IBM Gives e-business A Voice

New Products and Strategic Relationships Provide First End-to-End Voice Solution for Market Predicted to Reach $120 Billion by 2006

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NEW YORK - 22 Jun 2000: -- IBM (NYSE: IBM) today unveiled seven new voice technology products, including IBM WebSphere Voice Server with ViaVoice Technology, creating the industry's first end-to-end platform that will help customers voice-enable e-business for the mobile Internet.

As part of today's announcement, IBM also unveiled strategic relationships with industry leaders Siebel (NASDAQ:SEBL), General Magic (NASDAQ: GMGC) and Luminant (NASDAQ:LUMT). Together with these companies, IBM will provide the infrastructure for the voice technology market, estimated to reach $120 billion worldwide by 2006(a).

"With this announcement, IBM offers a compelling software platform for voice enabling e-business using leading edge call center and Web technology," said W. S. (Ozzie) Osborne, general manager, IBM Voice Systems. "IBM's complete portfolio, from our ViaVoice dictation and embedded products, to our industry leading WebSphere middleware products such as WebSphere Voice Server, CallPath, DirectTalk, and MessageCenter, enables customers to offer voice access to information anywhere at any time."

This comprehensive voice platform includes new, open standards-based, scalable products for the mobile device, Web application server, call center and Linux marketplaces. These products enable solutions that combine the ease-of-use of natural speech with the convenience of the mobile Internet at the low transaction costs associated with the Web.

New products now available

- IBM WebSphere Voice Server with ViaVoice Technology allows delivery of voice applications based on industry standard VoiceXML, helping businesses leverage their investments in Web and call center technologies to deliver e-business solutions. VoiceXML complements today's Wireless Application Protocol (WAP) to allow the delivery of voice applications for the mobile Internet. A free downloadable IBM WebSphere Voice Server Software Developers Kit (SDK) is available today from the IBM alphaWorks Web site ( IBM will deliver its WebSphere Voice Server on multiple environments, starting with the IBM DirectTalk call center platform as well as the first pure voice over Internet Protocol (VoIP) implementation for the Web. The Web Sphere Voice Server will ship in the US on Windows NT in the fall, with prices starting at $15,000.

- IBM ViaVoice Dictation for Linux is the only commercially available voice recognition technology solution for the Linux platform. ViaVoice for Linux lets users dictate and read documents using natural human speech. The software will be available through Shop IBM ( and is retail priced at $59.95.

- IBM Embedded ViaVoice, Multiplatform Edition is a Java-standards compliant toolkit that provides developers with resources to create speech-enabled mobile solutions on any mobile device. Software Development (SDK) and RunTime Kits, with fees based on individual implementation scenarios, are available from the IBM voice Web site (

- IBM CallPath Enterprise Foundation, V6.3 now integrates with Siebel Systems e-business applications in both the telephony and Web arenas to improve productivity and customer service by helping contact center operators integrate incoming telephone calls and Internet transactions. Price varies depending on the number of seats and users.

- IBM DirectTalk Speech Recognition for AIX, with ViaVoice Technology now provides voice as a more natural user interface to the keypad interaction for voice processing platforms. Callers can speak requests to interact with an application: making business transactions over the phone natural, productive and easy. Supports U.S. and U.K. English, French and German languages. Price varies by vocabulary size and individual implementation.

- IBM DirectTalk Text-to-Speech for AIX with ViaVoice Technology converts text into speech in the call center environment, eliminating the need for pre-recorded prompts. Currently available in U.S. and U.K. English, French and German. Pricing varies with individual implementations.

- IBM DirectTalk Beans for Java enables call center applications to be constructed in the same open standards-based Java environment used for building Web applications, which can dramatically reduce development time. DirectTalk Beans for Java ships at no additional cost with DirectTalk.

Commenting on the market, Brian Strachman, voice and data communications analyst, Cahners-Instat, said, "In the last few years, voice technology has significantly advanced and is becoming increasingly accessible via the Internet and handheld devices. Today, the growth in the Internet and mobile computing have heightened the need for new ways to access information over the Web. Voice and multi-modal access are the natural interfaces and IBM is uniquely positioned to offer voice-enabled solutions from the desktop, telephone and mobile device to the enterprise and Internet."

e-business Customers & Strategic Relationships

IBM today also announced key relationships with industry leaders to help deliver on this new voice technology infrastructure.

As an extension of its strategic agreement with Siebel Systems, IBM today released a Siebel-validated integration of IBM's CallPath Connection for Enterprise with Siebel's eBusiness Applications. The new solution, IBM CallPath Enterprise Foundation, V6.3, will dramatically improve productivity and customer service by integrating incoming telephone calls and Internet transactions with Siebel's comprehensive customer databases and allow contact center operators to effectively and efficiently route transactions and customer information to the right agent at the right time.

"Our goal is to offer companies one comprehensive view of their customers, regardless of the channels through which customers choose to conduct business," said Dr. Steve Garnett, vice president, Channels and Alliances, Siebel Systems. "The joint IBM CallPath Siebel solution will allow our customers to realize lower costs and technical risks, shorten implementation time, and improve overall call center productivity and customer service."

IBM and General Magic, a recognized leader in developing voice user interfaces, plan to integrate General Magic's VoiceXML-based magicTalk communications platform with IBM's DirectTalk and WebSphere Voice Server to deliver and host voice solutions.

"Our premier magicTalk voice interface and communications platform, combined with IBM's broad portfolio for voice-enabling e-business, creates a unique opportunity for us to provide premier voice applications," said Steve Markman, president, chief executive officer and chairman of General Magic. "We believe magicTalk applications, such as GM Onstar's Virtual Advisor, are revolutionizing telecommunications, customer relationship management and e-commerce industries, enabling people to interact with information and integrate their communications, all by speaking in a natural voice."

Building on the strategic agreement announced on June 5, Luminant Worldwide Corporation, a leading worldwide e-business solution provider for major corporations, will include IBM's robust portfolio of voice products in its Web solutions.

Working with IBM voice offerings has enabled T. Rowe Price, a leading provider of financial services, to be at the forefront of customer service.

"As a long time IBM customer, T. Rowe Price continues to take advantage of the depth and breadth of IBM's voice middleware portfolio," said Joe Cosentini, vice president of Operations, T. Rowe Price. "Using the latest IBM voice technology, natural language understanding, along with Direct Talk, our customers can converse with applications and services as if they were talking to a live customer support representative."

WebSphere Voice Server Platform Availability and Languages

Additional languages and platforms will be available by year end. For a demonstration of the IBM WebSphere Voice Server with ViaVoice Technology dial toll-free in the US, 877.520.0541 or 954.938.0392 (toll call outside of the US). You can also visit the IBM Voice Systems Web site at

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Information Management, Lotus, Tivoli, Rational, WebSphere, Open standards, open source