Speech industry launches local group

Speech industry launches local group

A speech industry body has been launched in Australia to promote professional standards and encourage local supply and development for the speech recognition industry in Australia and New Zealand.

The Speech Industry Council (SIC) was launched today, will hold the first meeting in February 2005 and eventually feed Australian innovations and applications into speech technology worldwide.

Representatives from software and hardware vendors nationwide are invited to be part of the SIC.

Peter Chidiac, regional director of ScanSoft, said that ultimately the council would be a think tank and provide innovation for ideas internationally while aiding adoption of speech recognition systems.

"We decided to take the initiative and launch it as an independent industry body to help the market and grow the industry in Australia," Chidiac said.

"We want to provide a forum for customers, vendors and technology integrators to talk about issues relating to the industry, a forum for the setting of standards and a way to keep abreast of local developments - things we think are very important to the industry given the current market opportunity.

"As with any field there are going to be some deployments done well and some not so well, which could be a reflection on how the technology is deployed - we have had a lot of requests for increasing education on speech technologies and examples of best practices."

Currently, contributors and members of the council include Australian companies which have developed, designed or rolled-out speech technology services including the Australian Tax Office, Centrelink, Telstra and Vodafone. Partners of the council include Dimension Data, Holly Australia, InfoTech Australia and VeCommerce.

ScanSoft has combined the announcement of the council with the relocation of its Asia-Pacific headquarters from Singapore to Sydney in an effort to capitalize on the market growth and future potential of speech recognition deployments in Australia.

Initially the headquarters will be the home of the speechworks and productivity division of ScanSoft and will employ 17 fulltime staff.

Bob Anderson, ScanSoft productivity director, said relocating to Australia means ScanSoft will be better able to use local expertise to develop the Asian market for speech recognition, adding that because Australia is a well-established market for ScanSoft, it made Sydney an ideal location.

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