Intel, Microsoft season speech with SALT
- By John K. Waters
Intel and Microsoft are jointly developing technologies and a reference
design based on the Speech Applications Language Tags (SALT) 1.0 specification
submitted to the World Wide Web Consortium (W3C) in August. According to Intel,
the reference design will include the Microsoft .NET Speech platform along with
Intel architecture servers, Intel NetStructure communications boards, and Intel
telephony call management interface software.
The SALT spec defines a set of lightweight tags as extensions to commonly
used Web-based programming languages. 'The idea,' said James Mastan, director of
marketing for Microsoft's .NET Speech Technologies, 'was not to reinvent the
wheel, but to take advantage of the existing Web infrastructure and standards,
and simply add some lightweight standards that allow developers to add speech to
their Web applications in an integrated fashion.'
In so-called multimodal applications, these tags can be added to support
speech input and output, either as standalone events or jointly with other
interface options, such as speaking while pointing to the screen with a stylus,
Mastan said. In telephony applications, the tags provide a programming interface
to manage the speech recognition and text-to-speech resources needed to conduct
interactive dialogs with the caller through a speech-only interface.
The two companies claim that use of Intel telephony building blocks and the
Microsoft .NET Speech platform will help customers more quickly and easily
speech-enable Web solutions.
'By using the Microsoft .NET speech platform running with Intel Architecture
servers and Intel NetStructure communication boards, we will broaden the reach
of speech-enabled applications,' said Howard Bubb, vice president at Intel and
general manager of the Network Processing Group, in a statement. 'The use of
standards-based ... technologies in the reference design brings the element of
modularity to the solution, and provides higher performance, lower development
costs and quicker time to market for resulting products.'
The partners plan to develop and test their respective technology components
and the reference design so developers can build speech-enabled Web applications
for the enterprise market segment. Together, Microsoft and Intel will also
engage in joint sales and marketing activities focused on their respective
enterprise and channel customers, distributors, technology partners, ISVs and
the Web developer community.
The Microsoft .NET Speech platform is designed to allow companies to develop
and deploy self-service applications for the telephone and a range of mobile
devices with a natural speech interface.
Microsoft describes its .NET Speech platform as an 'open, non-proprietary
SALT-based solution for deploying Web-based speech applications.' It is a
central component of the company's SALT-based offerings. Microsoft was the first
company to release a SALT-based development tool. The .NET Speech SDK is a suite
of dev tools and speech controls that integrate with Visual Studio .NET and
John K. Waters is a freelance writer based in Silicon Valley. He can be reached