Checking out the Microsoft Speech Server

Wow, Speech Server is a great product! Unlike Vista Speech Recognition, you can add speech recognition to web sites, use phones to collect data. This came out of some personal research I have been doing.

After I spent an hour or so getting my Vista Speech Recognition trained, it worked great! On the other hand the reality is that I find the use of voice input annoying on Vista. I don’t work the way that the Vista Speech recognition functions, however, if I had disabilities the speech server might be the only way I could interface with a web site.  With the new freedom that students have in using Microsoft products, through the MSDNAA program, I thought that I would discuss the Speech Server over the next few weeks, along with other servers. 

To get started using Speech Server, you will need to do the following:

Well if you attend a school that has a subscription to MSDNAA (Microsoft Developer Network, Academic Alliance) then you have access to the full blown, no-time-out speech server 2004 R2!  Now this is a slick product, and as a student you get a great chance to use it.  You will need the following from your school’s MSDNAA subscription:

1. Windows 2008 server

2. Speech Server

3. SQL server

3. Virtual PC

For hardware you will need a USB drive or a second drive in your system, don’t use USB thumbdrives for the second drive, they will wear out quickly due to the high rate of read/writes (yes the memory in these drives wears out after a finite number of reads).  You can use Vista or Windows XP (or I guess if you have a license you can use Windows 7)

Load the VPC onto your hard-drive, then build the Windows 2008 and then the Speech Server.  After you get everything working, here are links that you might want to utilize for learning and experimentation:

· Microsoft Speech Server 2004 R2

· Microsoft Speech Application Software Development Kit 1.1

· Speech-Enabled ASP.NET Commerce Starter Kit Application (CommerceVoice)

· Microsoft Speech Server

· Speech Server, technical documents (a long list of topics on Tech Net)

Have fun!