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For Information Contact:
Michael Dickman, AT&T Labs
(973) 360-8133 (voice)
(908) 672-1002 (wireless)






FLORHAM PARK, NJ -- AT&T Labs Natural Voices™ Text-to-Speech (TTS) Engine received the “Technology Innovation Award” for Telephony Based Speech Technology in 2001 and was named “Technology of the Year” by Frost & Sullivan, a global leader in international strategic market consulting and training.

The award, which recognizes AT&T Labs’ outstanding achievement in enterprise equipment and software, is presented to companies that demonstrate the diligence, perseverance and dedication required to excel in the increasingly competitive global marketplace.

“Naturalness” was AT&T Labs’ key competitive advantage cited by Frost & Sullivan in awarding the honor to AT&T Labs Natural Voices speech engine. “AT&T has refined the method of creating natural-sounding speech output,” according to Ronald Gruia, senior analyst at Frost & Sullivan. “Natural Voices’ synthesized voice has gained an industry-wide acclaim as being the most natural sounding text-to-speech engine for U.S. English in both standard male and female voices.”


The report also noted other differentiators for AT&T Labs Natural Voices speech engine, including its foreign-language support, reduced processing and storage needs, price, and rapid implementation timeframe. AT&T Labs Natural Voices TTS engine is well positioned in these areas, as attested by its quick success in the relatively short time since its introduction. “The Natural Voices speech engine is highly regarded in categories such as intonation, phrasing and cadence, which differentiated the software from other speech solutions,” Gruia added.

“We are delighted that Frost & Sullivan, a research firm with depth in the area of speech technology, has recognized the technological achievement that AT&T Labs speech engine has delivered to the market,” said Lex McCusker, general manager of AT&T Labs Natural Voices products. “We have the brightest minds in the world working on this technology, which ensures our leadership position in this industry for many years to come.”

AT&T Labs speech engine has been selected by some of the nation’s largest providers of integrated speech products and services including Nuance, TellMe and BeVocal, among others. As more companies standardize on AT&T Labs Natural Voices text-to-speech engine, AT&T expects to win a growing share of the projected billion-dollar market for TTS systems over the next five years.

AT&T Labs Natural Voices speech engine operates on platforms from large servers to the desktop to meet the needs of developers and businesses of all sizes. The speech software is offered in both male and female voices and currently supports three languages: German (Reiner and Klara), Spanish (Rosa), and English (Mike, Crystal, Rich and Claire). New languages are being introduced about every three months.

The advantage of using AT&T Labs Natural Voices text-to-speech engine is its ability to simultaneously support different languages for dialogue or multi-language applications efficiently and effectively. For example, a company offering voice portal services can support multiple languages for international customers with one AT&T Natural Voices TTS engine and multiple foreign-language voice fonts (all on the same hardware platform). Additionally, AT&T Labs Natural Voices speech engine can be updated to accommodate new languages as they become available.

Although no applications are bundled with the software, the AT&T Labs Natural Voices TTS engine is compliant and works immediately with Microsoft’s® Speech Application Programming Interface (SAPI 4.0, SAPI 5.0 and 5.1). The software development kit (SDK) for all three editions (Server, Server-Lite and Desktop) of the engine enables developers to create SAPI-compliant applications or use the C++ Application Programming Interfaces to create TTS-enabled applications. The Server edition is targeted to corporate IT managers, Value Added Resellers, Internet Service Providers, Application Service Providers, and integrators. The Server-Lite edition is aimed at application developers and small businesses, while the Desktop edition is intended for application developers.

List price for the Server edition SDK of the Natural Voices TTS engine is $5,000; the Server-Lite edition SDK is $499; and the Desktop edition SDK is $99. (Royalty, port-based, CPU, or .wav-file pricing must be negotiated with an AT&T Labs Natural Voices sales representative for commercial use.) Additional voice fonts in all languages are $49.

From the first synthesized speech system in 1939 to today, AT&T Labs has long been the world’s speech technology pioneer, creating the highest quality and most robust speech systems available anywhere. AT&T Labs holds more than 150 patents in speech technologies. AT&T Labs can also create custom voices that are unique to specific customer applications.

AT&T Labs’ Natural Voices TTS engine is helping companies of all sizes create new revenue-generating applications and services. By using text-to-speech technologies, companies are improving customer relationships with pleasant-sounding voices, providing anywhere/anytime mobility, personalizing regional dialects and accents, and lowering customer call center expenses.

More information about AT&T Labs Natural Voices TTS products can be found at www.naturalvoices.att.com <http://www.naturalvoices.att.com>. The Server-Lite and Desktop editions of the TTS engine can be ordered online, as can AT&T Labs Natural Voices fonts and languages. The Server edition TTS engine and customized voice icons should be ordered by phone by calling the AT&T Labs Natural Voices Help Desk at +1(877) 741-7321 (toll free for U.S. callers) and asking for “sales”, or by calling +1(973) 360-8513.

About AT&T Labs Natural Voices Speech Products:

AT&T Labs Natural Voices Text-to-Speech (TTS) Engine was launched on July 31, 2001. Considered to be one of the most human-sounding computer-speech systems in the world, AT&T Labs TTS engine has the capability to recreate practically any voice. The product consists of a text-to-speech "engine" that turns written words into natural-sounding speech, a library of male and female voices in different languages, and the ability to custom develop a voice that becomes the unique property of the customer. New languages are introduced approximately every three months and product enhancements are added on a regular basis. Headquartered in Florham Park, NJ, the product team leverages the talents and expertise of AT&T Labs, one of the world’s premier corporate research organizations. Since its introduction, AT&T Labs Natural Voices products are quickly becoming an accepted standard by which all other TTS engines are measured.

About Frost & Sullivan:

Frost & Sullivan, a global leader in international strategic market consulting and training, presents Market Engineering Awards to companies that demonstrate the diligence, perseverance and dedication required to develop a successful business plan and excel in the increasingly competitive global marketplace. Frost & Sullivan rigorously analyzes specific criteria to determine Market Engineering Award recipients in a variety of regional and global market landscapes. Founded in 1961, Frost & Sullivan is headquartered in San Jose, Calif., with offices located worldwide. For further information, visit www.frost.com.

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