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Philips, Omnitel Claim Largest Speech Recognition Deployment

Philips and Italian mobile operator Omnitel are bringing together mobile communications, speech recognition technology and the Internet to create what they call "the world's largest Net portal, complete with speech recognition."

Omnitel 2000, the portal platform, will be available to all Omnitel Pronto Italia mobile customers.

Among the services on Omnitel 2000 will be access to a suite of over 300 different databases, including restaurant guides, yellow and white pages and other services. Users will reach them via the Internet, by smart Wireless Application Protocol (WAP) compliant telephones, or by using a standard phone and Philips' natural dialogue speech recognition technology.

"With the convergence of the Internet and the telecommunications network, Net portals become a central access point to telecommunication services," said Ron van den Bos, president and CEO of Philips Speech Processing.

"Philips is committed to improving accessibility to services via the telephone by providing speech recognition technology that allows a true natural conversation of the callers with an automated system."

The Omnitel services will be rolled out in two phases, the first 90 services based on speech recognition becoming available by the end of June. They will include travel information by plane, boat and train, hotel information and other travel-related topics, as well as news and leisure services.