IBM taps partners to bolster speech applications

IBM is using partners to build new speech-enabled applications

Speech-enabled applications have been around for some time, but they have never reached the level of adoption that proponents of the technology have predicted over the years. IBM is out to change all of that.

In New York on Tuesday, the company showcased a host of applications -- both prototypes and commercial -- that its research labs and partners have built incorporating voice recognition and speech technologies.

While IBM has been doing research for about 10 years in the speech area, speech-enabled applications have come a long way since the company first introduced dictation technologies to the medical industry, Dr. David Nahamoo, chief technology officer of speech technology at IBM Research, said.

And IBM's partners, some of whom were on hand at the event in IBM's Manhattan office to show off applications using IBM ViaVoice technology, are a big part of why speech technology is moving forward, he said.

"We're working with partners to make a lot of things happen so we accelerate the delivery of useful products and offerings in the marketplace," Nahamoo said.

Another thing IBM did about a year ago to accelerate the company's ability to offer speech-enabled applications that are "truly useful" to the average person was to integrate its speech research into its core software group, said Dan Miller, an analyst with Opus Research in San Francisco.

"[This] means they're willing to bring solutions that involve the full line of WebSphere middleware, and application servers along into solutions that indeed involve speech," he said.

IBM's long-standing tradition of innovation also brings credibility to speech-enabled applications and could inspire more people to use them, Miller added.

At Tuesday's event, companies such as Navigation Pioneer Electronics and All Media Guide showed how they are using Embedded ViaVoice speech-recognition technology in commercial applications.

For example, Pioneer's AVIC-Z2 new car navigation system provides detailed driving directions that go beyond the usual "turn left at the next street" with the help of Embedded ViaVoice, said Ted Cardenas, product planning manager, Navigation Pioneer Electronics. "It will actually tell you the street name," he said, adding this is safer because the driver does not have to look at the screen to double-check the street name.

The AVIC-Z2 system also learns a driver's driving habits, and will only map out directions that avoid certain freeways and streets if a driver tends to do the same thing, Cardenas said.

All Media Guide, which provides information about music, musical artists, songs and albums for Web sites, online music stores and other entertainment outlets, has teamed with IBM and Avoca Semiconductor to allow users to interact by voice with their personal media collections, said Zac Johnson, product manager for All Media Guide.

Avoca's speech-enabled user interface is called the Media Control Platform, within which is IBM Embedded ViaVoice. All Media Guide provides the engine within the platform that lets people use voice capabilities to find artists and songs they want to listen to, he said.

For example, a user can tell the system it wants to hear Bruce Springsteen, or "Play The Boss," using his nickname to identify him, Johnson said. The technology can work with a variety of devices on which users store their digital media, such as PCs, iPods or MP3 players.

IBM faces its stiffest competition from Nuance Communications in the speech technology market, but another big software competitor, Microsoft Corp., also is moving into the space, Opus's Miller said.

In particular, Microsoft is focused on embedding voice into its Office Communication Server collaboration software, he said. This will provide some interesting competitive offerings down the road as IBM also is doing the same with its Lotus/Sametime collaboration suite, Miller said.

"I think those companies are really pushing each other to innovate in that area," he said.

Join the newsletter!

Or

Sign up to gain exclusive access to email subscriptions, event invitations, competitions, giveaways, and much more.

Membership is free, and your security and privacy remain protected. View our privacy policy before signing up.

Error: Please check your email address.
Keep up with the latest tech news, reviews and previews by subscribing to the Good Gear Guide newsletter.

Elizabeth Montalbano

IDG News Service
Show Comments

Cool Tech

Toys for Boys

Family Friendly

Stocking Stuffer

SmartLens - Clip on Phone Camera Lens Set of 3

Learn more >

Christmas Gift Guide

Click for more ›

Brand Post

Most Popular Reviews

Latest Articles

Resources

PCW Evaluation Team

Aysha Strobbe

Microsoft Office 365/HP Spectre x360

Microsoft Office continues to make a student’s life that little bit easier by offering reliable, easy to use, time-saving functionality, while continuing to develop new features that further enhance what is already a formidable collection of applications

Michael Hargreaves

Microsoft Office 365/Dell XPS 15 2-in-1

I’d recommend a Dell XPS 15 2-in-1 and the new Windows 10 to anyone who needs to get serious work done (before you kick back on your couch with your favourite Netflix show.)

Maryellen Rose George

Brother PT-P750W

It’s useful for office tasks as well as pragmatic labelling of equipment and storage – just don’t get too excited and label everything in sight!

Cathy Giles

Brother MFC-L8900CDW

The Brother MFC-L8900CDW is an absolute stand out. I struggle to fault it.

Luke Hill

MSI GT75 TITAN

I need power and lots of it. As a Front End Web developer anything less just won’t cut it which is why the MSI GT75 is an outstanding laptop for me. It’s a sleek and futuristic looking, high quality, beast that has a touch of sci-fi flare about it.

Emily Tyson

MSI GE63 Raider

If you’re looking to invest in your next work horse laptop for work or home use, you can’t go wrong with the MSI GE63.

Featured Content

Product Launch Showcase

Don’t have an account? Sign up here

Don't have an account? Sign up now

Forgot password?