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IBM to Power VoiceBox Platform to be Used in XM Satellite, Others
[January 24, 2006]

IBM to Power VoiceBox Platform to be Used in XM Satellite, Others

TMCnet Wireless and Technology Columnist
NEW YORK -- Determined to show it remains at the forefront of speech technologies development, IBM on Tuesday announced that its IBM Embedded ViaVoice will power the speech engine of VoiceBox Technologies’ proprietary Navigator platform, which will be used as part of the XM Satellite Radio arrangement announced during the holiday season.

But XM Satellite Radio’s service isn’t limited to only talk and music, explained Mike Kennewick, chairman and CEO of VoiceBox Technologies. In fact, XM delivers a vast amount of data – digital information in the form of sports scores, weather statistics and over 9,000 stock quotes that are updated throughout the day.

The voice technology that enables automobile drivers to speak naturally and allows handheld devices to contextually understand the user is being released as part of IBM Embedded ViaVoice 4.4. The latest version of the embedded software powers automatic speech recognition (ASR) or text-to-speech (TTS) platforms to digest audio input and generate synthesized human speech.
While we have perfected human speech for tens of millions of years of evolution, computers have developed their own digital ways to communication just in the last 50 years and the challenge is to integrate the two, Michael Nelson, director of On-Demand Business at IBM, said at a small press gathering in IBM’s midtown offices.
“Today about a billion people use the Internet…they are using the Web to access information they need to do their job. But there are two billion people that use the telephone,” Nelson explained to illustrate the significance of speech technologies.
In addition to XM, VoiceBox also leveraged the IBM-sponsored event to announce a multi-year telematics development deal with Johnson Controls, one of the largest suppliers of automotive components. The agreement calls for VoiceBox to provide its Navigator conversational voice search and retrieval features using IBM Embedded ViaVoice for Johnson Controls’ BlueConnect wireless mobile device gateway.
VoiceBox announced an agreement with Toyota to develop tools to enable search, navigation and retrieval of information for potential, future use in Toyota vehicles.
While IBM tried to emphasize speech technologies as the key enabling technology, it still acknowledged that certain times make it difficult for users to input data via voice. As such, IBM also announced a partnership with Openstream for the infrastructure platform vendor to embed its mobile solution to IBM Websphere Everyplace Multimodal software.
Robert Liu is Executive Editor at TMCnet. Previously, he was Executive Editor at Jupitermedia and has also written for CNN, A&E, Dow Jones and Bloomberg. For more articles, please visit Robert Liu's columnist page.

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