor exhibits and business-oriented presentations.

The AVIOS board, which approved the agreement with AmComm in December, believes that this arrangement provides the strongest opportunity for the promotion of speech technology applications. It offers the informational value of industry leader presentations and product and technology exhibits from the major industry vendors. This arrangement also provides AVIOS with a new flexibility to more vigorously pursue the development of AVIOS as a professional membership society.

At its Spring meeting last year the AVIOS board discussed how best to extend and enhance the benefits of AVIOS membership to individuals and companies involved in the speech technology industry. The major vehicles for supporting the community of speech professionals and their companies have been the annual AVIOS Conference and the International Journal of Speech Technology (IJST). The IJST is currently edited by Dr. Daryle Gardner-Bonneau and published by Kluwer. AVIOS will continue its strong support for the conference and the IJST.

In addition, AVIOS will now emphasize its role as a professional membership organization. Membership will be available to individuals and companies working in the speech technology industry. Personal membership will recognize the commitment of individuals whose careers are currently focused in the industry. Corporate membership in AVIOS will recognize companies and organizations which play a significant role in business, education or research in speech technology.

Speech technology and the services and products which it has spawned are now important mainstream activities world-wide in applications from call centers and telephony service providers to handheld computers and toys. A professional membership society for this industry is timely and appropriate.

In addition to offering a professional association for the speech technology community, AVIOS membership will provide a number of specific "hard dollar" benefits. These include discounts to the AVIOS-SpeechTEK and SpeechTEK Conferences and a full subscription to the IJST (typically four issues per year). Formerly, when membership in AVIOS was determined by conference registration, non-registrants lost their subscriptions unless they continued to attend the conference or subscribed through Kluwer. AVIOS has also negotiated discounts to two of the speech industry's newletters: ASRNews and Speech Recognition Update. Discounts on additional industry-related products will also be offered. The introductory AVIOS membership rate for individuals is $95.

For full details please visit the AVIOS Web page at http://www.avios.com. The AVIOS Board is continuing to discuss ways to make AVIOS a stronger supporter of the speech technology industry and offer additional benefits to members. The AVIOS board of directors is open to new ideas and new participants in the AVIOS activities. Anyone interested in being considered for a board seat or working on an AVIOS activity committee is invited to contact Peggie Johnson at peggie@avios.com or any board member.

John Oberteuffer is the president of AVIOS and a director and chief technology officer at Fonix. The AVIOS Web page is http://www.avios.com and the office may be contacted directly at peggie@avios.com.

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