RealTime IT News

Sun VoiceTone, Can We Talk?

Three Silicon Valle-based companies Wednesday forged an alliance that should be of note for mobile and wireline operators.

Sun Microsystems says it is making its VoiceTone Platform available with the help of speech recognition technology players Menlo Park, Calif.-based Nuance and Sunnyvale, Calif.-based BeVocal.

The technology is a amalgamation of VoiceTone Platform's open, standards-compliant architecture, BeVocal's VoiceXML applications and Sun's VoiceTone Platform.

The combined efforts are expected to eventually give mobile subscribers services like voice portals, voice-navigated voicemail and voice-activated dialing.

"This solution brings us closer to realizing a voicetone vision of enabling subscribers to accomplish their day-to-day tasks, get information over the web and access personalized content, all via speech, the most natural form of communication," says Sun Microsystems senior director of Market Development Shahram Moradpour. "Through this strategic alliance with BeVocal and Nuance, we are providing mobile and wireline operators a speech platform solution that is ready-to-deploy today and that scales with their growing subscriber interest."

Helping keep that interest, Sun says its VoiceTone Platform offers a set of VoiceXML based applications; support of the iPlanet Web Proxy Server, which is expected to interoperate with iPlanet Application Server version 6.5 by late 2002; a standards-compliant platform architecture, which support in-house or 3rd-party developer applications based on VoiceXML 2.0 and Session Initiation Protocol (SIP), as well as other emerging IETF and W3C specifications including Speech Synthesis Markup Language (SSML), Speech Recognition Grammar (SRG), Real-Time Streaming Protocol (RTSP) and future Java APIs.

Even though it is one of the newer technologies being developed for the Web, voice-enabled services are starting to really peak the public's interest.

The total worldwide market for speech recognition-based services, including voice portals, voice-activated messaging, and automated directory assistance is expected to reach over $41 billion by 2005, according to the Kelsey Group, a leading voice and mobile commerce consulting firm. The total worldwide market for the voice technologies used to deliver these services is expected to reach nearly $16.3 billion by 2005.

Nuance recently signed a deal with Yahoo! for Yahoo! by Phone and Yahoo! Phone Card services.

Late last year, BeVocal signed on to be the power behind Cingular Wireless' "Voice Connect."

The Sun/Nuance/BeVocal speech-enabling solution is ready to ship and will be installed in Sun's iForce Ready Center in Menlo Park.