Tuesday, August 21, 2007

Cepstral LLC and Digium Inc. Partner up for IVR application for Asterisk PBX

PITTSBURGH, PA--(Marketwire - August 21, 2007) - Cepstral LLC and Digium Inc., working with popular IVR voice talent Allison Smith, have partnered to produce a Text-to-Speech (TTS) version of Allison's ubiquitous IVR voice. Allison is the default voice of the Asterisk® open-source telephone system, with millions of installed copies. Allison's voice can be found on systems for Verizon, Qwest, Cingular, Bank of America, Marriott Hotels, eBay, 3M, and other high-profile companies.

Now, developers can mix recorded Allison prompts with dynamic information, such as appointment or account information that cannot be prerecorded. This development enables the deployment of revenue-generating applications that seamlessly deliver high-quality recorded prompts with dynamic real-time information in the same familiar, natural high-quality voice.

Currently, IVR application developers generally have to choose between natural human sounding recorded prompts and computer-generated TTS prompts. When applications try to mix different human and computer voices, the effect can be jarring causing low user acceptance rates. While many TTS voices sound human-like, Allison is the first TTS voice captured using Cepstral's new VoiceForge™ technology. This allows applications to share static and dynamic announcements in the same user-friendly voice. "I'm excited that more IVR applications using my voice will be used in the world's most popular open source telephone system," said Allison Smith.

Allison is the first voice created automatically using VoiceForge, a new tool from Cepstral to capture and create unique voices. VoiceForge is a breakthrough for any company, entertainer, or brand manager interested in voice cloning their talent, banking a celebrity voice for an estate, or extending a franchise to include dynamic features such as audio blogs, VoIP announcements, SMS-to-Voice, Text-to-Podcast, custom ring tones, etc. "We created VoiceForge to enable rapid deployment of TTS voices based on actual human voices, and using the most popular IVR voice was a natural first implementation. But the possibilities are limitless," said Cepstral CEO Craig Campbell.

The use of VoiceForge to clone a synthetic copy of Allison's voice is a breakthrough for the Asterisk community. Developers no longer have to choose between prerecorded and dynamic prompts. The potential for creative applications using the world's most popular IVR voice in the most popular open source telephone system has been greatly expanded. "Many customers require dynamic information and are already using Cepstral's TTS voices. The addition of a synthesized version of our flagship voice, Allison Smith, enhances the caller experience and will further spur the deployment of applications on the Asterisk platform," said Jim Webster, Director of Technology Partnerships at Digium.

About Cepstral LLC

Cepstral is a speech technology company based in Pittsburgh, PA, USA, which provides speech technologies and services for the spoken delivery of information. We build high quality, natural sounding voices for hand-held, desktop, and server applications. Cepstral: We Build Voices.

About Digium Inc.

Digium®, Inc., the Asterisk® company, created, owns and is the innovative force behind Asterisk, the most widely used open source telephony software. Since its founding in 1999, Digium has grown to become the open source alternative to the traditional communication providers, with offerings that cost as much as 80 percent less than proprietary voice communication platforms. Digium makes Asterisk available to the open source community under the GNU General Public License (GPL) and uses business-class Asterisk to power a broad family of products for small, medium, and large businesses. The company's product line also includes a wide range of hardware to enable resellers and customers to design their own voice over IP (VoIP) systems. This year alone, Asterisk will support over 12 billion minutes of calls. Additional information is available at www.digium.com.


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