Web Developers Bring Speech Technology to the Mainstream With SALT

REDMOND, Wash., April 1, 2003 —
Momentum and market adoption of the Speech Application Language Tags (SALT) specification continues as Microsoft Corp. today announced the release of two sample applications designed to educate and demonstrate how Web developers can more easily add SALT-based speech technologies into Web applications. Utilizing the capabilities of Microsoft’s SALT-based Speech Software Development Kit (SDK) beta 2, Vertigo Software Inc., a provider of software development and consulting services, has created sample applications targeted at the retail and financial sectors. The Microsoft® SALT-based Speech SDK integrates seamlessly into the Visual Studio®
.NET development environment and provides a faster, easier and more economical way for Web developers to leverage their existing Web development knowledge and skills and incorporate speech functionality into Web applications.

The first speech-enabled sample application, the ASP.NET Commerce Starter Kit, is based on the popular IBuySpy Store sample and demonstrates how an existing Web-based e-commerce store can be speech-enabled. By speech-enabling the ASP.NET Commerce Starter Kit with the Microsoft Speech SDK, users will be able to order an item by product number, browse the store catalog, hear product descriptions and add products to their shopping cart — all by voice. More information on the ASP.NET starter kits can be found at http//:www.asp.net/starterkits/.

The second speech-enabled sample application developed by Vertigo is the Fitch & Mather Stocks (FMStocks) Web application, an online stock brokerage that allows customers to manage a stock portfolio by telephone. Users of FMStocks can obtain quotes on stock prices, buy and sell stock, and review their portfolios.

“By following these sample applications, developers are able to speech-enable their current Web applications based on Visual Studio .NET, having limited to zero experience with speech technology. With the SALT-based Speech SDK integrated in Visual Studio, developers now have an incredible new interface option that can augment existing, traditional systems,”
said Scott Stanfield, CEO of Vertigo Software.

Developers can use the ASP.NET Commerce Starter Kit and FMStocks Web application as best practices for creating a speech-enabled Web application that best accommodates their needs. Developers can download the sample applications on Microsoft’s Web site by visiting http://www.microsoft.com/speech/techinfo/sampleapplications/. The applications also include white papers designed to guide developers in speech-enabling their Web applications.

“These SALT-based sample applications demonstrate how speech can be used to create a more useful and user-friendly environment,”
said Xuedong Huang, general manager of Speech Technologies at Microsoft.
“Providing developers with speech-enabling best practices gives them immediate access to this groundbreaking technology, allowing them to produce speech applications that can help reduce costs, enhance revenues and improve business agility for their businesses, or their customers’ businesses.”

SALT-Based Speech Development Gains Momentum

In addition to Microsoft, companies including HeyAnita Inc., Intel Corp., Intervoice Inc. and SpeechWorks International Inc. are just a few of the vendors committed to promoting the adoption of SALT-based speech technologies. Additional information about how these companies are working together to bring SALT-based speech technology to the mainstream can be found in
“More than a Grain of SALT: Industry Leaders Assess How Specification Is Laying Foundation for Speech Technologies,”
available on Microsoft PressPass at http://www.microsoft.com/presspass/features/2003/Apr03/04-01SALT.asp .

SALT-based speech technologies are gaining popularity and moving into the conventional Web development community. David Glow, a field engineer and trainer with VisionTEK Inc., a provider of interactive mobile data software for law enforcement and other public safety agencies, is developing a speech-enabled Wants and Warrants interface for mobile-based public safety units. Typically, officers verify drivers’ license plates via typed queries input while driving. By integrating Microsoft’s SALT-based Speech SDK into VisionTEK’s software applications, Glow aims to enable officers to speak rather than type a license plate number into the system, creating a much safer environment.

The Microsoft Speech SDK includes a complete tool set for the creation and testing of SALT-based, voice-only telephony applications. It also supports the development of multimodal speech applications on clients such as desktop PCs or Tablet PCs using Internet Explorer browser software. SALT is under development by a consortium of industry leaders, including Microsoft. Applications written with SALT extensions allow the exchange of spoken content and commands via telephones and devices such as PCs, Tablet PCs and cellular phones with graphical user interfaces (GUIs).

About Microsoft

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