Thursday, April 30, 2009

Microsoft's Tellme Advances its Voice-in-the-Cloud Platform

Microsoft's Tellme group announced three core speech and network innovations that advance its platform for cloud-based voice services. These advancements include the rollout of a VoIP carrier service that reduces customer transport costs, advanced speech services that improve automation of customer service calls, and a new "voice font" technology that delivers a more natural text-to-speech experience. Because Tellme operates as an on-demand service, the new capabilities are immediately available to enterprises across Tellme's platform.

Customer phone inquiries represents a multimillion-dollar expense for many Fortune 1000 companies, with telecom being one of the largest technology costs. The companies said that by using Global Crossing's VoIP service, enterprises can extend their VoIP strategy to customer service calls and eliminate transfer fees, lowering the average per-minute cost 60 percent per call and reducing transfer fees by 100 percent.

The new speech services, which are a result of collaboration between Tellme and Microsoft's Speech Components Group,
are also expected to advance natural user interfaces across other Microsoft products. The Tellme service lets telephone callers use their voice to run queries and access specific information. The service currently handles billions of calls every year and is used by more than 40 million people every month. Tellme provided Microsoft with tuning data from its billions and billions of calls. This is being used to develop new acoustic models, phonetic dictionaries and grammar products that increase the accuracy of every response. The teams built an "online adaptation" capability in which the system can adapt to a caller's acoustic patterns within the first three seconds of speaking. These new platform features make it possible to get the right answer to the caller more often.

In addition, Tellme is now using these technologies to power its mobile services, including the forthcoming Windows Mobile 6.5 application.

See also