One Voice announces a speech toolkit for Windows XP Media Center Edition

Casey Chesnut, of brains-n-brawn, sent me some mail over the weekend and alerted me to One Voice’s newest announcement about their Media Center Communicator.

Apparently, they’re getting into the speech platform business as well as providing an interesting appliation for controling your media in your XP Media Center.

In the press release, Dean Weber, president and CEO of One Voice, says:

"Providing this toolkit for developers of Windows XP Media Center Edition 2005 along with our strategic relationship with Microsoft represents tremendous opportunities for our company and our shareholders," said Dean Weber, president and CEO of One Voice Technologies. "Our mceSpeechTools allow third party development of speech recognition commands into new or existing Windows XP Media Center Edition 2005 applications. From home control to online music services, mceSpeechTools is easy to integrate for developers to enable the creation of voice commands for applications ranging from setting thermostats, changing lighting, viewing security cameras or even purchasing music or videos online. The opportunities for voice recognition are endless and One Voice is well positioned to offer such powerful enabling technology for Windows XP Media Center Edition 2005."

I’ve been in a few meetings with Dean here at Microsoft. He’s a good guy. Smart too. MCC (Media Center Communicator) is fun to play with it. I’ve got a copy right here on my desk. But … I do think there are a couple things that could make MCC a lot better:

  • Bundled Microphone – The microphone that came with my copy of MCC wasn’t that impressive. It’s basically a stick mic from Logitec (if I recall correctly). One Voice did show an interesting remote control at CES in 2004 that had a microphone built into it. Microsoft showed a similar one the next year.

  • It’s not using SAPI right now. SAPI is the Microsoft Speech Applications Programming  Interface. SAPI is a big investment for Microsoft. It’s how we at Microsoft think application developers should integrate speech into their applications.

Until MCC bundles a microphone that is closer to the user (read built into the remote control) and MCC is based on SAPI, I think that they’ll have limited success.

I’m very interested how OV will be successful with MCC and their newly announced platform once Windows Vista ships. SR is built-into Vista, and I would expect developers to flock to SAPI, a platform that will have huge penetration (every copy of Vista has it), instead of a platform that you have to ship yourself, or depend upon the users having already purchased OV.

But, until Microsoft really ponies up the resources to do a similar project “for real”, OV is essentially an entry the Media SR market on Windows all by itself.

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