Speech, the Experience Game-Changer

NEW YORK — Aug. 3, 2010 — The growth of connected devices, from automobiles to your mobile phone, coupled with the increase in data consumption is signaling the beginning of a broad shift in technology toward an era of more integrated, natural experiences driven by speech, touch and gesture.

Zig Serafin, General Manager, Speech at Microsoft

Today at the 2010 SpeechTEK Conference in New York, Zig Serafin, general manager of the Speech Group at Microsoft, delivered a keynote address describing Microsoft’s vision for speech and natural user interfaces (NUIs). Serafin demonstrated the latest in speech recognition technology that has been designed into upcoming Microsoft products. These products promise to deliver more elegant and accessible interfaces, allowing users to utilize their voices and, in some cases, their bodies to perform actions and access information.

During his address, Serafin demonstrated three speech innovations:

  • Kia UVO. Microsoft is creating more natural and safer automotive experiences using the Windows Embedded Automotive software platform and Microsoft Tellme Speech technologies. Starting later this year, Kia will begin offering the Kia UVO multimedia and infotainment system in its all-new Sportage, Sorento and Optima. The UVO system is the first in-vehicle solution to integrate full Microsoft speech engine technology, allowing users to easily access media content and connect with people through simple, quick voice commands without having to navigate through hierarchical menus.

  • Windows Phone 7. Microsoft is raising the bar for mobile device interactions with the development of Windows Phone 7. Speech has been seamlessly integrated into the phone experience, for functions such as search, navigation and dialing.

  • Kinect for Xbox 360. Microsoft is unlocking new communication and entertainment experiences with Kinect for Xbox 360. The Kinect system allows users to navigate the Xbox 360 experience and participate in new gaming challenges by using NUIs such as gestures and speech.

“Microsoft is creating rich, immersive and seamless experiences across devices, delivered from the cloud. Speech will become the tool we use to unlock the power of devices as their connectivity and capabilities accelerate,” Serafin told SpeechTEK attendees.

As NUIs become more advanced and integrated into today’s technology, customers will expect to be able to interact more naturally, whether in front of the TV, in the car, on the go with their mobile device, or when interacting with businesses through customer-care applications, Serafin explained.

Just as important as the NUI is the fundamental shift in the architecture of speech, a shift that is accelerating the rate of learning and innovation. Microsoft Tellme has embraced a cloud-based architecture for speech. This architecture takes the billions of speech interactions running on the Microsoft Tellme speech cloud and uses them to improve the underlying recognition engine and improve the understanding of a user’s intent. For example, in the upcoming release of Windows Phone 7, users of the Bing voice search technology will be able to ask, “Who is pitching for the Giants tonight?” and get a listing of starting pitchers as well as ticket and weather information for the game. This represents a more natural experience for the user.

Microsoft continues to make significant investments in NUI, and in the next 12 months will be delivering products and technologies that will fundamentally change, for the better, how users will expect to interact with their TVs, mobile devices, and cars.

For more information on Microsoft’s speech innovations, please visit the Microsoft Tellme pressroom. You can also read more about Microsoft Tellme’s recent partner win with Avis Budget Group.

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