Irving, Texas -- Calling your mother may never be the same, thanks to a new service from GTE. The company this month launches its largest market trial of the year with the introduction of GTE VoiceCall, a voice-activated dialing service, to be tested among 120,000 potential customers in the Tampa and Largo, Fla., areas. The six-month trial will continue through January.
"VoiceCall enables GTE's residential and small business customers to place a phone call by simply speaking the name or place they wish to call into the phone," said Carl "Skip" Huster, director-AIN Program Management. "This flexible and versatile service works from any standard touch-tone phone and does not require the purchase of additional equipment."
VoiceCall makes life easier for customers with busy lifestyles by offering quick, hands-free access to frequently called numbers. User-friendly voice prompts make storing and updating dialing instructions a snap. This feature is especially attractive for people who don't want to hassle with remembering phone numbers or speed dial codes.
"By embracing voice recognition technology, GTE is introducing a service that will benefit customers who desire speed, convenience and reliability from their telephone service," said Huster. "VoiceCall is part of GTE's pledge to be the easiest company to do business with in the industry by providing telecommunications solutions that translate technology into real-life benefits."
Here's how the service works: Customers store the names and numbers of up to 30 friends, family members and business associates to the VoiceCall system. A customer who frequently calls his mother at work for instance, can state the phrase, "mom at work," in his GTE VoiceCall directory. When he wants to place the call, he would simply speak the phrase, "call mom at work" into the phone, and the network connects the call. Customers are able to skip the Voice Calling feature at any time and manually dial the number. A computer software program developed by Texas Instruments recognizes and matches the name to a stored speech pattern programmed by the customers.
"Voice is the easiest, most natural way to control the telephone. With Texas Instruments' voice recognition technology, GTE's residential and small business customers will have a new level of convenience in placing phone calls," said Chris Brickler, project manager for GTE's Advanced Intelligent Network.
The easy, virtually hands-free service is especially useful for
customers with visual or physical limitations, said Brickler.
"VoiceCall can be especially convenient for senior citizens who have problems with dialing a phone, restricted mobility or poor sight," said Brickler.
"VoiceCall is a natural first step in providing a wide variety of voice recognition services," said Rich Birckbichler, general manager of Sales and Marketing for Texas Instruments Telecom Systems. "By combining their technologies, Texas Instruments and GTE are furthering their commitment to provide advanced voice services." GTE VoiceCall will be offered at $4.75 per month for residential customers and $5.25 per month for small businesses. During the six-month trial period, all service-connection charges will be waived. There is also a 30-day money back guarantee. Based on the success of the trial, GTE plans to roll out VoiceCall to other parts of the country beginning in 1996.
GTE Telephone Operations is the largest, U.S.-based local telephone company, providing voice, video and data products and services through more than 23 million access lines in portions of the United States, Canada, South America, the Caribbean and the Pacific. Its parent organization, GTE Corporation, is the fourth-largest publicly owned telecommunications company in the world.
Texas Instruments Telecom Systems, headquartered in Austin, Texas, is an established provider of network-based voice recognition systems for telecommunications. TI products and services are the result of more than 25 years of experience in speech research and development. From semiconductors to systems, Texas Instruments has extensive speech capabilities, with a world-class speech lab, expertise in software development and hardware design, and market leadership in digital signal processors (DSPs) -- the semiconductors that translate speech commands into instructions for a telephone network. TI Voice Services are aimed at every segment of the telecommunications industry worldwide: long distance carriers, Regional Bell Operating Companies (RBOCs), independent telecommunications companies and cellular carriers.
VoiceCall Technology Background
The enabling technology behind GTE VoiceCall is provided by Texas Instruments (TI).
TI's patented voice dialing technology combines two types of voice recognition in a network-based system. Speaker-dependent continuous recognition allows the use of spoken phrases ("Dr. Jones," "my office") that make up an individual user's unique vocabulary. Speaker-independent continuous recognition enables a system to recognize specific spoken phrases such as "directory" and "call."
With TI's continuous speech recognition, users can speak naturally, without artificial pauses between words.
TI Voice Service applications run on the Texas Instruments MultiServe Platform which includes an industry-standard, UNIX-based computer that integrates TI digital signal processors. The System performs advanced processing tasks and has a modular, expandable architecture that allows the easy addition of new services to support emerging technologies.
The MultiServe Platform is designed as an Intelligent Peripheral (IP) in the Advanced Intelligent Network (AIN). The MultiServe Platform can evolve with AIN standards as telephone service needs grow and standards are defined.
TI products and services are the result of more than 25 years of experience in speech research and development.
TI has extensive speech capabilities, with a world-class speech lab, expertise in software development and hardware design, and market leadership in digital signal processors.