Voice to Unleash the Power of the Internet
Khan, President and CEO of InternetSpeech, founded the company
>in 1998 with
the vision to develop innovative technology for accessing information
Internet anytime and anywhere, using just an ordinary telephone and the
Dr. Khan's technical knowledge and understanding of emerging
resulted in the development of Internet Speech's first voice Internet
netECHO, the only product available today that delivers complete
>Dr. Khan, a
frequent speaker at voice-recognition, Internet application and other
trade shows and conferences, holds 14 patents, has 3 others pending
published more than 40 papers on the advent of voice technology on the
speech recognition, neural nets, fuzzy logic, intelligent systems, VLSI
He has taught courses at universities and industry conferences on
net and fuzzy logic. He holds a Doctorate degree in Computer
Master of Science degrees in Electrical Engineering and Engineering
and a Bachelor of Science degree in Electrical Engineering.
>Dr. Khan will
describe and demonstrate the technology behind InternetSpeech's
how it has been received by many blind, visually impaired and
from various organizations, including the San Francisco's Lighthouse
Blind, which has incorporated the technology into their organization,
Federation of the Blind, and the American Council of the Blind.
began his presentation by explaining that Internet Speech is available
from any telephone. This makes the Internet available to the large number
of people that don't have computers, as well as the blind and those
who are too far from their computers to use them. The system has modes
for surfing the web, searching for information, reading email, and
e-commerce. It is one way that people can bridge the digital divide.
Then he ran
a tape of a typical user logging on and using it to visit a website. The
computer had a pleasant professional sounding female voice, and it took
the caller only a couple of minutes to get into a mode where she was
describing the page he wanted to look at. Dr. Khan explained that there was
considerable AI at work deciding which words on the page to read next.
Then he played a clip of a caller using the system to buy a box of
everybody's favorite cookies. Again, the system handled the job without any
explained that visually impaired users tend to call for about ten minutes per
call, and they tend to call several times per day. People without
computers tend to have calls about as long, but less of them. Highly
mobile professionals tend to call for much shorter periods, and only when
they can't get access to a terminal with a keyboard to accomplish
their goals more conveniently. When Internet Speech was starting
out, they thought their main customers would be mobile professionals.
The blind marketplace was something they stumbled into after that,
and it has since turned out to be huge.
next year or so the company plans to expand into providing Internet
boxes for blind people and support for more languages. At the moment they
are growing and the future looks bright.
Q&A the following points came up:
via Internet Speech does take some customizing of the site to
really work well. The company asks vendors to allow one to twenty-one
days for doing things like getting the dialogs and menus right before going
likes the system a lot, mostly because it gives them an easy way to
comply with disability access laws.
is currently available in English, Chinese, Japanese, and German.
There are plans to expand into providing Spanish and Arabic.
that is used over and over is done by recording a human reading the
words. Dynamic text is done by text to speech software. The system
only has one voice right now, but there are plans for more.
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