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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