REDMOND, Wash. — April 5, 2006 — Microsoft Corp. today disclosed the road map and first set of features of its upcoming release of Microsoft® Speech Server 2007. Beginning in May, beta testers will have the opportunity to preview and provide feedback on Speech Server 2007, which is planned for release in late 2006. Speech Server 2007 is Microsoft’s next-generation speech and telephony platform to help contact centers and businesses meet the challenge of reducing costs while improving automated customer service over the telephone.
Speech Server 2007 will provide full support for Speech Application Language Tags (SALT) and Voice Extensible Markup Language (VoiceXML), which will enable customers to choose the development standard that will work best in their environment. In addition, Speech Server 2007 can easily plug into existing telephony infrastructures to deliver more cost-effective and integrated customer-service operations. Contact center and business managers will also have access to new monitoring tools that can identify performance issues and opportunities to help ensure that the system is efficiently and accurately addressing caller inquiries.
“Enterprise purchasing criteria is changing. More businesses today, than ever before, are making telephony and IT-based decisions regarding IVR platform technology to secure investments,” said Daniel Hong, senior voice business analyst at Datamonitor plc. “Microsoft’s support for both VoiceXML and SALT, in addition to key integrations with its tooling assets, provides Speech Server customers with a greater level of flexibility and investment protection across multiple infrastructures and applications. This enables organizations to choose and build an IVR solution that can seamlessly fit into their existing environments.”
“With Speech Server 2007, Microsoft will provide a flexible platform that is a cost-effective, long-term investment with the ability to integrate with current telephony infrastructures,” said Rich Bray, general manager of the Speech Server group at Microsoft. “In addition, with the new development capabilities we’re providing, companies that previously had to choose between the best long-term platform and support for VoiceXML can now have both with Speech Server 2007.”
Open Development and Deployment Choice
Broadening voice response application development options for companies, Speech Server 2007 includes full support for SALT and VoiceXML. With the newly included VoiceXML support, customers will be able to write World Wide Web Consortium’s VoiceXML 2.1-compliant applications within Microsoft Visual Studio® 2005 and deploy those applications, or existing VoiceXML 2.1-compliant applications, on Speech Server 2007. Microsoft has also joined the VoiceXML Forum (http://www.voicexml.org) at the Promoter level.
Native VoIP Support
Leveraging Microsoft’s investments in Internet protocol (IP) telephony, Speech Server 2007 will include native support for voice over IP (VoIP), providing companies with a powerful platform that can grow with changing business and technology needs. The platform will natively support Session Initiation Protocol (SIP) and Real-Time Transport Protocol (RTP) as core communications protocols for out-of-the-box support for IP telephony and interoperability with leading VoIP gateways.
Existing telephony infrastructure investments can also be enhanced with Speech Server 2007’s support for traditional time division multiplexing (TDM) or hybrid IP/TDM environments.
Deep Caller Behavior Insight
With Speech Server 2007, Microsoft introduces the Speech Server Analytics Studio and Speech Server Business Intelligence Tools to provide companies with customizable, detailed usage reports. From these reports, developers, IT professionals and business managers will be able to rapidly assess opportunities and challenges, driving needed changes in the caller experience.
The Speech Server Analytics Studio will provide a variety of predefined reports containing details of common scenarios. The reports provide the opportunity to drill down from a high-level results analysis to actual call events and audio files. Speech Server Analytics Studio is built on Microsoft SQL Server 2005™ Reporting Services, enabling developers to write their own custom and ad-hoc reports to transform valuable enterprise data into shared information for insightful, timely decisions.
Speech Server Business Intelligence Tools provide managers with a long-term view of caller behavior by creating blocks of large volumes of caller data that can be reviewed using online analytical processing (OLAP).
Microsoft Speech Server Adoption
Over the past two years, Speech Server 2004 has been embraced by more than 100 customers in the United States and Canada. More than 40,000 telephony ports of capacity have been licensed, and Speech Server customers are successfully answering more than 10 million calls per month on the platform.
More information about Microsoft Speech Server, including information about the beta and upcoming webcasts, is available at http://www.microsoft.com/speech.
About Microsoft Speech Server
Microsoft Speech Server is Microsoft’s IVR platform and provides the tools, run-time environment, and core speech and telephony services needed for speech-enabled telephony applications on a single, integrated platform. Microsoft Speech Server reduces the complexity and cost of building, deploying and maintaining DTMF and speech-enabled applications for customer self-service and outbound notification. Contact centers and businesses use the award-winning platform to automate customer self-service calls, reduce call-center agent time, improve customer satisfaction, add speech capabilities to line-of-business applications and provide access to existing applications from any telephone. Speech Server also enables developers to use the powerful Visual Studio 2005 development environment to cost-effectively build and maintain high-quality DTMF and speech-enabled IVR applications. More information can be found at http://www.microsoft.com/speech.
Founded in 1975, Microsoft (Nasdaq “MSFT”) is the worldwide leader in software, services and solutions that help people and businesses realize their full potential.
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Industry Quotes About Microsoft Speech Server 2007
“As the provider of a leading VoiceXML development and management environment and an active participant in the VoiceXML community, Audium is pleased to see Microsoft embracing VoiceXML. The advent of VoiceXML has been a driver for growth within the entire voice industry, and we look forward to working with Microsoft to continue that momentum.”
Chief Technology Officer
“Having developed speech applications for the contact center market for many years now, ComputerTalk appreciates the robust speech platform that Microsoft Speech Server 2007 provides. Native SIP support and Microsoft .NET Framework-based applications will make integration with our contact center platform seamless, allowing us to present an affordable and scalable speech-based contact center solution to our customers.”
Director of Sales and Marketing
ComputerTalk Technology Inc.
“We have seen Microsoft Speech Server rapidly adopted by customers where .NET and SALT are standards. The addition of VoiceXML support allows even more companies to leverage the cost and performance benefits of Microsoft Speech Server and benefit from the sizable body of pre-existing VXML components.”
Chief Technology Officer
Digital Data Voice Inc.
“Adding development options, global language capability and native VoIP makes a great platform even better. Gold Systems’ experience with Microsoft Speech Server has been wonderful from the beginning. It’s a highly stable and cost-effective platform that works very well in the enterprise, based on our experience in many successful customer deployments. The new features announced today make Speech Server an even better long-term choice for customers.”
President and CEO
“The enhancements in Speech Server 2007, particularly VoiceXML and native VoIP support, really respond to customer demand for standards-based solutions that integrate well with existing call center and enterprise infrastructure. We look forward to working with Microsoft to deliver the Speech Server 2007 framework to new and existing customers around the world.”
Director of Alliances Marketing
“We are excited about the expanded features and development options provided with the new Speech Server 2007. The new VoiceXML capability will be a major benefit to the market and demonstrates Microsoft’s commitment to advancing speech technology.”
CEO and President
“The VoiceXML Forum is an open industry group with diverse membership. Microsoft’s interest in VoiceXML and the VoiceXML Forum is yet another indicator of the continued growth and success of VoiceXML in the marketplace. The Forum welcomes Microsoft as a new Promoter member.”