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April 4, 1997updated 05 Sep 2016 12:45pm


By CBR Staff Writer

Many in the computer industry have no doubt that in the not-so- distant future speech will be the primary way in which we interface with PCs. While this may seem inevitable, there is still the small matter of getting there, and two products introduced this week could be important milestones along that road. Dragon Systems Inc of Newton, Massachusetts announced its Dragon NaturallySpeaking product and Voice Pilot Technologies Inc of Miami unveiled Voice Pilot 3.0 software. Dragon NaturallySpeaking – for Windows 95 and NT – is a major step up from the DragonDictate software-only product, introduced in 1994, because of its continuous speech capabilities and 30,000 word active (and 230,000 word backup) vocabulary. It allows the user to speak in a natural, conversational manner (aside from vocalizing punctuation) and produces text in its own application which can then be printed or copied into applications such as Microsoft Word, Corel WordPerfect or Lotus Notes. The continuous speech technology – as opposed to discreet or distinct speech technology – enables dictation at speeds of up to 100 words per minute or more because the user doesn’t need to worry about distinct pauses between each word. After an initial training exercise which allows for adaptation to the unique speech patterns of the individual, NaturallySpeaking boast a 95% accuracy rate in an office environment. Voice Pilot 3.0 for Windows 95, the company’s latest offering in the lower-priced distinct speech market, is a direct result of over two years of work with IBM to base a product on Big Blue’s VoiceType engine. Voice Pilot 3.0 has the unique feature of a real time two-way foreign language interpreter for use in internet chat mode. The speaker dictates his message in English and it is transmitted in real time through the interpreter to the recipient, who reads it in his native language. Spanish is available now, with other languages to follow shortly. The product also comes with a full line of organizational tools such as a calendar, scheduler and notepad. Its slower distinct speech format boasts 98% accuracy after training. Voice Pilot 3.0 requires a Pentium processor, 24MB of RAM and about 40 MB of free disk space. It is currently available for $100 until June 30 – $150 after. Dragon NaturallySpeaking requires a Pentium, 32 MB of RAM (48 for NT) and 50 MB of disk space. The Personal Edition, expected to ship late this quarter, will go for about $700 and the Professional Edition will follow later this year with a price tag of $1,000. á

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