SpeechTek Innovations

On August 2nd, I attended SpeechTEK along with associates from Gold Systems.
SpeechTEK is focused on leading-edge speech technologies such as natural language recognition, business applications that utilize speech (like password reset), speaker verification, and customer service. Donald Peterson, CEO of Avaya, gave the keynote for the day. As part of his address he mentioned cool new speech applications, such as an application that will allow you not only to buy tickets to a sporting event from your cell phone but to see what certain seats look like on the phone’s display before you purchase them. Exciting stuff!
What really got me excited, however, was when Don showed a video of a prototype Avaya is working on with Johns Hopkins Children’s Center: a futuristic, hands-free, intelligent communications product for nurses and other medical personnel.
Employees can review records while walking, check schedules, etc. An authentication system provides an access protocol that cannot be broken. They also are experimenting with location tracking through Bluetooth technology – for example, creating the ability to enter commands such as, “locate the nearest member of the Emergency Response Team” – to provide quick response to medical situations. In addition, “presence” and “contextual” information provides communications services that know when personnel are available and understand the context of the situation – also referred to as “intelligent communications.” This is proof yet again that information technology is rapidly changing the medical profession: we have only begun to see the positive potential.
But the best part was yet to come. Highlighted on the video, for her leading-edge research at Hopkins, was my former colleague at Avaya and long-time collaborator, Doree Duncan Seligmann. Doree is one of the pioneers of intelligent communications – she and others at Lucent and Avaya have been speaking about presence, context and persistence for many years.
Doree and I worked together on the Lucent MMCX product – the Multimedia Communications Exchange. Released in 1995, the MMCX was one of the first VoIP communications systems in the marketplace. It was also a very early, if not the first, instance of intelligent communications.
I was glad to see Doree showcased – she is truly a top inventor and luminary for us all.

Lucy Sanders is Co-founder and CEO of the National Center for Women & Information Technology (NCWIT) and a Bell Labs Fellow.

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