Mary Jo Foley has a good post up about some of the things announced – sort of – by Zig Serafin, General Manager of the Speech at Microsoft group, at the SpeechTEK conference held in New York City.
While everyone is concentrating their efforts around things like multi-touch as the next generation user interface Microsoft is continuing its work with speech as a part of the natural user interface (NUI). Speech actually has always been a part of what Microsoft sees as the future of computing and since 1999 when it made its first speech related acquisition until the upcoming release of Windows Phone 7 improvements have been slow but steady.
So it was interesting to see in Mary Jo’s post a roadmap of sorts when it comes to speech technologies
Auto entertainment systems, like the Kia UVO announced at the Consumer Electronics Show at the start of this year. The first cars with UVO are due out this summer.
Windows Phone 7 devices, which have TellMe’s speech technology is embedded right into the device shell. The phones will allow users to control dialing and search using voice, and integrated text-to-speech means the phones also will be able to “talk back” to users. (This is an example of what Microsoft execs mean when they talk about an “Internet of things” that connects up to the cloud)
Kinect sensors for Xbox incorporate voice-recognition capabilities, allowing users to pause, play, advance and stop games, TV shows and movies via voice commands
Corporate productivity products. There are more than 100 million Exchange users today who can make use of voice mail preview, voice translation and other voice-powered technologies that are built into the product (and will be built into Exchange Online, as Microsoft makes those features available to cloud users). Meanwhile, Microsoft’s TellMe product currently is handling 2.5 billion calls a year, making use of TellMe’s cloud back-end. (Interestingly, Serafin didn’t mention Office Communications Server 14, which Microsoft is touting as its entry into the “enterprise voice” market.)