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Bouygues Telecom Expands Wildfire Virtual Assistant Availability to French Telephony Market.

Business/Technology Editors

LEXINGTON, Mass.--(BUSINESS WIRE)--June 6, 2000

Wildfire Communications, Inc. and Bouygues Telecom today announced that Bouygues Telecom will expand Wildfire's availability in the French telephony market. Following the successful launch in September 1999 of the Wildfire(R) voice-enabled personal assistant-branded as "Lucie(TM)" by Bouygues Telecom.

As a first step, Bouygues Telecom will deploy capacity for over 100,000 "Lucie" customers. A second "lighter" version of the service, which was initially targeted at the professional market, will be made available to the broader mass market. The simplified offering is the result of extensive studies by Bouygues Telecom and Wildfire. By developing this much easier-to-use interface, "Lucie" will appeal to a much larger segment of Bouygues Telecom's customer base.

"Users start with a very simple service and are then automatically offered a more comprehensive set of features according to their usage patterns and preferences," said Paul Detering, President and CEO of Wildfire Communications, Inc. "With `Lucie,' Bouygues Telecom is able to ensure that its customers benefit from the services that are most appropriate to their needs and can maximize its differentiation in the marketplace."

Wildfire takes messages, makes and redirects calls and records contacts' details, all through the use of simple spoken instructions. Wildfire keeps in her memory a personal list of names and numbers-in effect, a `virtual phonebook'-so that the user need only say for example, "'Lucie'... call Isobel... at the office," and "Lucie" will immediately dial the number. At the same time, "Lucie" will file and prioritize incoming messages, enabling users to listen to the messages and return the calls without having to hang up or redial the number.

"Wildfire provides world-leading virtual personal assistant technology," said Frederic Ruciak, product marketing director for Bouygues Telecom. "We will now be able to offer these new and easy-to-use voice-controlled services to an increasing proportion of our customer base."

The Wildfire personal assistant is the first speech-based assistant to be offered as a service by phone companies. By using speech recognition to manage telephone communications for busy people, Wildfire significantly enhances productivity, efficiency and safety. In addition to its work with Bouygues Telecom, Wildfire is currently offered by Pacific Bell Wireless in the United States and Orange in the United Kingdom. Wildfire is also in market trials with other operators throughout North America and Europe.

About Wildfire Communications

Wildfire Communications, Inc., headquartered in Lexington, Mass., is a pioneer in the field of personal-assistant technology. The company develops and markets Wildfire(R)as an enhanced service offered by public telephone network carriers. Wildfire Communications, Inc. is located at 81 Hartwell Ave., Lexington, MA 02421. For more information on Wildfire Communications, visit its Web site at www.wildfire.com. For a demonstration of the Wildfire assistant, call 1.800.WILDFIRE.

About Bouygues Telecom

In May 1996, Bouygues Telecom caused great surprise by launching its mobile telephone offering, resolutely aimed at the general public. Its arrival revolutionized the market, putting mobile telephones within the reach of everyone through the system of inclusive packages and by offering innovative services with mass appeal (voice mail, customer care, kiosk of value-added services). As the force behind this explosion in the market, Bouygues Telecom implemented EFR technology in its network, giving it sound quality comparable to that of fixed phones. In less than three years, the operator has rolled out its network to practically the whole of France. Today, Bouygues Telecom has more than 3.6 million subscribers in France.

Wildfire(R) is a registered trademark of Wildfire Communications, Inc.

Editorial Art Note: High-resolution images of Wildfire can be found on the Wildfire Website at www.wildfire.com.
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Publication:Business Wire
Geographic Code:1USA
Date:Jun 6, 2000
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