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The Word is Expertise: Voice User Interface Pioneer Boosts Phone-to-Web Startup NetByTel.

Business/Technology Editors

BOCA RATON, Fla.--(BUSINESS WIRE)--Oct. 24, 2000

Stanford University and Xerox PARC veteran George White, Ph.D.

joins executive management team as senior vice president of

technology and interfaces

One of the world's foremost voice user interface pioneers has joined startup NetByTel's executive management team as senior vice president of technology and interfaces. NetByTel is the first company able to make Websites accessible to telephone users in real time by using speech recognition as the interface without requiring any changes to existing IT infrastructure.

Dr. George White is a recognized leader in the voice, telecommunications and user interface fields. He was one of the original Stanford researchers who joined the seminal Xerox Palo Alto Research Center (PARC) in 1970, where he began work in speech recognition that helped shape the development of user-friendly personal computing. He brings more than 25 years experience in interface design, speech recognition psychology and language theory to refining NetByTel's phone-to-Web voice interface.

"The race is on for telephone speech recognition and Web-based technology to give mobile users away from their desks much-needed access to e-business on the Web. NetByTel is leading the evolution of this market, and is comfortably ahead by at least six to eight months," White said. "I looked at the so-called voice portals and only NetByTel was saying what made sense: We are going to do telephone-based e-commerce and take a percentage of all the transactions that pass through our hands. That's the business model I liked, because it's the most focused, inspiring and workable of the lot."

White worked with other Stanford researchers at Xerox PARC, the Palo Alto research center that led human-computer interaction to a new paradigm - that of personal computing. In the early 1970s, Xerox PARC developed the first fully functional personal computer, complete with a graphical user interface (GUI) and mouse - the forerunner of Apple Computer's Macintosh, which subsequently popularized the GUI-based personal computer. As early as 1979, White sought funding for the first company dedicated to marketing the computer mouse and, soon after, launched the first commercially available touch tablet input device. White subsequently worked directly with Apple, where in 1988 he founded that company's innovative voice user interface development group. Later, he co-founded and managed the Apple-ISS (Institute for Systems Sciences) Research Center in Singapore, a speech development laboratory that created some of the world's first and strongest Asian language speech recognizers and synthesizers. The group's work included a tablet interface capable of translating handwritten Chinese characters into computer text.

White left Apple in 1994 to return to his alma mater in a major business/linguistic leadership role: he directed the Industrial Affiliates program of Stanford's Center for the Study of Language and Information. While there, he co-founded Stanford's Applied Speech Technology Laboratory and influenced researchers Byron Reeves and Clifford Nass in their work on speech interface paradigms, which resulted in the publication, in 1996, of The Media Equation, How People Treat Computers, Television and New Media like Real People and Places, the defining text for the interface field.

White subsequently returned full time to the business world as founder and CEO of NETalk, Inc., one of the earliest phone-to-Web companies, which was acquired in 1997 by General Magic, a voice application service provider targeting the leading customer relationship management, Internet and telecommunications companies.

"It is validation for NetByTel's technology and our business model that we're attracting the kind of top-notch talent and experience you see in George White," said NetByTel CEO and co-founder Neal Bernstein. "George has played a major role in voice interface and telephone Web interface design while these technologies were being developed. We expect his work on NetByTel's speech technology and voice user interface to give us the edge in empowering companies to voice-enable their e-business applications without changing their IT infrastructure or investing in new hardware or software."

About NetByTel

Through voice recognition technology, NetByTel makes the World Wide Web wider than ever, broadening its scope to anyone with a telephone. NetByTel's Connected(TM) voice recognition technology easily transforms Web-sites into phone-friendly store fronts. This interactive technology retrieves information from the client's Internet applications and delivers it to users by standard or wireless telephone, with no changes to the customer's Web-site or IT infrastructure. For more information about NetByTel, visit the company's Web site at
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Publication:Business Wire
Date:Oct 24, 2000
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