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Spoken Emails, Soon, For Telecom Customers

FIRST TEXT MESSAGES, AND SOON SPOKEN EMAILS, FOR TELECOM CUSTOMERS

Telecom customers will soon be able to listen to their emails and hear Internet information on their phones while on the move, as the mobile and the Internet continues to converge.

Telecom and Voicenet (Aust) Ltd have successfully completed the first testing phase of their Mobile Voice Portal Project.

“Voice Portals are an exciting addition to the rapid convergence of the mobile phone and the Internet,” said Mohan Jesudason, Telecom New Zealand’ s General Manager, Mobile.

The Voicenet Voice Portal is a fully automated system – it uses speech recognition technology to understand what the caller is requesting and text-to-speech technology to speak to the caller.

“Rather than typing a command on a keyboard into a normal Internet portal, the customer accesses information by calling a voice portal and then talks to it to retrieve the required information.

“The Voice Portal then takes the spoken word and converts it to a text instruction. In this way it replaces a keyboard and is perfect for mobile customers on the move.

“This is technology normally in the realm of popular science fiction, but with this trial, sci-fi is fast becoming reality,” Mr Jesudason said.

The trial was conducted internally and Telecom intends to develop the scope of the next trial to include current customers.

The first stage of the trial tested the functionality of the first Voice Portal application - email. These tests included retrieving email from an Internet service provider, reading complex email text, and using email management commands. The Voice Portal Voice User Interface is being further refined, with new applications developed in time for the next testing phase scheduled for early November.

The commercial release is planned prior to Christmas.

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