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Technology / AI and automation


Microsoft Corp and Intel Corp are two of several investors participating in a fourth round of funding for Wildfire Communications Inc, the Lexington, Massachusetts-based computer telephony and speech recognition firm. The investments, of undisclosed size, are part of a total of $12m which the new round of funding has garnered for the six year-old company. Wildfire was started late in 1991 by Bill Warner, founder of Avid Technology Inc, the developer of video and motion picture editing software, and released its first products in 1994. It markets the Wildfire Electronic Assistant, primarily software, which uses speech recognition to manage telephone communications, and combines voice messaging, voice dialing and call routing within a single, voice activated interface. A recently previewed Enterprise edition connects any standard phone to the corporate local area network using a low-cost board. From there, the call goes over Ethernet to a server running Wildfire software, and from the server through an ISDN PRI card to a PBX or directly to the telephone network. Earlier this month, Wildfire announced strategic relationships with both Microsoft Corp and Symantec Corp to enable inter-operation with Microsoft’s Outlook desktop information manager and Symantec’s Act! contact management software. Wildfire also offers Network Wildfire, aimed at public telephone network carriers, and Wildfire Gold, a high-end subscription service. The company’s other three injections of venture capital funding came from Matrix Partners in September 1992, Greylock in September 1993, and AT&T Wireless/McCaw Cellular in January 1995.

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