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SPRINT ANNOUNCES EXPANDED VOICE-ACTIVATED FONCARD PILOT BASED ON IMPRESSIVE TEST RESULTS

 SPRINT ANNOUNCES EXPANDED VOICE-ACTIVATED FONCARD PILOT
 BASED ON IMPRESSIVE TEST RESULTS
 KANSAS CITY, April 6 /PRNewswire/ -- Sprint (NYSE: FON) has announced it will expand 10-fold the number of customers using its Voice-Activated FONCARD platform from the current 5,000 to 50,000. Sprint is continuing to fine-tune the Voice-Activated FONCARD under an exclusive relationship with Texas Instruments (NYSE: TXN), a leading provider of speech processing technologies, and sees this substantial expansion in the number of customers as an important developmental step toward the full commercialization of this exciting new product and technology.
 Already 5,000 callers have placed more than 300,000 Sprint voice-technology-assisted phone calls with impressive results. The decision to expand the pilot was based on feedback from this group and the results of extensive testing. The expanded voice recognition test is believed to be the largest ever undertaken in the industry.
 "We are confident that our voice recognition platform is progressing at a pace that ensures industry leadership and quality deployment of this exciting technology," said Ron LeMay, president and chief operating officer at Sprint. "We are expanding the pilot to a broader customer base of 50,000 -- with representation of business and residential market segments carefully chosen -- to continue to evaluate the system under a far heavier and more diverse traffic load and to measure market receptivity and more 'real life' usage patterns."
 Sprint's Voice-Activated FONCARD allows the card-holder to place a call by simply dialing an 800-access number, saying a security code, and then directing the system to call the location by using his or her voice. The system recognizes the security code and verifies the voice print, which has been pre-registered, before automatically dialing through voice recognition specific commands such as "call home" or "call office."
 "Sprint is in the business of providing easy-to-use communications tools for our customers," LeMay said. "The Voice-Activated FONCARD is a symbol of this philosophy."
 "After more than two decades of active research and development in speech technology, TI's experience combined with Sprint's telecommunications expertise serves as a strong foundation to provide voice technologies over the telephone," said John White, president of TI's Information Technology Group. "We continue to refine and support this technology with the necessary resources as voice activation becomes accepted as a worldwide means of communication."
 LeMay said the Voice-Activated FONCARD will be primarily tailored to improve productivity for travelers -- especially those on business -- who have specific needs for the added convenience the card offers.
 The card will also enable travelers to save valuable time by allowing them to leave messages for later delivery when the calling party is not immediately available. A traveler placing a call home before a flight can use the Message Delivery function to leave a message when the line is busy or not answered.
 The Voice-Activated FONCARD Message Delivery system will detect a "no answer" or "busy," and then will attempt to deliver a message eight times -- in either 15-minute or 60-minute intervals -- depending on the caller's needs. It can be customized to reflect when and how often a message is delivered.
 Preliminary results of a Sprint market research survey of users on the pilot thus far found they enjoyed using the Voice-Activated FONCARD and found it a valuable productivity tool. Overwhelmingly, users agreed the card was easy-to-use, dependable, trouble-free and provided enhanced security. In particular, the spoken speed dials such as "call home" and "call office," and the Message Delivery functions were extraordinarily well-received.
 "There is great user acceptance at the 5,000-customer level," LeMay said. "We believe we will have equally high levels of user approval in the expanded pilot. That's what we would like to confirm with this pilot."
 Texas Instruments, headquartered in Dallas, is a high-technology company with sales and manufacturing operations in more than 30 countries. Telecom Systems, a division of TI's Technology Group, develops, manufactures, and markets multimedia information systems as a platform for enhanced telecommunications services. With more than two decades of speech research and development, TI has advanced speech technology to deliver new voice and multimedia services over the telephone.
 Sprint is a diversified international telecommunications company with $8.8 billion in annual revenues and the United States' only nationwide all-digital, fiber-optic network. Its divisions provide global long distance voice, data and video products and services, and local telephone services to more than 4 million subscriber lines in 17 states.
 VOICE-ACTIVATED FONCARD BACKGROUND INFORMATION
 -- The test base has increased from 5,000 to 50,000 customers.
 -- Sprint has conducted four different voice tests in the past
 five years, and Texas Instruments has devoted several hundred
 man-years and a dedicated portion of its $1 billion annual
 research and development effort to speech technology in its
 20-plus years of experience in the speech arena.
 -- The pilot system is located at Sprint's laboratory in
 Burlingame, Calif., and is driven by the Texas Instruments'
 MultiServe Platform, which is based on the industry-standard
 1500 Multiprocessor Computer. The system has a modular,
 expandable architecture and integrated digital signal
 processors (DSPs).
 -- Advances in semiconductor technology and speech technology
 today can compensate for many limitations in telecom voice
 applications: variations in phone handsets, channel
 distortion, accents, dialects and individual speaker
 differences.
 -- The expanded pilot for voice recognition will use the Hidden
 Markov Model applied to continuous speech patterns.
 -- The specialized version of the TI 1500 Multiprocessor Computer
 uses up to 15 DSPs, each capable of operating at 30 megaflops
 (million floating point operations per second) to provide the
 processing power required.
 -- In the Sprint pilot, the 1500 Multiprocessor Computers are
 supported by a Tandem NonStop main frame host computer used to
 provide customer profile database storage and retrieval.
 -- The pilot system is directly connected to all digital switches
 in the Sprint fiber network and is fully integrated with
 billing and control support systems.
 -- Pilot customers identify themselves by speaking a personal
 10-digit ID, which also serves as the caller's password.
 Speaker-independent speech recognition determines which 10
 digits were spoken.
 -- Speaker verification is then applied to the same utterance to
 determine if the speaker is the same person who originally
 registered that ID with the system. If the analysis proves
 that correct, the system authorizes the call.
 -- Following the verification process, the caller can dial a
 phone number or give a voice command, such as "call office"
 which will connect to the proper office telephone.
 -- If a customer encounters a busy or no-answer situation, the
 system can record a message from the caller. It will then
 periodically retry to call and play the recorded message when
 someone answers the phone.
 -0- 4/6/92
 /NOTE: FONCARD is a service mark; MultiServe is a trademark; and Tandem NonStop is a service mark./
 /CONTACT: Steve Dykes, 202-828-7435 or, after hours, 703-242-1769, or Angela Peacock, 202-828-7415 or, after hours, 301-564-4984, both of Sprint; or Lauren Baker of Texas Instruments 512-250-4379 or, after hours, 512-331-2072/
 (FON TXN) CO: Sprint; Texas Instruments ST: Missouri IN: TLS SU: PDT


TW -- DC024 -- 5420 04/06/92 14:09 EDT
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Date:Apr 6, 1992
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