REDMOND, Wash., Oct. 25, 2000 — Microsoft Corp. today announced the availability of the Speech SDK version 5.0. This version of the toolkit includes a redesigned, industry-standard speech application programming interface (SAPI) targeted at developers, the same speech technology that will ship with the next version of Microsoft® Office next year. Thousands of developers have already received a beta version of the SDK through MSDN® and at the Microsoft Professional Developer’s Conference in July. Today, more than 20 speech engine companies, tools developers and independent software vendors (ISVs) have announced plans to release products for the Windows® operating system based on Speech API 5.0 (SAPI 5.0) in the near term.
SAPI 5.0 enables developers to add speech capability even if they don’t have in-depth knowledge of the underlying speech technology. It features a rich set of speech services for building high-performance speech applications for the desktop as well as portability for mobile and server platforms. SAPI 5.0 is speech engine-independent, giving developers even greater freedom in designing the appropriate solution for a given speech-enabled application.
“By using SAPI 5.0 and the Microsoft speech engines, developers will have a reliable and robust platform with which to create powerful and useful speech-enabled applications,”
said XD Huang, general manager of Speech.NET Technologies at Microsoft.
“That includes not only Microsoft products such as the next version of Office, where SAPI has been used to deliver continuous dictation and command-and-control features, but also a wide range of third-party applications and products that will take full advantage of SAPI’s capabilities.”
One of the ISVs using SAPI 5.0 is think3 Inc. of Santa Clara, Calif., a mechanical computer-aided design (CAD) software developer.
“By using SAPI 5.0, We’re delivering a new speech-driven graphical user interface to our customers with the next release of our 3-D design software,”
said Joe Costello, chairman and CEO of think3.
“This new voice command-and-control functionality — a first for the MCAD industry — automates and simplifies 3-D design tasks, dramatically boosting user productivity.”
On the hardware side, Andrea Electronics Corp. of Melville, N.Y., has developed a SAPI 5.0 driver that works with its Universal Serial Bus (USB) microphones, greatly simplifying the process of configuring a high-quality microphone to work properly with speech-enhanced products.
“We’re excited to see Microsoft helping to drive new speech momentum by improving SAPI 5.0,”
said Douglas J. Andrea, co-chairman and co-CEO of Andrea Electronics.
“With the improvements made to audio handling, SAPI 5.0 makes it easy for an increased number of speech applications to take advantage of Andrea’s microphone technology.”
SAPI has generated support from many other companies as well, including the following:
Lernout & Hauspie/Dragon Systems Inc., http://www.lhsl.com/default2.htm
Conversational Computing Corp. (Conversa), http://www.conversa.com
Fonix Corp., http://www.fonix.com/
Fujitsu Ltd., http://www.fujitsu.com/
Toshiba Corp., http://www.toshiba.com/
IBM Corp., http://www.ibm.com
Applications and Tools
BravoBrava Inc., http://www.bravobrava.com
Keware Technologies LLC, http://www.homeseer.com/
Realize Software Corp., http://www.realizesoftware.com/
ScreenFriends Corp., http://www.screenfriends.com/index.cfm
UmeVoice Inc., http://www.umevoice.com
Chant Inc., http://www.chant.net
O & A Productions, http://www.o2a.com
Speech Solutions Inc., http://www.speechsolutions.com/
SQZ Inc., http://www.speechstudio.com
Unisys Corp., http://www.unisys.com/
Wizzard Software, http://www.wizzardsoftware.com
Mindmaker Inc., http://www.flexvoice.com
SAPI 5.0 is freely downloadable from the Internet at http://msdn.microsoft.com/ (connect-time charges may apply). Additional information about speech technology is available at http://www.mirosoft.com/speech/ . The SAPI 5.0 kit contains the Microsoft Speech API, reference engines, samples and documentation. It is freely redistributable with any Windows-based application once downloaded from the Web.
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