Belgacom Selects ScanSoft Directory Assistance Solutions to Power New Multilingual Automatic Service.
ScanSoft, Inc. (Nasdaq: SSFT), the global leader of speech and imaging solutions, today announced that Belgacom, one of Europe's leading telecommunications providers, has worked with ScanSoft to develop 1234, an automated multi-lingual national directory assistance (DA) service in Belgium. Launched in October 2004, the new DA service 1234 provides a natural, speech-based solution for accessing listing information via the telephone. This service will serve an estimated 10 million people in Belgium in the two main official languages, Dutch and French.
To access the service, users simply dial "1234" from any fixed-line or mobile telephone in Belgium and ask for the telephone number of any person, company or service. The 1234 service can also conduct reverse searches by number to find an address or the name of a person. The new service, using ScanSoft's speech solutions, is fully automatic, multilingual and is the first of its kind to be applied on such a large scale. Before the commercial launch of 1234 in January 2005, the service will be offered free of charge until the end of the year from three large Belgian networks, Belgacom, Proximus and Versatel.
ScanSoft worked closely with Belgacom to create LISA, a custom voice for the new service that uses ScanSoft's RealSpeak(TM) for Dutch and French to ensure a familiar, friendly interaction with the system. ScanSoft's DA service group developed a complete DA solution including dialogue application, design, implementation, testing and tuning. The service is implemented on an Information Services Extended, Inc. (ISx) telecommunications platform.
"Belgacom is an innovator in deploying speech. We have been using ScanSoft speech technologies since 2000, for example in "Sherlock," our automatic ID search service, on top of our existing DA services on access codes 1207 (in Dutch), 1307 (in French), 1407 (in German) and 1405 (in English)." said Pascaline Dubois, Directory Information Services Director. "By using speech technology in our DA offering we can provide via the new 1234 an accurate and competitive service to our customers and complete the full range of enhancements on our DA services. ScanSoft's custom voice program allows us to give our virtual agent LISA a personality, helping to further establish customer relationships and branding."
"ScanSoft continues to build on its global leadership in automated directory assistance by working closely with innovative telecommunications providers that recognize how speech applications can dramatically enhance their services," said Peter Hauser, senior vice president and general manager, ScanSoft International. "Today, the world's leading providers are increasingly investing in speech applications and solutions, and they are turning to ScanSoft to help realize the full range of strategic benefits and operating efficiencies our market-leading products and services provide."
With a combined experience of more than 120 years in the field, and a local presence in major markets around the world, ScanSoft's Directory Assistance (DA) services group provides its customers with fully automated, standards-based solutions that go beyond frequently requested listings -- enabling total coverage of business, residential and toll-free listings. ScanSoft, backed by an arsenal of patented processes and proven technologies, works with leading service providers to create the proper balance between call automation and customer care. ScanSoft has successfully automated DA solutions for more than a dozen service providers across ten countries. Today, thousands of businesses and millions of users around the world depend on speech solutions from ScanSoft to deliver vital information and simplify every day life.
Belgacom is the leading telecommunications company in Belgium and a market leader in a number of areas, including retail and wholesale fixed-line telephony services, mobile communications services and broadband data and Internet services. Belgacom offers a comprehensive range of voice, data and Internet fixed-line services to residential and business customers. At the end of 2003, Belgacom provided approximately 5.2 million fixed connections for residential and business customers. Belgacom Mobile is the leading provider of mobile communications services in Belgium through its Proximus and Pay & Go brands, with approximately 4.2 million active customers. For the year ended 31 December 2003, the Group had total revenue of EUR 5,454 million and operating income before depreciation and amortization (excluding non-recurring items) of EUR 2,250 million. See also http://www.belgacom.be and for more information about Lisa and 1-2-3-4, see www.1234.be.
Information Services Extended, Inc., www.isxinc.com, has been a world leader in providing search and directory assistance (DA) solutions for more than 25 years. ISx customers include such established telecommunications companies as Belgacom, Eniro, Fonecta, France Telecom, Matav, MCI, OTE, SBC, Sensis, Telstra and others, as well as independent call centers, providers of directory services content and emerging providers of innovative DA services. The ISx FlexiQ(TM) platform provides an end-to-end solution for wireless, wireline and electronic directory assistance and information services. ISx offerings support search, enhanced information services, and speech recognition for call automation, Internet and wireless technologies. ISx is headquartered in Fort Lauderdale, Florida, USA, and operates sales and support offices in the UK, Belgium, Finland, Hungary, and Australia. For more information, please visit http://www.isxinc.com
About ScanSoft, Inc.
ScanSoft, Inc. (Nasdaq: SSFT) is the global leader of speech and imaging solutions that are used to automate a wide range of manual processes -- saving time, increasing worker productivity and improving customer service. For more information regarding ScanSoft(R) products and technologies, please visit www.ScanSoft.com.
Trademark reference: ScanSoft, the ScanSoft logo and RealSpeak are registered trademarks or trademarks of ScanSoft, Inc. or its subsidiaries in the United States and/or other countries. All other company names or product names referenced herein may be the trademarks of their respective owners.
The statements in this press release that relate to future plans, events or performance are forward-looking statements that involve risks and uncertainties, including risks associated with market trends, competitive factors, and other risks identified in ScanSoft's SEC filings. Actual results, events and performance may differ materially. Readers are cautioned not to put undue reliance on these forward-looking statements that speak only as of the date hereof.
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|Date:||Oct 13, 2004|
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