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Quantum Leap for Speech Recognition


Nuance Unveils Nuance Recognizer v9,
A Quantum Leap for Speech Recognition


New Release Delivers Unprecedented Performance, Manageability and Security;
Transforms Caller Experience for Customer Care and Voice Search


AUCKLAND, New Zealand, 26 April, 2007 – Nuance Communications, Inc. (Nasdaq: NUAN), a leading provider of speech solutions, has unveiled Nuance Recognizer v9, a new speech recognition engine that dramatically increases the performance and quality of speech-based customer care and voice search solutions. This development project, code named Quantum, culminates years of intense technology development and innovation in speech and combines the core values of six speech recognition technologies encompassing more than 400 person-years of research and development.

Nuance Recognizer v9 delivers breakthrough recognition accuracy, enabling a more natural, flexible user interface that gives users increasingly unique and personalised experiences in an automated environment. With improved acoustic models and the industry’s most advanced natural language support, Nuance Recognizer v9 excels in handling a broad range of caller demographics in challenging applications with extremely large vocabularies, such as telephony customer self-service, directory services and mobile search.

“Nuance Recognizer v9 signals a new era of performance for speech solutions,” said Peter Chidiac, Regional Director - Asia Pacific and Japan, Speech Solutions, Nuance Communications. “Nuance Recognizer v9 delivers the core technology and innovation breakthroughs that will enable improved caller experiences beyond anything the market has seen. We took the industry’s leading speech recognition products and merged them to produce an even better successor. Based on benchmarks and testing against other solutions, we have exceeded our highest expectations.”

By combining the best elements of the leading speech recognition engines brought together by Nuance over the past five years – along with entirely new technologies developed in Nuance research labs – Nuance Recognizer v9 delivers unprecedented accuracy, with an average 27 percent error reduction rate across multiple tasks and languages over its predecessors. Fewer recognition errors lead to higher call completion rates and greater caller satisfaction. In addition, superior speech detection techniques employed by Nuance Recognizer v9 offer a 45 percent improvement over previous versions, helping to ensure speech applications perform well for mobile callers in noisy environments, an increasingly common scenario.

Nuance Recognizer v9 is designed to understand what users mean, not just what they say. The solution showcases major advances in semantic and language modelling to improve the ability to interpret a caller’s open-ended response, as well as the enhanced capability of extracting multiple pieces of relevant information from that response. For example, if a caller states, “I’m moving to Auckland and need a new number for my mobile phone,” the system can decipher several pieces of information from the caller’s single statement (i.e., that the caller is moving, where the caller is moving and which account needs a new number). This capability reduces the number of follow-up questions needed to complete a transaction. Since up to 20 percent of retries and confirmations are from callers providing too much information at once, these advanced natural language capabilities deliver significant performance improvements, including increased automation rates and decreased call length.

“Nuance is responding to a marketplace that is becoming increasingly sophisticated,” said Judith Markowitz, president of Judith Markowitz Consultants, and a recognised thought leader in the speech recognition industry. “Certainly, error reduction is welcome, as always, but the most significant improvements are those that move Nuance Recognizer beyond pure speech recognition and into the realm of spoken language understanding. This includes semantic language modelling and other enhancements related to the handling of unconstrained speech. These are the kinds of things that the marketplace is demanding, and these are the kinds of capabilities that are part of Nuance Recognizer v9.”

Significant new features and technological advances of Nuance Recognizer v9 include the following:

• Unprecedented Accuracy and Performance – Nuance Recognizer v9 delivers an average 27 percent error reduction across multiple tasks and language, and an average 45 percent improvement in detecting speech in noisy environments, particularly important for mobile callers.

• Natural Language Understanding – Speech applications that incorporate open-ended questions are becoming mainstream, particularly for call steering, where a prompt such as “What can I help you with today?” is used to route calls intuitively among self-service systems or skilled live agents. Nuance Recognizer v9 offers unique language understanding capabilities to make building such applications easier, even when processing lengthy responses to identify multiple meaningful phrases. Capturing more information from fewer responses streamlines the dialogue and supports a sophisticated user interface.

• Intelligent, Flexible Conversations – Nuance Recognizer v9 promotes more natural interactions with callers through features such as one-step correction, implicit confirmations, mixed initiative, robust parsing, selective barge-in, and information-based dialogues.

• Manageability and Security –The Nuance Recognizer v9 architecture provides a graphical management station element that allows system administrators to configure and monitor large collections of speech servers efficiently, ensuring high service availability. Speech servers can be accessed using secure network protocols to safeguard information during transmission, and speech applications now can be isolated from one another with their sensitive questions identified to prevent private caller responses from being accessed by operations staff.

• Efficiency and Scalability – Nuance Recognizer v9 is the most efficient engine Nuance has ever produced. While accuracy improvements are usually accompanied by increases in CPU demand, Nuance Recognizer v9 requires 20 percent less CPU on average than its predecessors. This improved density makes systems more cost effective and easier to maintain.

Nuance Recognizer v9 is available today through Nuance’s worldwide network of partners and is designed to be a truly global offering that can support 44 languages and dialects. For more product details, please visit www.nuance.com/recognizer .

About Nuance Communications, Inc.

Nuance is a leading provider of speech and imaging solutions for businesses and consumers around the world. Its technologies, applications and services make the user experience more compelling by transforming the way people interact with information and how they create, share and use documents. Every day, millions of users and thousands of businesses experience Nuance's proven applications. For more information, please visit http://australia.nuance.com/

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