MOUNTAIN VIEW, Calif., Jan. 8 /PRNewswire/ -- In its first automotive engagement, Tellme(R), a Microsoft subsidiary, is providing voice technology for Ford Motor Company's new SYNC(TM) Traffic, Directions and Information service, unveiled this week at the 2009 International Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas.
Traffic, Directions and Information is an interactive voice-powered service that expands Ford's SYNC voice-command capabilities. Simply by speaking, motorists can access online services while keeping their eyes on the road and hands on the wheel, including personalized driving directions, traffic reports and information such as business listings, news, weather and sports.
"Tellme's leadership in voice technology made them our choice to provide the front end of Ford's Traffic, Directions and Information service," said Doug VanDagens, director of Connected Services at Ford Motor Company.
According to the Consumer Electronics Association, the average American spends 16.5 hours a week in a vehicle(1). Motorists find it increasingly unacceptable to be cut off from on-demand communication, information and entertainment services while on the go.
However, existing interfaces for computers, mobile phones and navigation devices are often not appropriate in the vehicle. Among car buyers, 80 percent say the availability of connected voice services would be a key deciding factor in which car to purchase, according to Tellme research.
"Voice is the natural interface for in-car experiences, and Tellme is uniquely positioned to deliver services that keep motorists informed, productive and entertained on the road," said Dariusz Paczuski, senior director of Tellme Consumer Services. "Our connected services are transformative because they deliver real-time information on demand -- no more waiting for a traffic report on the radio that doesn't even cover your route, or relying on map data that's months out of date."
Tellme has been delivering voice services for almost a decade, and has deep expertise in the following:
* Voice recognition. Tellme manages more than 2 billion phone calls every year, providing a huge database for optimizing voice recognition. Unlike embedded speech recognition systems, which rely on the underpowered processors in mobile phones or personal navigation devices, Tellme performs speech recognition on high-speed servers in its own datacenters for maximum accuracy and response time.
* Text-to-speech. Tellme has developed sophisticated voice synthesis that delivers the cadences of true human speech, rather than the robotic staccato of many current systems, which improves task completion rates.
* Audio design. Tellme's natural language audio designs make it easy for people to say what they want rather than wait to select from lengthy menus of numbered choices, reducing task completion time.
* Scalability. Because Tellme's services are network-based, new features and functionality can be added without any need for hardware or software upgrades.
* Feedback. Tellme can provide detailed statistical analysis on how customers interact with the service, giving the automotive industry new insight into customer needs.
Tellme (http://www.tellme.com) fundamentally improves how people use the phone to get the information they need every day. By combining Internet data and a voice interface, Tellme's services let people simply say what they want and get it. Services running on Tellme's platform include business search on 411 and information search on 1-800-555-TELL, as well as customer service and ordering for large-scale enterprises. Today Tellme manages more than 2 billion calls a year and is used by more than 40 million people every month. Headquartered in Mountain View, Calif., Tellme is a Microsoft subsidiary.
(1) "Automotive Electronics -- What Consumers Have and What They Desire,"
Consumer Electronics Association, February 2008.
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