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Speech Recognition Ready for Prime Time

Techstination feature for Thursday, February 2, 2006

Speech recognition gets ready for prime time. Bloomberg Boot Camp, a report on today's technology. IBM has announced what it calls a major breakthrough in voice recognition…a new version of its embedded ViaVoice software that enables users to interact with cell phones, car navigation systems and other devices….using natural speech instead of memorized sets of commands. Senior technical staff member Harvey Ruback says the addition of more electronic gadgets in cars increases the need for voice recognition…

"Think about your car…where you're driving. You're not going to want to be looking down at screens, looking for buttons and fumbling with things. It's much easier, much safer, to press a button and say what you want to happen. Whether it's selecting an address, whether it's changing a radio station."

A company called VoiceBox, for instance, is building voice recognition into a new generation of XM Satellite Radio receivers. CEO Mike Kennewick…says the technology can be used to find and change channels….or request info from the data stream of the service…

"We allow you to change the radio using speech just by asking. But at the same time, you can say, hey, give me a stock quote for General Motors. And then you can go on and say what's the weather going to be like today and get the data from the radio on a personalized basis."

VoiceBox is working with other companies to make use of the technology. Where is it all headed…more from a leading scientist in an upcoming report. Bloomberg Boot Camp, I'm Fred Fishkin.