Microsoft Launches Microsoft Speech Server 2004 R2 With Expanded Language Support and New Deployment Options

REDMOND, Wash. — May 23, 2005 — Microsoft Corp. today announced the release of Microsoft® Speech Server (MSS) 2004 R2. As part of the company’s continued commitment to driving speech technology into the mainstream, this new version of Microsoft Speech Server lowers costs, delivers greater flexibility, and provides enhanced performance and reliability for enterprise customers. With MSS 2004 R2, enterprise customers can offer language support for U.S. Spanish and Canadian French at no additional cost. Customers can also deploy MSS 2004 R2 in an all-in-one server configuration, which gives them greater flexibility when choosing a deployment option.

“Microsoft Speech Server 2004 R2 is the next step in delivering our promise to reduce the cost and complexity of building and deploying enterprise speech solutions for our customers,” said Rich Bray, general manager of the Speech Server group at Microsoft. “With MSS 2004 R2 we are better meeting our customer needs by providing additional language support and new deployment options that make it easier and more affordable for companies of all sizes to benefit from speech technologies.”

The new language support will address the needs of enterprises that serve Canadian and U.S. multilingual callers by enabling the enterprises to deploy speech-enabled applications designed for Canadian French, U.S. Spanish or U.S. English speakers. New automated speech recognition (ASR) and text-to-speech (TTS) engines are provided in MSS 2004 R2 at no additional cost to Microsoft Speech Server customers. Examples of customers deploying MSS 2004 R2 include Grange Insurance Group, Landstar System Inc., TALX Corp. and Woodforest National Bank.

“The MSS 2004 R2 release from Microsoft allows Grange Insurance Group to offer a bilingual, self-service speech channel to our Spanish speaking policyholders with minimal modifications to our current application,” said Ryan Thorsness, Business Systems Specialist, Grange Insurance Group.

“As we expand our deployment of Microsoft Speech Server to support our Welfare to Work and Work Opportunity Tax Credit services, the added support for U.S. Spanish will allow TALX to serve an even broader set of users with greater service levels and more efficient delivery,” said Bryan Garcia, chief technologist, TALX. “Microsoft Speech Server is an economical way for TALX to deliver customer service in a timely and efficient manner.”

The new MSS 2004 R2 Enterprise Edition all-in-one server deployment option can significantly lower an enterprise’s speech platform purchase costs, especially for small to medium-sized speech deployments servicing between 24 and 48 ports, and touch-tone solutions supporting up to 96 ports. In addition, MSS 2004 R2 Enterprise Edition continues support of distributed multiserver deployments, which are recommended for implementations requiring more than 48 ports.

“When all the applications are up and running, we anticipate a 60 percent reduction in internal transfers with a Microsoft Speech Server 2004 R2-based solution,” said Larry Thomas, chief information officer at Landstar. “That means a huge number of our 20,000 callers each month get what they want faster.”

“With Microsoft Speech Server R2, ComputerTalk is able to deploy speech-enabled solutions for single-server deployments, which translates to cost-effective, scalable deployments,” said Greg Blackett, director of marketing at ComputerTalk. “With MSS 2004 R2, ComputerTalk was able to leverage its leading speech design and development skills to deliver a complete application to handle speech-enabled payments for a major U.S city.”

“Intervoice continues to design, develop, implement and support Microsoft speech solutions driven by the new Microsoft Speech Server 2004 R2 through continued investments in media and telephony control through our Microsoft-certified Telephony Interface Manager (TIM) software,” said Michael Segura, director of Microsoft products and strategy at Intervoice Inc.

Part of the Windows Server System (TM) , MSS is a Web-based, speech-enabled Interactive Voice Response (IVR) and multimodal application solutions platform. As a Speech Application Language Tags (SALT)-based platform, Speech Server follows the Web application deployment model, using an ASP.NET-based Web server as the application server. The two main core components included with Microsoft Speech Server are the Telephony Application Services and Speech Engine Services, including ASR, TTS and prompt manager. MSS 2004 R2 also can be deployed in an all-in-one server configuration, giving customers greater flexibility when choosing their deployment option. In addition, customers can benefit from expanded telephony boards coverage and voice over Internet protocol (VoIP) support for MSS 2004 R2 from industry partners including Aculab, Brooktrout Inc., Eicon Networks and Vail Systems Inc.

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.

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