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For Immediate Release 

Susan Barich
Director of Business Development
Silicon Valley World Internet Center



Leading technologists meet on neutral ground to map out the next hot voice-driven enterprise applications.

Palo Alto, CA—September 25, 2000 -- The best minds in voice and speech-related technologies convened at the Silicon Valley World Internet Center ( last week to brainstorm voice-driven enterprise applications for the next 12-18-month market.

In the next few years, it is expected that most people accessing the Internet (particularly globally) will not do so using a standard PC, but through wireless phones and PDAs (personal digital assistants). Since these new Internet devices aren't conducive to extended typing, many believe that voice technologies will have to be deployed.

"Today, devices are getting smaller and smaller, but as my boss is fond of saying, 'our fingers aren't,' says Sunil Soares, Program Director, Product Management, IBM Voice Systems. "So, voice is the most natural way to go for companies that want to deliver simple and faster access to information from anywhere at anytime using any device -- no matter what the size."

Additionally, voice and speech-recognition technologies are being aligned for large-scale systems deployment across enterprises. The latest Think Tank Session at the Center focused on how these technologies could be applied and utilized for cross-enterprise applications.

Thirty high-level executives and technologists represented leaders in the voice markets, including IBM, SAP, Hewlett-Packard, BeVocal, Nuance Communications, TellMe Networks, VOCI Corporation, and Speechwise Technologies.

Technologists and executives explored the user experience to-date with voice and speech-recognition technologies and focused on market approaches to voice-enabling enterprise applications. Participants debated suitable applications for voice enablement with the use of VoiceXML and other voice and speech-related technologies. The characteristics of a "good" voice-enabled interface in contrast to "poor" interface were discussed, as well as the strengths and weaknesses of modularized speech objects or dialogue components, barriers to the development of natural-language recognition, and the economically viable characteristics of the technologies that do work for voice applications.

What voice market developments are coming up in the next 12-18 months? According to Bruce Grant, key practice director of advanced technologies for Dallas-based Luminant Worldwide Corporation (NASDAQ: LUMT), "Natural-language Understanding (NLU), which allows for conversational interaction, will become more prevalent. PIMs (personal information managers) will gain momentum; multi-modal PDA's and cell phones will improve as voice drives data and data drives voice; and voice server providers will take off."


The Center, a dynamic think tank, showcase and collaboration facility for the advancement of eMarkets and Internet-related technologies, is currently sponsored by key companies in the Internet revolution: Amdocs, Inc., Deutsche Telekom, Hewlett-Packard Company, IBM Corporation, Metiom, SAP, and Sun Microsystems.