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0534.2 Storage Management
0534.3 Casual Work Environment
0534.4 RFID Growth
0534.5 Online Technical Resources
0534.6 Third World Computing
0534.7 Wireless Surround Sound
0534.8 Employee Mobility
0534.9 Fiber Optics Resurgence
0534.10 Portable Fuel Cells
New York, NY
SpeechTEK is about speech recognition solutions. It is also about how speech technology can reduce costs or make devices more convenient to use. We also came away with a perspective that speech technology is but another biometric applied to useful problems.
Speech technology is another niche technology populated by a small group of individuals with a strong research background and a few companies. SpeechTEK is an industry event focused on applications and products. Thus, the number of applications is growing as the technology continuously improves. For example, speech is playing an increasing role in call centers. Speakers described ROIs in months. Yet, this technology is also present in many cell phones and the convenience it brings is increasingly taken for granted. Speech technology is reaching mainstream usage.
Julian Odell, in Speech and Natural Language, Microsoft, provided an overview of speech engines at Microsoft. The speech engine development is a component, along with natural language components, which are used in many Microsoft products. The original speech work dates to 1993 with the license to the CMU Sphinx-II speech recognizer. In 1999 Entropic in Cambridge, UK was acquired.
Products under development which will include speech technology are: Windows Vista, WinFX, Speech Server, and Windows Mobil. Microsoft intends to achieve 15% improvement in the accuracy each year and it has shown the ability to accomplish that if not better.
The CTO of Voice Signal described their voice engine technology. They have a “small speech engine” which has been applied to cell phones. There are two drivers of what can be done in a cell phone: the bandwidth of the network and the CPU power in the phone itself. The DSP technology in the phone is not being used for speech but the CPU is.
One of the drivers of speech technology is customer acceptance. It was shown that 85% of the cell phone buyers are either somewhat, very or extremely interested in voice activation.
To accomplish a speech engine on a cell phone, VoiceSignal began from scratch. The process is described as analyzing all the operations required to recognize speech. This included: examine every calculation, approximate what is difficult to compute, throw out everything not essential and do the reexamination process over and over again. This was done to create the lowest footprint engine in a limited capability cell phone.
So far, their engine has been implemented in 57 different phone models. Some of the new capabilities include a speaker independent multimodal interface. That is, the speaker independently dialing and dialing from the phone book. It is also possible to launch applications with speech.
David Pearce, Motorola Labs, UK, described next generation voice technology in cellular phones. Multimodal is the combination of modalities which include speech as one. David gave the illustration of user commands via speech or the keypad. The system could respond with either speech or sounds. The advantages claimed are:
The second technology David spoke of is Distributed Speech Recognition (DSR). This allows speech recognition to take place outside of the phone, usually on a voice gateway. One advantage of the approach is that, with a DSR front end, the transmission of the voice for recognition is packetized for the IP network. There are DSR standards already developed by ETSI, 3GPP and IETF. Although David was optimistic that this would be implemented in the next 18 – 24 months, some questioned if we will see the technology some years ahead.
One of the advantages of this architecture is that it allows operators to make more money with hosted services. As David said, the significant carrier revenues are coming from:
And, the ability to gain another revenue stream with voice services is quite appealing.
David Mussa, VP of Reservations of Wyndham International, described how they implemented speech in the call centers. This is a hosted ASP service provided by Voxify. So far they have implemented via voice: Welcome, Hotel Information, Confirm and Cancel. In Q3 of this year they will have online, as a speech application, reservations and then in Q4 the hotel loyalty program. Some of the performance statistics were striking:
1-800 Flowers is a nationwide retail seller of flowers, plants, gourmet foods and more. They have an Internet, phone and retail presence. The call volume is 30,000 per month, with 200,000 on peak days. With speech they were able to make 2/3 of those calls automated and as a result there was a 75% decline in call handing time.
The WAVE wondered why are microphones not discussed in these sessions? Is not speech S/N ratio important? We spoke with LumenVox. The conversation began with a question – why is noise not discussed in the presentations on voice recognition?
The WAVE had dismissed the performance of voice as a biometric until we heard some of the arguments of the voice verification suppliers here at SpeechTEK.
Speech is the only biometric that can be used at a distance and does not require new infrastructure, i.e., a finger print or Iris reader at every location. As a result, it has established a position in password resets, electronic wire transfers and caller identification verification inbound to call centers. The WAVE spoke with four vendors and heard presentations on the role that speech verification is playing.
As the WAVE sat in on the presentations about speech recognition technology, we wondered – Is this not just another biometric?
Ponder the following definition of biometrics:
Speech is just a biometric. Individual speech recognition is the linkage of that biometric to an individual. As we have stated before biometrics does not have to be linked to security to be useful and some of the most interesting applications are not security related. This was very much the case in today’s presentations. Speech recognition is a form of pattern matching based on language and speech characteristics.
This perspective links to what was heard at AVBPA. Some of the most interesting applications of biometric technology are in cell phones. At AVBPA, we saw facial modeling used in phones while here at SpeechTEK, speech enhances the user interface. Thus, speech brings a strong contribution to convenience. We have also seen this on the security side of biometrics where individual identification can add convenience.
Biometrics when seen from multiple perspectives is actually a unifying technology for the human interface to technology.
Steve Change, Program Manager, Microsoft Speech Server gave presentation on Multimodality in Consumer Electronics. He stated that missing from the discussion on speech is the consumer value proposition- what are the costs and benefits? Some are claiming that speech has crossed the chasm but Steve challenges this. The applications today are narrow and have yet to reach mass market acceptance. Until serious examination is performed on the value proposition, outside of the obvious enterprise ROI arguments, the technology will remain in niche silos.
At SpeechTek, there was striking uniformity in how speech is used in individual verification:
Financial institutions - two primary applications
At the WAVE, we see a parallel with how fingerprints are used in large scale programs.
Thus, speech technology, in spite of being remote, is not just stand alone but a part of a multitier system. However, if a fingerprint is used as the entry device on the desktop, most solutions do not have such a multitier approach.
We found it interesting that password resets is one of the most common applications for speaker verification. Functionally, as long as one can get a password, this is the same as domain log on.
Not once were the words “identity management” used at SpeechTEK, but speech is a part of this. Users had their identity managed when they accessed their accounts or changed passwords. Just as we saw a broad view of identity management at Digital ID World, speech is establishing a role in the enterprise which is consistent with and a component of identity management.
***AppIQ Creates Open Community Program to Promote Standards-Based Storage Management; OpenIQ to Offer Storage Hardware Vendors, Software Vendors, Service Providers, and Enterprise Customers a Standards-Built Storage Middleware Platform
AppIQ, Inc., the Storage Management Software Company, has announced the creation of the OpenIQ program, a new open community initiative sponsored by AppIQ aimed at promoting and accelerating the development of standards-based management applications worldwide. OpenIQ will provide a reference platform that implements the Storage Management Initiative Specification (SMI-S) and Common Information Model (CIM) standards and will deliver a common set of specifications and programming interfaces, giving independent hardware vendors, independent software vendors, service providers, system integrators, and enterprise IT organizations a standards-built middleware platform. Whereas SMI-S provides a device integration standard and CIM provides a data model for IT infrastructure elements, OpenIQ will leverage these standards and the combined strength of the open community to provide the middleware needed to more quickly and cost-effectively build high-value storage management software.
Members of the OpenIQ community, which will include leading storage system, switch, host bus adapter (HBA), and server vendors as well as independent software vendors, service providers, and enterprise customers, will work together to define a storage management platform specification that describes a common set of application programming interfaces (APIs) for developing management applications. These interfaces will be packaged in an Application Development Environment (ADE), complete with a software development kit (SDK), API documentation, and developer support and services. An Application Run-Time Environment (ARE) will also be provided that can be bundled with management applications developed using the SDK. AppIQ plans to contribute specifications for its CIMIQ-X storage middleware platform to the OpenIQ community as a starting point, and plans to work with the Storage Networking Industry Association (SNIA) to ensure that the specification leverages and conforms to SMI-S.
AppIQ already has a strong track record of creating developer communities for standards-based storage management. The company's CIMIQ program, launched in 2002, has helped many storage vendors, including Brocade, Hewlett-Packard, Hitachi Data Systems, McDATA, NetApp, Silicon Graphics, Sun Microsystems, Xiotech, and others, accelerate the delivery of SMI-S hardware providers. The CIMIQ developer platform acts as a translation layer that converts device vendor APIs and SNMP interfaces into native SMI-S.
AppIQ CIMIQ-X is the storage management middleware platform that powers AppIQ StorageAuthority Suite, AppIQ's industry-leading SAN management and storage resource management solution family. CIMIQ-X abstracts management functions such as topology, navigation, dependency management, security, trending, real-time performance monitoring, workflow, and other management functions. CIMIQ-X integrates with SMI-S compliant devices, and with non-compliant devices through CIMIQ, to monitor, manage, and provision heterogeneous storage infrastructure, and provides the building blocks that support each AppIQ StorageAuthority Suite product module, including J2EE interfaces, a CIM and SMI-S-compliant data access model, a common agent, and a common configuration database. CIMIQ-X is used by AppIQ's own developers and AppIQ's OEM partners, including Engenio, Hewlett-Packard, Hitachi Data Systems, SGI, and Sun Microsystems, to develop new product modules and integration connectors.
***Productivity is in the 'Jeans'; Office Survey Reveals That Jeans and Sneakers are Hot While Ties and Pantyhose are Not, and Casual Attire is More Widespread
Casual clothing is sweeping the nation as 50% of women and 47% of men have worn jeans to work recently, according to a BizRate Research study of 1,396 online buyers conducted for leading comparison shopping search site Shopzilla. Survey respondents represented full-time office workers across various industries from government/military, education/training and healthcare to technology and entertainment.
Casual doesn't mean kickback
Casual is complex
Companies cater to casual
Why casual is cool
Casual Dress Fast Facts
What the boss won't let slide:
***Automotive, Consumer Goods and Transportation Industries Leading RFID Push, CompTIA Study Reveals
OAKBROOK TERRACE, Ill.
The automotive, consumer goods and transportation and logistics industries will lead the way in implementing radio frequency identification (RFID) technology solutions over the next year, new research commissioned by the Computing Technology Industry Association (CompTIA) reveals.
Just over one-half of more than 500 organizations surveyed in North America have either completed RFID implementations or plan to do so within the next 12 months. This includes companies that are evaluating, pilot testing, implementing, or currently using RFID.
Among specific industry sectors, the most aggressive adoption of RFID is planned in the automotive industry, where 59 percent of companies surveyed said they will deploy the technology over the next 12 months. The consumer goods industry and the transportation and logistics sectors were close behind, at 58 percent each.
CompTIA commissioned Frost & Sullivan to evaluate the growth potential of the North American RFID market. Specific topics covered in the research include growth opportunities for vendors; end-user perspectives on RFID implementation and workforce related issues; and the need for training and certification activities associated with growth in technology adoption.
The research found that 46 percent of consumer goods makers; 34 percent of food and beverage makers; and 24 percent of textile and apparel manufacturers are implementing RFID solutions because of a mandate from Wal-Mart.
By comparison, 70 percent of banking and finance companies, 70 percent of information technology firms and 67 percent of transportation and logistics companies are integrating RFID with their current business processes.
Forty-one percent of organizations surveyed intend to deploy RFID solutions across multiple sites, with the transportation and health care sectors the most likely to choose this route. Another 31 percent of organizations will implement RFID organization-wide. Twenty percent of organizations will deploy the technology at a single site only, and 17 percent will use it only for select products.
The findings are based on the results of a web-based survey of 510 North American companies, including current RFID users, prospective users and organization that have considered and rejected systems and applications featuring RFID technology. In addition, interviews were conducted with vendors for sales and support of hardware and software for applications utilizing RFID, IT systems integrators, resellers, and other channel organizations.
CompTIA is currently working with some 20 organizations active in the RFID industry to develop a vendor-neutral professional certification that would validate a technician's knowledge and skills in the areas of installation, maintenance, repair, and upkeep of hardware and software functionality of RFID products. CompTIA RFID+ certification is expected to be available later this year or early in 2006.
***ECA Launches Digital Library with More Than 300 Technical Papers
The Electronic Components, Assemblies & Materials Association (ECA) has launched a digital library that contains more than 300 technical papers taken from proceedings of recent CARTS and ECTC conferences. The library is easily accessed through the ECA Resource Central web site.
The new digital library enables visitors to search for individual conference papers by event name, title and keyword. Papers can be purchased as PDFs on the site and downloaded immediately for $10 each for ECA members and $20 each for non-members. During the coming months, the library is expected to double in size and include papers from additional CARTS and ECTC events, the annual relay and switch forum (IRSTC), and the wire and cable symposium (IWCS).
The Electronic Components, Assemblies & Materials Association (ECA) represents manufacturers and producers of passive and active electronic components, component arrays and assemblies, and materials and support services. ECA members benefit from a dynamic link into a network of programs and activities in areas such as business and technical information, market research trends and analysis, access to industry and government leaders, technical and education training, and others. ECA is the electronic components sector of the Electronic Industries Alliance (EIA).
***Dust Storms, (Real) Bugs, Intermittent Electricity or No Phone Lines? Intel Says 'No Problem'
At the Intel Development Forum, Intel Corporation showcased a rugged PC designed for developing countries that can better handle harsh climates, intermittent electricity, dust and bugs while accessing the Internet without wires. The effort is an example of the company's strategy to best address unique geographic and individual technology needs in all parts of the world.
Demonstrated on stage and via video from India, the Intel-based PC, or "community computer," is meant to provide Internet access to entire communities and villages in rural and remote areas. Through use of a car battery, the computer has a back-up energy supply in case electricity supply is sporadic and contains special screens and filters to reduce the amount of dust and insects that might enter the box and cause reliability issues. The computer has also been designed to handle extreme heat that exceeds 100 degrees Fahrenheit (more than 38 degrees Celsius).
The demonstration PC also linked to the Internet via a WiMAX wireless network. WiMAX, short for Worldwide Interoperability for Microwave Access, is a standards-based wireless broadband technology that can provide high-speed Internet connections to homes, communities, businesses and mobile wireless networks across many miles, making it an ideal way to unwire entire communities and cities.
Intel neither confirmed if or when the concept platform might be developed by local PC makers in India or elsewhere, nor provided any other details.
***Any Music, Any Format: Logitech Brings PC Music Anywhere in the Home Without Wires; Logitech Wireless Music System for PC Includes Everything Needed to Easily Stream Digital Music to Stereo System or Speakers
Experiencing digital music just got easier. Logitech has introduced the Logitech Wireless Music System for PC, which can stream any format of digital audio from the PC to a home stereo system or to a separate speaker system. No wireless network is needed; everything required is in the box.
The Logitech Wireless Music System for PC is a simple, three-piece solution: a USB music transmitter that connects to the PC; a music receiver that plugs into a home stereo receiver or multimedia speakers through a standard RCA port or a 3.5 mm jack; and a wireless remote control. In a matter of minutes, people can enjoy all of their PC audio, including their entire digital music collection, MP3 subscription service, and Internet radio, in virtually any room in the home.
The Logitech Wireless Music System for PC is targeted at the growing number of people who are buying digital music tracks and subscription services through online music stores such as Apple's iTunes or Musicmatch. A recent study by Parks Associates showed that two-thirds of online U.S. households listen to music on a home computer. And whether they use a portable player or not, most people don't have a good way to get their online music from the PC to their entertainment center.
The simplicity of the Logitech Wireless Music System for PC is due to the architecture of the Logitech Music Anywhere wireless technology. The transmitter and receiver are paired at manufacturing, ensuring they will instantly connect when plugged in. The proprietary technology provides crystal-clear digital audio quality and features adaptive frequency hopping, helping the product overcome any potential wireless interference. The USB-based PC music transmitter sends audio streams directly to the music receiver at a range of up to 100 meters (330 feet). The Logitech Wireless Music System for PC also includes software that allows people to easily switch back and forth between listening to music on the PC and wirelessly streaming it to another room.
The system's infrared remote allows people to control their music files from their living room couch, even though the files reside on the PC in another room. About the size of a credit card, the remote features controls such as volume up or down, mute, play, pause, skip forward and back. The remote works with today's most popular media players, including iTunes, Windows Media Player, Musicmatch, WinAmp, and RealPlayer -- there's no need to install a new player.
Logitech Music Anywhere Wireless Technology
The Logitech Wireless Music System for PC is just one of Logitech's new products featuring Logitech Music Anywhere wireless technology. Today, the company also announced the Logitech Wireless Music System for iPod, an easy-to-use product for people to wirelessly connect their iPod or MP3 player to their stereo system, and the Logitech Wireless Headphones for PC, designed for people who want to wirelessly listen to their PC audio as they roam around the house. The company also sells the Logitech Wireless Headphones for iPod and the Logitech Wireless Headphones for MP3, giving owners the ability to listen to their music player with no strings attached. Logitech's Music Anywhere technology is designed to provide digital music enthusiasts the freedom to enjoy their music listening experience in more places and in more ways, without any setup hassles or headaches.
Pricing and Availability
The Logitech Wireless Music System for PC will be available in stores and online beginning in September in the U.S. and in Europe.
***Sprint Precision Locator Helps Businesses Locate Fleets and Mobile Workers through Their Wireless Devices
Sprint has launched the Sprint Precision Locator. This solution is easy-to-use and quick-to-implement and helps small and large businesses track fleets and mobile workers. Businesses can ultimately enhance productivity and response times to customers by locating, mapping and messaging with resources in the field.
Sprint Precision Locator provides a powerful tool for dispatchers or supervisors who are monitoring a mobile workforce of a small or large company by allowing them to:
Phoenix-based Ace Asphalt has been trialing Sprint Precision Locator and is excited about the results. According to Ace, they knew a tool such as this would help them to manage their mobile workforce, but experiencing it first hand has been invaluable to understanding the benefits of real-time tracking and messaging. They found that replacing traditional radios with wireless phones and Sprint Precision Locator in their trucks provides a double win for -- more reliable field communications AND the ability to track the movements and whereabouts of those resources without the need for additional GPS hardware.
Sprint Precision Locator offers a single bill from Sprint for the application, and for a low monthly fee per user, companies have access to the Web-based application that is password-protected for privacy and can:
This location tool combines Sprint Business Mobility Framework capabilities with the application development expertise of WaveMarket. Sprint Precision Locator also makes optimal use of WaveMarket's patented WaveAlert technology, tracking software and Microsoft MapPoint Web Service, an open-standards-based development platform for creating mapping and location-aware applications and services.
***Strategy Analytics: GaAs at the Core of Fiber-optic Network Expansion; Profit Making Remains Elusive
The market for high speed fiber optic ICs will grow by 27 percent in 2005, from $280 million in 2004, according to "Fiber-optic Analog IC Market and Technology Dynamics," a new report released by the Gallium Arsenide & Compound Semiconductor Service at Strategy Analytics. After a considerable period of stagnation, service providers are once again purchasing optical capacity to meet their growing traffic needs. OC-48 and OC-192 links will be at the center of this growth, and the deployment of high capacity routers will also begin to stimulate OC-768 purchases. Overall, the market will grow at a CAAGR of 24 percent through to 2009.
Since much of the upgrades will be for backbone infrastructure, GaAs IC vendors will be at the heart of this development. While GaAs TIAs and post amplifiers will see increased competition from--mainly SiGe--alternatives, the crucial laser driver function will remain largely the domain of GaAs at higher speeds.
Despite this positive outlook, Strategy Analytics warns that industry consolidation will be required to counteract the effects of oversupply and intense pricing competition.
Strategy Analytics noted, that following the telecom industry meltdown a couple of years back, Capex budgets were slashed, and price became the primary competitive weapon for the numerous fiber optic device companies. Further, the market for fiber optic devices is there and it is growing. However, the IC industry is in a structurally poor state. For profitability to return, what is needed is not only growing demand, but some consolidation and stability among IC suppliers.
This report provides a comprehensive view of markets for Si, SiGe, GaAs and InP fiber optic ICs and also includes IC, module and systems vendor profiles.
***UltraCell Corporation Announces Portable Methanol Fuel Cell System With Breakthrough Micro Reformer Technology
UltraCell Corporation introduced a new fuel cell power source for portable electronic devices that has twice the energy density of lithium batteries. UltraCell's reformed methanol fuel cell (RMFC) technology uses a revolutionary micro reformer to generate fuel-cell-ready hydrogen from a highly concentrated methanol solution. This new portable power system has the power density of a hydrogen fuel cell but uses readily available, low cost methanol fuel in a convenient, compact package. Weighing just 40 ounces, the power unit is about the size of a paperback novel.
This new technology has already been developed by UltraCell as a prototype for the military. This original system, the XX90, was designed for up to 45 watts of continuous power. Subsequently, the U.S. Army's Communications-Electronics Research, Development and Engineering Center (CERDEC) awarded UltraCell a contract to accelerate its development of a more compact portable system to run at 25 watts. This new power source is being developed for commercial use as the UltraCell25 and will be available in 2006 for professional, industrial and mobile computing applications. Its name for the military will be the XX25.
UltraCell's micro reformer technology is designed to work in a user-friendly package that, with the push of a power button, self starts and feeds power as needed. The system's spent fuel canisters can be instantly "hot swapped," as needed, to provide continuous power in any remote situation. Whether for a soldier on mission or for the on-the-go laptop user, mobile executive, emergency first responder, researcher in a remote location, industrial video maker, or remote electronic monitoring, this means a nonstop supply of power anywhere, anytime. For greater flexibility, the system can even support batteries by serving as a portable recharging power supply.
The complete UltraCell system includes fuel processor, fuel cell stack, control system, balance of plant and easily replaceable fuel cartridge. Based on proprietary control algorithms, the control system manages a steady flow of power by adjusting pump and compressor settings. The revolutionary micro fuel cell generates no excess water, and consequently does not need a water management system, saving size, weight and cost versus alternative micro fuel cell systems. In addition, the UltraCell system uses a high temperature membrane assembly (MEA) from Pemeas in its fuel cell stack, resulting in high tolerance to CO and impurities.
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