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February 15, 1988

VOTRAX GOES TO BERKELEY SYSTEMS FOR “NATURAL” SYNTHESISED SPEECH TECHNOLOGY

By CBR Staff Writer

Troy, Michigan voice processing technology specialist Votrax Inc has teamed up with Berkeley Systems Technology Inc, San Jose, California to provide advanced speech synthesis capability for the Votrax line of voice-based processing systems. The agreement gives Votrax an exclusive licence to market products incorporating Berkeley’s speech synthesis technology in Europe, North and South America. The partners will form a new joint company to complete the development of the Berkeley technology and adapt it for application to Votrax products. To be based somewhere in Silicon Valley, the new company, will operate as a subsidiary of Votrax, and Berkeley will get Votrax shares to the value of up to $500,000 if it completes technology development goals within the year. Votrax will also back the new company with up to $300,000, as needed, in development funding. Votrax looks for the Berkeley speech synthesis technology to open up a significant new market for Votrax within the expanding audio automation industry. The superior quality of BST synthesized speech makes it more acceptable to the public because it does not sound monotonous or robotic, according to Votrax president Peter Schmitt. The new, natural-sounding speech can be used for larger scale applications including talking yellow pages, electronic speechmail, automated catalogue sales, computer-based information services provided by government agencies and share price and financial news services. Privately-held Berkeley Systems was formed in 1984 and completed the research and development of its speech synthesiser prototype in 1986; the product was first demonstrated early last year.

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