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New Life For Speech Recognition

Speech-recognition vendors are trying to make the technologymore attractive to IT managers. Nuance Communications thisweek will introduce software to make it easier and cheaperto build speech-enabled enterprise applications, and DragonSystems Inc. will roll out an enterprise edition of itsdesktop software.

Nuance is releasing Foundation SpeechObjects, blocks ofopen-software code that developers can use to build speechapplications quickly. The objects include the typical itemsa computer may need to recognize in a speech application,such as dates, times, telephone numbers, yes/no, and digitstrings. Nuance says using SpeechObjects can shave 75% offdevelopment time. The first version of SpeechObjects will bepackaged as JavaBeans; the product will be available laterthis year as ActiveX Controls. SpeechObjects is availablefor download for members of a new Nuance developer network.Membership in the network, which includes online discussionsand other resources, is priced at $495 a year, compared withthe $5,000 Nuance was charging for its independent softwaredeveloper toolkit.

Dragon Systems NaturallySpeaking Enterprise Edition, whichis installed on servers, lets mobile workers use speechrecognition at any PC attached to a company's network. Inthe past, users had to set up a profile and train thesoftware at every PC they used.

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