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Dragon Naturally Speaking Reviews - 2004


ScanSoft Launches Industry-Wide Open Speech Initiative

Industry-Supported Initiative Designed for Speech Application and Tools Interoperability; Gives Customers Greater Access to Leading-Edge Applications, Tools and Components

Peabody, Mass. - November 10, 2004 - ScanSoft, Inc., the global leader of speech and imaging solutions, today launched an industry-backed initiative to enable interoperability among speech applications and tools, leveraging existing industry standards such as VoiceXML and CCXML. The first contribution to this effort is xHMI (Extensible Human Machine Interface), an XML-based dialog configuration language for advanced speech applications. The initiative is supported by a broad range of platform, tools and applications vendors, as well as integrators, including Apptera, Audium, Convergys Corporation, Dimension Data, Edify, Envox Worldwide, Fluency, Gold Systems, Holly Australia, iTa, Interactive Northwest, Primas, SOFTEL Communications Inc., TuVox, Unisys, Unveil Technologies Inc., Vicorp, Viecore, VoiceGenie, Voxify, and West Corporation.

As the speech industry has expanded, the availability of tools, applications and application components from multiple vendors has provided choice and flexibility for customers. Until now, products from different suppliers were incompatible, limiting customers' ability to mix and match best of breed applications, tools and components for their specific needs. xHMI addresses the need for a common approach to control the behavior of dialog nodes in a speech application. By describing an application in a common, open format, xHMI decouples applications from the tool environments used to build them, enabling customers to independently select their choice of leading tools and runtime environments to develop, configure, extend, run and manage these applications.

"xHMI is a much needed software layer that supports more efficient application development and deployment involving a multiplicity of IT staff members, third-party integrators and application developers," said Dan Miller, senior analyst at Opus Research, a San Francisco-based consultancy. "The name of the game is to leverage existing assets, personnel and development tools. xHMI does so while promoting self-sufficiency, application portability and cost control."

An xHMI-based dialog framework makes it easier to design, develop, and deploy speech-based call center applications using existing standards such as VoiceXML. Benefits include:

Tool and application interoperability.

A strong degree of application modularization, which drives high component reusability, optimal development task division and staff allocation and application maintainability and flexibility for future-proofing.

Compatibility with a broad range of development models ranging from configuration to full customization and extension.

A dialog-based approach to application development which permits the cost-effective development of sophisticated applications with higher levels of naturalness, personalization, and problem coverage for callers.
The xHMI initiative is driven by ScanSoft's and its partners' extensive experience building VoiceXML speech applications based on reusable components, and a number of different development frameworks and environments. In the future, the xHMI specification will be submitted to the appropriate standards body. xHMI-based components and applications are available from ScanSoft to select customers and partners now and will be generally available in December 2004.

"ScanSoft is committed to the development and adoption of open standards, and to the development of technologies and specifications that make speech applications more pervasive and easy to deploy," said Steve Chambers, president of SpeechWorks, a division of ScanSoft. "With the contribution of xHMI, we are accelerating the development and adoption of speech applications by providing a logical, open framework, anchored by support from many of the world's leading vendors and technology providers."

For more information about this initiative, please visit: www.scansoft.com/xhmi

About the SpeechWorks Division of ScanSoft

Speech applications for the real world. Through a global partner network, the company delivers field-proven solutions that use the human voice to interact with information systems and devices. Today, thousands of companies and millions of users around the world depend on SpeechWorks® solutions from ScanSoft to deliver vital business information and simplify every day life.

About ScanSoft, Inc.

ScanSoft, Inc. (Nasdaq: SSFT) is the global leader of speech and imaging solutions that are used to automate a wide range of manual processes - saving time, increasing worker productivity and improving customer service. For more information regarding ScanSoft® products and technologies, please visit www.ScanSoft.com.

ScanSoft, the ScanSoft logo, and SpeechWorks are trademarks or registered trademarks of ScanSoft, Inc. or its subsidiaries in the United States and other countries. All other company names or products names may be the trademarks of their respective owners.

ScanSoft Launches Industry-Wide Open Speech Initiative Supporting Partners

"xHMI is an important open standards initiative that will ease the development and deployment of speech applications," said Steve Ehrlich, vice president of marketing for Apptera. "Apptera is pleased to support a charter that enables stronger application interoperability which will ultimately accelerate the adoption of speech worldwide."

"ScanSoft continues to play an industry-leading role in promoting standards that will help drive adoption of speech applications," said Michael Bergelson, president & CEO of Audium. "In partnership with ScanSoft, Audium is committed to embracing xHMI alongside other industry-accepted standards in our software to offer customers choice and compatibility as they create and deliver advanced speech applications in the call center and beyond."

"ScanSoft is demonstrating a broad commitment to open standards and bringing forth a significant initiative that will ease the development and deployment of speech applications, particularly in call center environments," said Ted Cwiok, General Manager of Speech Solutions at Convergys Corporation. "As a standards-based hosting provider, we are pleased to support this specification and to help accelerate its adoption throughout the industry."

"We are pleased to support xHMI, as it signifies an important step in the proliferation of open standards throughout the industry," said Mr. Robert Allman, national business manager of customer interactive solutions, Dimension Data Australia. "We look forward to working with ScanSoft to expand the use of this initiative."

"ScanSoft is demonstrating a broad commitment to advancing open standards that accelerate the adoption of speech applications in the marketplace. Edify is pleased to support any initiative that advances the cause of open standards which are strategically important for the expanded growth of the speech industry", stated Marie Jackson, vice president of Marketing and Alliances, Edify. "Our support of open standards has been demonstrated by implementing VXML in our recent product offerings as well as ScanSoft's OSR 3.0 offering."

"Envox 6, our open, standards-based communications development platform, was chosen by Logica CMG for their first xHMI-based deployment," said Mark D. Flanagan, president and COO of Envox Worldwide. "Their decision reinforces our view that by coupling Envox 6's rapid development capabilities with xHMI support, our customers will be able to create, deploy and maintain speech solutions with unmatched ease."

"Standard development models are important to the successful delivery and adoption of speech applications within the mainstream enterprise environment," said Dr. David Abensour, chief technology officer, Fluency. "Fluency therefore supports ScanSoft's xHMI initiative, which we believe will help fuel the growth of the speech applications market."

"The future of speech application development is in quality packaged applications. Open standard development technologies, like xHMI, broaden the potential market, making packaged applications more feasible and higher quality," said Herb Morreale, chief technology officer, Gold Systems. "In today's diverse call center environment, interoperability of tools and applications is critical. This is VoiceXML's promise and xHMI represents a big step toward that end."

"Holly Australia is pleased to support the xHMI initiative to accelerate the development and interoperation of VoiceXML applications. By harmonizing the wide range of VoiceXML tools, applications and application components, xHMI will bring cost, speed and functionality benefits to the deployment of speech solutions," said David Shein, Chief Executive Officer, Holly Australia. "The Holly VoiceXML platform, built to support foundation speech and telephony standards, is ideally suited to deploying the next generation of speech applications."

"We are pleased to support the xHMI specification, as we share ScanSoft's vision and commitment to open standards," said Simon Uren, CEO Information Technologies Australia Pty. Ltd. ("iTa"). "We see this as a significant initiative that will help to ease the deployment of speech applications, and to grow the industry at large."

"We are pleased to support the xHMI initiative, as we share a common vision for the support of open standards that will accelerate the adoption of speech within a variety of environments, said Chuck Van Meter, president, Interactive Northwest. "ScanSoft is taking a logical step in the transition towards open standards throughout the industry."

"I had my technical team, under Peter Deveaux, review the information for everyone's reaction. As you would expect, xHMI had overwhelming support from the ones that know best in the trenches. Personally I see the xHMI specification as the next logical step in the open standard transition. VXML changed the way a 20 year old industry worked. xHMI has the ability to change the way we work. Primas applauds ScanSoft for taking the initiative and fully support initiatives that benefit our industry," said Mike Mastro, president, Primas."

"We see the xHMI initiative as a significant initiative that will help to grow the industry, and ease the development and deployment of speech applications," said John Cognata, President of SOFTEL Communications Inc. "We share ScanSoft's commitment to open standards, and we are pleased to support this specification."

"As a pioneer developer of VoiceXML-based solutions, VoiceGenie is committed to providing support for open speech technologies," said Frank Tersigni, VP, Channels and Business Development with VoiceGenie Technologies. "We are pleased that the xHMI initiative from ScanSoft supports open-standards such as VoiceXML and is suitable for interoperability with VoiceGenie's NeXusPoint speech platform."

"ScanSoft is demonstrating a broad commitment to open standards that will accelerate the market penetration of speech applications," said Larry Miller, CEO of TuVox. "We are pleased to support this specification through integration of TuVox CVR with xHMI. This combined solution enables customers to rapidly deploy sophisticated speech applications that can be easily customized to enterprises' existing and future business processes. TuVox and ScanSoft are already implementing this solution at a joint healthcare customer."

"ScanSoft is demonstrating a broad commitment to open standards, and bringing forth a significant initiative that will ease the development and deployment of speech applications," said Jennifer Johnston, vice president, Marketing, Unisys Global Communications and Media Industries. "We are pleased to support this effort because it will result in reduced time to market and lower costs for our clients' dialog application deployments."

"Unveil is a strong supporter of ScanSoft's xHMI initiative, which enables our customers to integrate sophisticated voice capabilities like open grammar conversational interaction, live agent integration and adaptive learning to new and existing speech deployments," said Peter Durlach, President of Unveil Technologies, Inc. "We expect this initiative to further lower the barriers to speech adoption by simplifying application development, improving the caller experience and reducing costs."

"Vicorp strongly advocates the establishment of open standards for application creation. We see the ScanSoft xHMI initiative as an important step towards this goal, said Dr. Paul Mellor, Chief Technical Officer, Vicorp. "Customers will be able to leverage this technology to further stimulate industry growth and success."

"We support the xHMI initiative and believe it is an important step in the advancement of open standards throughout the industry," said Tom Chisholm, CEO and President, Viecore Inc. "We look forward to working with ScanSoft to expand the use of open standards and drive the industry towards incremental growth."

"Voxify has been on the forefront of leveraging open standards to make speech more accessible to all call centers with diverse technical environments. We are pleased to support ScanSoft's latest initiative, as it complements Voxify's approach," said Amit Desai, vice president of products, Voxify.

"xHMI enables the industry to leverage existing assets and development tools to bring greater interoperability to speech applications," said Todd Strubbe, President of West Interactive and West Direct, Inc. "We are pleased to support the initiative and continue to believe that open standards are integral to the continued growth of the speech industry at large."

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