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TELEFONICA DE ESPANA JOINS WITH AT&T IN PREPARATION FOR THE OLYMPICS

   TELEFONICA DE ESPANA JOINS WITH AT&T IN PREPARATION FOR THE OLYMPICS
    MADRID, Spain, Nov. 18 /PRNewswire/ -- In preparation for the World's Fair in Seville and the Olympics in Barcelona, Telefonica de Espana S.A., the Spanish telephone company, is about to turn on the world's first Spanish-language speech recognition system.
    Any caller in this nation of 39 million people will be able to access business information simply by dialing a toll-free number and saying "uno," "dos" or "tres" into the telephone in response to a recorded prompt (e.g., say one for sales, two for service, etc.).  An AT&T Spain Intelligent Network system will recognize their speech input and send the data to the network for connection to the desired service.
    In the United States, access to toll-free services is through touch- tone phones.  But in Spain, the great majority of phones are dial.
    To accelerate its efforts to give customers access to toll-free calling, Telefonica has joined with AT&T to develop and implement the latest in speech recognition technology.  Starting Nov. 25, Telefonica will offer toll-free enhanced 900 service (equal to 800 numbers in the U.S.) on a limited basis, with full service scheduled for early in 1992.
    The speech recognition system was developed at AT&T Bell Laboratories, whose scientists worked directly with Telefonica's R&D group (Telefonica Investigacion y Desarrollo) to acquire speech recordings and refine the system for speakers of all Castilian accents.
    Speech samples were recorded by automated PC-based speech collection stations installed in a Telefonica central office in Madrid.  The stations were assigned toll-free 900 numbers, and a scenario resembling a menu-driven service was used to collect the words "uno," "dos" and "tres."  All numbers (0-9) and "si" and "no" were also collected for possible future applications.
    During an eight-month trial of the service, samples from 12,000 telephone users from around the country were recorded.  Of those, 6,000 of the most representative samples were used for training.
    The system is equipped with the newest AT&T Bell Labs speech technology, known as word spotting.  This technique enables a computer to select only the desired words from a sentence.  Extraneous words are ignored.
    For isolated words (e.g., "uno"), the recognizer correctly identifies the word 99 percent of the time.  For words embedded in extraneous speech (e.g., "El uno, por favor"), accuracy is 95 percent or better.
    The system's hardware is located in Telefonica central offices in Madrid, Barcelona, Seville, Valencia, Bilbao and Leon, and is an adjunct to AT&T 5ESS digital switches in those offices.
    In the initial phase, Telefonica is concentrating on signing up large-volume companies such as U.S.-based firms who have been using electronic customer service systems in the U.S.
    For its innovative contributions to the industry, the AT&T Spain Intelligent Network was recently awarded a ConForum Award by the National Engineering Consortium.
    Future directions for the Telefonica application may include a more extensive vocabulary to accommodate larger menus, and connected digit recognition for advanced credit card call handling services.
    The experience gained at Telefonica will facilitate AT&T's development of speech recognition for other languages and applications within the U.S. and abroad.
    -0-         11/18/91
    /CONTACT:  Robert Ford of AT&T Bell Laboratories, 201-564-4260, or 908-464-4422 (home); or Alberto Martinez of Telefonica de Espana, 34-1-532-7838 (Spain)/
    (T) CO:  AT&T ST:  New Jersey IN:  TLS SU: SH -- NY002 -- 4837 11/19/91 10:00 EST
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Date:Nov 19, 1991
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