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Trial Voice System To Complement Singapore Web Trading

The Stock Exchange of Singapore (SES) today has put Asia's first English-language telephone stock quote system and the world's first Mandarin-language telephone stock quote system on trial in Singapore to complement its brokers' existing investment in Internet trading.

The stock quote system, SpeechQuotes, is developed by SpeechWorks International Inc. in collaboration with a local institute, Kent Ridge Digital Labs (KRDL). It allows a telephone caller to speak to the computer to get the price of the stocks listed on the SES Mainboard, SESDAQ.

"SpeechWorks has worked together with KRDL to localize an existing US stock quote system [on E*Trade] for Singapore English and Mandarin," said Stephen Adams, vice president of SpeechWorks.

"KRDL has collected over the years voice samples that capture Singapore English. They are crunched into our voice recognition engine making the system understand local English accent," said Arthur Goh, general manager of SpeechWorks in Asia Pacific. "It is a phonetic-based recognition engine and not word-based."

The two organizations have been working together on Asian languages in speech-enabled telephone-based call center applications since September last year.

SpeechQuotes is available from today for a period of three months at no charge to the public. During the trial period, the public can call 774 5550 for stock quotes in English and 774 5515 for stock quotes in Mandarin. The system resides at KRDL but is administered by SpeechWorks staff.

SpeechQuotes will also be launched during the Voice Asia '99 exhibition in Singapore from 13th to 15th April.

The brokerage industry can leverage on this technology to provide clients with higher value-added services for free or at a premium, said Lim Choo Peng, president of SES. He also said brokerage firms can apply this speech-activated capability to other applications such as order status Enquirer, account balance Enquirer, and share trading.

"We plan to expand this speech-activated stock quote system to allow stock trading and information retrieval without human intervention. This complements our brokers' existing investment in Internet trading," said Lim.

Since November last year, five brokers have already gone on the Internet in Singapore, said Daniel Tan, executive vice president of SES. Some examples of them are Philip Securities Pte Ltd., Lim & Tan Securities Pte Ltd., and Vickers Ballas & Co Pte Ltd..

Tan also said four additional securities firms here are going to offer Internet trading in the coming months.

However, Internet trading is still at its infancy in Singapore.

"Internet trading introduced by a few brokers in Singapore is still not very popular but [its] popularity will [increase] over time as commissions deregulate," said Lim.

He said the investment industry is waiting for the right time to implement Internet call center solutions.

"As stock brokers find a particular service is in demand, [they] will implement it," said Lim with reference to Internet call center solutions.



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