A tiny Devon, UK-based speech recognition company claims to have been granted some key patents that could relate to technology now on the market from IBM Corp and Dragon Systems Inc. The patents, held by AllVoice Computing Plc, relate to technology that enables the process of direct dictation, while maintaining an audio link to the text. AllVoice says its system creates and maintains an audio link to words that are dictated, even when the user has made subsequent changes using the keyboard, mouse, or additional speech inserts. A second patent relates to the invention of a process, known as delegated correction, built into AllVoice’s WordExpress product, available on the market for some time. It enables the dictator of the text – AllVoice presumes a great many of them will have little or no word processing knowledge – to pass any corrections or additions to an editor or secretary. Amendments are then automatically fed back to the author’s voice file, improving the accuracy of future speech recognition, says the company. Allvoice, established in 1980 as AllTypes Ltd, has written applications on top of IBM’s VoiceType Speech Engine and Simply Speaking series, and Dragon’s DragonDictate and Dragon NaturallySpeaking. It is currently unclear whether IBM or Dragon will be affected by the patents. IBM’s speech sales and marketing executive Elaine Richards says the computing giant holds some 70 patents based around speech products and didn’t know how the company would be affected. Allvoice managing director John Mitchell, who describes speech recognition as a natural evolution from word processing, said he was not prepared to comment on the voice patents it holds, saying the company’s lawyers were currently dealing with information he could not divulge.
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