If you've ever tried to develop an application that did
anything with voice recognition or any sort of speech-related
technology, you know that it's not easy. Well at least it
never used to be...
I actually caught this just in time to squeeze it into
last week's NewsFlash, but I didn't get a chance to give
you anything but the basic link. Well then when one of
my contacts at Microsoft checked to see if I had seen it,
it started to dawn on my how big this is going to be.
Talking to your web server via cell phone and having it
understand and answer you... this I can't wait for. Don't
get me wrong, it'll still be some work, but we're getting
to the point where it'll be feasible for everyone and not just
Here's The Message From Microsoft
It's nothing extrodinary, but here's the letter I got from
my contact at Microsoft making sure I had seen the news.
Not sure if you saw last week's news, but Microsoft announced
the availability of .NET Speech SDK beta. This toolkit is a
set of SALT-based speech application development tools and
speech controls integrated with VS.NET and ASP.NET. Overall,
Microsoft recognizes the challenges in the industry with
regards to speech recognition, and is very committed to
bring speech into the mainstream.
The .NET Speech SDK is the first tool that will enable Web
developers to ad speech functionality to both new and
existing Web applications for multimodal and voice-only
access. In addition, with it's VS IDE integration it
enables millions of VS developers to quickly and easily
configure their Web applications for speech.
Here is a link to the press release:
and here is a great site for information on .NET Speech:
That's basically the news so I won't waste any more of your time...
here are those links again... go check it out and start
getting ready for a
whole new level of internet usability:
It's a little hard to find so here's
the page where you can order the actual SDK. If that doesn't
work try going from this page.
I'm sure they'll have a download page at somepoint, but as of
today I don't think there's a place to download the SDK.
If there is, I couldn't find it.
I Got My CDs
I got the Beta SDK CDs in the mail the other day and I've gotta say I'm impressed.
I was just playing with their demo/walkthrough application, but in a matter of a few minutes I
was able to add both speech recognition and voice prompts to a web page. If you've got any
interest in speech technologies, I'd give this a look.
The main downfall at the moment is that in order to use it for most web stuff it looks like you
need to install what Microsoft is calling Microsoft Internet Explorer extensions for interpretting
SALT markup. Without it IE doesn't have a clue what you're trying to do. Even so... speech
this easy is scary.
I guess I'm still thinking back to the days when I was trying to run voice
recognition software on my 486 and you had to spend 30-45 minutes training the voice recognition
dictionary and even then you ended up with a bunch of nonsense. While testing this
I was intentionally mumbling (even more then usual) and it was getting things right
more often then not! Granted you need to spend some time setting up the grammar file
(so it does has a limited number of options to choose from), but even so it's impressive
that I didn't have to tell it what a newly added option sounds like.
The demo even includes an all voice interface version... now if only I knew my web server's
If I can get all the client side requirements straightened out, maybe I'll put up a demo...
which brings up the interesting question: "What type of server load will this type of app cause?"
Guess we'll wait and see.