ScanSoft, DiData kiss under Holly

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System integrator Dimension Data and speech recognition vendor Holly have allied to offer ScanSoft-based speech technology packages to Australian carriers, call centres and enterprises.

As part of the deal, speech recognition software by ScanSoft will be incorporated into Holly's voice platform while Dimension Data - which owns Holly - will add customer support and its experience in developing Australian speech applications.

Lance Berks, director for business development at Holly, said the Australian speech technology market was rapidly maturing.

'The partnership with ScanSoft is another strategic alliance that will enable Holly customers to deploy applications that deliver demonstrable business benefit and customer satisfaction,' he said.

Berks said the speech technology market was suffering increased competition, customer expectations and lower margins.

Main products of the three-way partnership will include open standards-based telephone call automation, speech recognition software, text-to-speech and speaker verification technologies, the companies said in a release.

'When speech technologies are coupled with integration, project management, design and networking skills, voice-driven applications can deliver customer service benefits and operational efficiencies internally and externally,' said Robert Allman, national business manager for Dimension Data in Australia.

ScanSoft had just acquired NASDAQ-listed voice specialist SpeechWorks International for 32.5 million in shares of its common stock. The shares were issued to SpeechWorks shareholders, who got 0.860 ScanSoft shares for every SpeechWorks share held.

Former SpeechWorks director Peter Chidiac has taken the reins at ScanSoft for the network speech unit in the Asia Pacific region. The Holly speech package could be deployed for organisations of any size, Chidiac said.

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