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Bell Canada delivers first wireless voice recognition portal to Canadians

Written By: langdon on January 22, 2003 No Comment

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News Release – For Immediate Release

Heard the latest? Bell Canada delivers first wireless voice recognition portal to Canadians

VoiceNet gives wireless subscribers voice-activated access to email and web content

TORONTO – Tired of pushing buttons? Want someone to read your emails to you? Then Bell Canada has a new product that will really speak to you. VoiceNet, the latest convergence product to be developed through BCE’s $70 million Convergence Fund, is a new voice recognition service that enables Bell Mobility customers to have their email and other Sympatico-Lycos web content including news, weather, and sports read to them through the use of simple voice commands. The service is the first of its kind in Canada, and is being offered in English and French to digital and analog customers throughout Bell Mobility’s coverage area.

VoiceNet allows customers to listen to, reply, forward and compose new email messages using any POP3 (Post Office Protocol 3) email such as Sympatico.ca, Yahoo.com or most ISP-based email accounts. In addition, customers can easily listen to customized Sympatico-Lycos content by using voice commands such as “My Weather” or “My News” to immediately hear the specific information they want. Since the service responds to voice commands customers can use VoiceNet with a headset, allowing for hands to be free for other activities. As well customers will be able to wirelessly access their e-mail whether at the cottage or downtown, because the service can be used in digital or analog coverage areas.

“It’s not everyday that you have the opportunity to provide technology that literally listens to what customers have to say and then tells them what they want to hear,” said Charlotte Burke, Senior VP, Convergent Applications, Bell Canada. “This service is another example of Bell Canada’s commitment to create products and services that empower its customers to access and control information using their cell phones anywhere, anytime.  Future applications will likely include location-based services, entertainment, trivia games, and stock quotes – to name a few.”

Once Bell Mobility customers subscribe to VoiceNet, accessing the service is as easy as dialing #8888 (1-866 for Western Canada subscribers) listening to the menu options and responding with voice commands to receive the information they are interested in hearing. For example, if a subscriber is travelling in a taxi to Montreal’s Dorval Airport for a flight to Edmonton, Alberta and wants to hear the current forecast and weather conditions for their destination, all they have to do is dial into VoiceNet, say “weather”, and “Edmonton, Alberta” and VoiceNet will immediately provide weather conditions for that area. Currently, VoiceNet can provide weather forecasts for cities and towns across Canada and the United States, as well as countries across the globe.

VoiceNet uses the best available speech recognition software and text-to-speech technologies developed by industry leaders Nuance Technology and Speechworks. The sophisticated speech recognition software is speaker-independent so customers do not need to specially train the system to recognize their own voice.

The VoiceNet service, which will be offered at a price of $5.00 month plus airtime charges is the result of the combined efforts of three Bell Canada units: Bell Mobility, which offers the wireless service to all of its subscribers; Sympatico-Lycos, which contributed content development and aggregation expertise along with web development skills; Bell Canada’s CTS group (Computer Telephony Solutions), which provided the voice portal infrastructure and managed the interface between Bell’s wireless switches and server environment to implement the speech recognition and text-to-speech software.

About Bell Canada

Bell Canada, Canada’s national leader for communications in the Internet world, provides connectivity to residential and business customers through wired and wireless voice and data communications, high speed and wireless Internet access, IP-broadband services, e-business solutions, local and long distance phone and directory services.  Bell Canada is owned by BCE Inc of Montréal (80%) and by SBC Communications Inc. of San Antonio, Texas (20%).  For more information please visit www.bell.ca

About Bell Mobility

Bell Mobility, a division of Bell Canada, provides a complete range of innovative wireless communications solutions : PCS and cellular, web-browsing and data, two-way messaging, paging and airline passenger communications services. Bell Canada, Canada’s national leader for communications in the Internet world, provides connectivity to residential and business customers through wired and wireless voice and data communications, high speed and wireless Internet access, IP-broadband services, e-business solutions, local and long distance phone and directory services. Bell Canada is owned by BCE Inc. of Montréal (80%) and by SBC Communications Inc. of San Antonio, Texas (20%). For more information please visit www.bell.ca

About Sympatico-Lycos

Sympatico-Lycos (  <http://www.sympatico.ca)/> http://www.sympatico.ca) is a leading Canadian Web communications company and provides Canadians with a comprehensive Internet experience, combining world-class Internet technology and applications including search, community, personalization and a wealth of Canadian content. Its flagship properties include sympatico.ca; tripod.ca; canada411.ca; yellowpages.ca; vancouverplus.ca; calgaryplus.ca; edmontonplus.ca; montrealplus.ca; ottawaplus.ca; quebecplus.ca; and toronto.com, owned in partnership with Torstar Corp. Sympatico-Lycos Inc., with offices in Toronto, Ottawa, Quebec, City, Montreal, Calgary, Edmonton and Vancouver, is part of Bell Globemedia Interactive, which is a sister division to CTV and The Globe and Mail within the Bell Globemedia family. Sympatico-Lycos is owned by Bell Globemedia (71%) and Lycos Inc. (29%) www.sympatico.ca

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