Syntropy pair give XML a voice

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Former Sol 6 MD Neville Buch and Dattatech director Matthew Tutaki are gearing up to launch Sydney-based Syntropy, an outfit that has secured the right to market software that translates XML text into voice.

Buch and Tutaki – who were central figures in a proposed management buyout of AlphaWest 6 in July – have scored the exclusive rights to market Audium, a VoiceXML software application developed by a New York based company with the same name.

Syntropy is using the open standard Audium server application as a building block to develop voice XML applications which will be customised to suit customer requirements, said Tutaki.

Buch and Tutaki have self funded the business and through a private third party investor have exclusive access to the Audium technology in Australia and non-exclusive access in South East Asia.

Described as speech recognition in reverse and using existing website and telecommunications infrastructure, Audium can translate XML text residing on a server and translate it into voice.

He claimed that an XML call would generally only cost between 15 and 50 cents per transaction, much cheaper than what it costs to have someone employed at a call center. “It's not IVR, VoiceXML is a little bit more progressive than that and a little bit more complicated,” said Tutaki.

He said for example, that travelers could use a mobile phone to hook into the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade's website to get access to text-based travel warnings that had been posted on the site.

”The website can call the mobile phone and translate the entire message from text to speech over the phone to them,” he said.

Another example would be a user requiring a street address from a mapping website. The user could call from a mobile phone and the server software would find the relevant text on a server and translate it into voice.

In the US, United Airlines for instance use Audium for a booking system and Citibank in New York use it as an ATM locator.

“Instead of have to go into a branch or ring a call center to find out where the nearest ATM is, it can call into the [Citibank] website and it will locate the nearest ATM for you. It's kind of like GPS in a way,” he said.

Both Tutaki and Buch have spent the past few months setting up an office in North Sydney which has five staff, including three developers. Syntropy is in the process of putting together some pilot sites, which Tutaki declined to name.

“The strategy is to move into the market next year and the target would be the small to medium size business environment. We have a watching brief on the market to see how it adapts to the technology, but it's been in the US for some time and it's working there.

“The good thing about the application is that everything is customised around what the business problem is and the business problem could be that we [a customer] spends far too much [money] on transactions,” he said.

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