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Calif. ISP Develops Web Speech Recognition Technology
Steve Gold, Newsbytes

Newsbytes News Network
(c) Copyright 1999 Post-Newsweek Business Information, Inc. All rights reserved.

SAN JOSE, CALIFORNIA, U.S.A., 1999 NOV 2 (NB)., which describes itself an audio Internet service provider (ISP), has developed a technology that allows people to surf the Web using a regular phone.

Known as NetEcho, the technology is based around speech recognition rather than touchtone keypads, as has previously been the case with "audiotext" Web surfing.

Dr. Emdad Khan, the ISP's president, said that the technology allows users to check their e-mail, hear information on any Web site and search or perform e-commerce transactions - all through any phone.

Speech recognition technology, he said, lets users give simple voice commands like "Yahoo," or "e-mail" to get the Net-based information they want, when they want it, without a computer. A computerized voice then reads the information aloud over the phone.

Khan said that the system is ideal for people without a computer, or who are away from a computer, mobile workers or the visually impaired, to use the Internet anytime, anywhere.

"They can e-mail, surf, search, or conduct e-commerce, anytime, anywhere, whether they're out on an appointment, stuck in traffic, sitting in an airport, or cooking dinner," he said.

InternetSpeech .com says that NetEcho uses technology that integrates text-to-speech, speech recognition, telephone interface, multi-media and intelligent agents.

Khan said that, the company's technology presents the Web to users in an audio format, rather than the visual forms everyone else offers. This means users can get the information they want, even when they do not have a computer.

"Subscribers dial a toll-free number to reach the NetEcho server, and are asked to say a password and logon ID. From there, they'll use simple voice commands to check for new e-mail messages, surf, search or trade on the Web," he said.

A key feature of the NetEcho technology, Khan said, is that it will read the important content of a Web page, but not the distracting and annoying ads or images that vie for attention.

"When you hear an item which you want more information about, you select it by voice and you'll be taken to the newly selected destination," he said.

Plans call for the NetEcho service to be available nationally in the first quarter of 2000 for a flat monthly fee.'s Web site is at . Reported by, .

07:03 CST

Contact: Press Contact: Lou Saviano, Maita/Saviano PR 510-739-0621 /WIRES ONLINE, TELECOM, BUSINESS/

Copyright 1999 Dow Jones & Company, Inc. All Rights Reserved.

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