Award-Winning Microsoft Speech Server Experiences Accelerated Adoption

SAN FRANCISCO, Feb. 21, 2005 — Microsoft Corp. today highlighted the recent successes of its customers and partners as a demonstration of its ability to bring speech technology to the mainstream and to enhance business value for customers through Microsoft®
Speech Server 2004. Part of the Windows Server System (TM) family of products, Microsoft Speech Server 2004 has been recognized by the industry as a fully enterprise-capable solution, recently winning Frost & Sullivan’s 2005 Enterprise Infrastructure Product of the Year Award. Large enterprise customers have selected Microsoft Speech Server 2004 as their platform of choice to deploy large-scale (more than 1,000 ports), cost-effective speech solutions to their customers. Within the past three months, more than 10,000 enterprise customers have requested and received evaluation versions of Speech Server 2004.

In addition, Microsoft announced that it has certified for use on Speech Server 2004 the applications of several independent software vendors (ISVs), including bridgeSpeak, Datria Systems Inc., Edify Corp., Gold Systems, Intervoice, Metaphor, Pronexus Inc., PulseVoice, Servion, Solar Software and VoiceAutomation. Microsoft has also certified support for voice over Internet protocol (VoIP) connectivity with the Session Initiation Protocol (SIP)-based telephony interface manager (TIM) provided by Vail Systems Inc., which interfaces with a traditional TDM network when combined with VOIP gateway cards from AudioCodes Ltd. This offering will enable customers to smoothly transition to future SIP-based innovations that work seamlessly with current telephony systems in use today.

Finally, Microsoft has an original equipment manufacturer (OEM) relationship with value-added distributors Alliance Systems Ltd. and CYGCOM Integrated Technologies, making Speech Server available to a wider range of resellers, ISVs and enterprise customers.

“Microsoft is committed to delivering speech technologies to mainstream enterprise companies and working with our customers and partners to enhance future versions of Speech Server to meet the increasing demands our customers face each and every day,” said Richard Bray, general manager of the Speech Server product group at Microsoft. “We are pleased to see so many customers reaping the benefits of Microsoft Speech Server, and are excited to see hundreds more customers across a diverse range of vertical markets evaluating the product.”

According to industry analyst firm Gartner Inc., Microsoft has delivered more than 4,000 Speech Server ports to enterprise IT and call center customers in the first six months of product availability, resulting in significant interest and customer adoption across many vertical markets including finance and banking, retail, insurance, travel, government, and transportation. A broad range of application types — including call center, customer self-service, password resetting, field service automation, attendant automation, sales force automation, and outbound notification applications — is being deployed using Microsoft Speech Server across both large and midsize enterprise companies.

Speech Server Partner Ecosystem Flourishes With New Applications, VOIP Connectivity

Members of the Microsoft Speech Server Partner Program also are experiencing profound success in building prepackaged applications based on Speech Server 2004. Today Microsoft announced it has certified applications from multiple ISVs:

  • bridgeSpeak’s Automotive Retail Suite, which offers car retailers a wide range of support, such as Appointment Reminders, Customer Mining, Notifications to customers and an inbound Auto Attendant, for all their telephony interaction

  • Datria’s self-service voice applications, which function as virtual dispatchers to provide a simple, low-cost method to exchange real-time information with mobile field service employees

  • Edify’s Voice Banking application, which offers customers a convenient way to access financial information and enables financial institutions to improve their service centers

  • Gold Systems’ V-dialer, a powerful auto-attendant integrated with a Microsoft SQL Server (TM) database that targets flexible administration scaling from dozens to thousands of users

  • Intervoice’s range of Speech Server-based products including branch location, auto attendant, survey and password reset applications

  • Metaphor Solutions’ Retail Pricing and Inventory application, which provides retailers with highly customizable telephone access to inventory and pricing of their products to the end customers

  • Pronexus’ VeoConnect application, an economical call-routing solution for enterprises that rapidly connects callers with their intended destination, and VeoDesign, which provides a suite of test applications for telephony application developers around Pronexus’ Graphical Call Flow Tools, VBSalt

  • PulseVoice’s Time and Attendance application, which ties into existing human resource packages to offer telephony access to employees capturing time and attendance, illness, and other benefits

  • Servion’s Call Back Manager, which provides customers with the option to either remain on hold or receive a call back at a time they select, reducing abandoned call rates as well as caller frustration and costs associated with long hold times

  • Solar Software’s VocalHelpDesk, a comprehensive solution building on Active Directory®
    and the Windows Management Interfaces, which allows administrators to control via the telephone common Windows administration tasks as well as users to reset their passwords via the telephone

  • VoiceAutomation for Microsoft CRM, which extends access to Microsoft CRM to the telephone, offering people without computer access to consult and update the information available in the databases

Aculab, a leading provider of computer telephony hardware and software for the communications market, has today announced the beta release of its TIM for Microsoft Speech Server 2004 for the Aculab media processing resource card, Prosody. The availability of the Aculab TIM will add worldwide telephony support for its rich call control capabilities to Microsoft Speech Server 2004.

Microsoft Speech Partner Program members represent a broad spectrum of value-added products and services designed for implementing speech solutions, including prepackaged and custom applications, voice user interface design, telephony hardware and services, Web and speech development skills, and deployment and integration services. With these diverse offerings, Microsoft Speech Partners can work with enterprise customers to rapidly develop and deploy high-quality, speech-enabled Web applications on Speech Server.

About Speech Server 2004

Microsoft Speech Server 2004 is an integrated, flexible and cost-effective speech platform available for large-scale enterprises as well as midsize retail organizations interested in reaping the significant business value of speech technology. Microsoft Speech Server 2004 is available in Standard and Enterprise editions, enabling partners and customers to flexibly build and deploy applications that meet their business needs.

About Windows Server System

Microsoft Windows Server System is integrated server software providing the infrastructure for IT operations, application development, integration and information work. Built on the Windows Server (TM) operating system and designed with Common Engineering Criteria, Windows Server System is focused on making it easier for IT professionals to connect and manage their IT environments. Because Windows Server System products are integrated for enhanced manageability and security, they help organizations reduce complexity and lower costs. All Windows Server System products support open industry standards including those based on XML to promote interoperability with other platforms. More information on Windows Server System can be found online at .

About Microsoft

Founded in 1975, Microsoft (Nasdaq “MSFT”) is the worldwide leader in software, services and solutions that help people and businesses realize their full potential.

Microsoft, Windows Server System, Active Directory and Windows Server are either registered trademarks or trademarks of Microsoft Corp. in the United States and/or other countries.

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