The Roundup: Voice Recognition Leaps In

In this week's Roundup, a look at why voice recognition technology may mean legitimacy for the wireless Web.
Voice Recognition: the Great Wireless Hope

The number of U.S. wireless Web users will increase from 4.1 million in 2000 to 96 million in 2005, according to New York-based Jupiter Media Metrix, but the market must still contend with the same old hurdles. Among the obstacles facing wireless Web users are bandwidth limitations, multiple service platforms, and numerous competing service providers. Another obstacle facing wireless adoption has been the awkward interfaces of phones, which are designed for voice, not data. That's why speech recognition technology could help fit the pieces of the wireless puzzle together. According to a report by The Pelorus Group, based in Raritan, N.J., the merger of wireless services and speech recognition will soon erupt into a multibillion-dollar juggernaut.

Voice interfaces will enable the increasingly large mobile public to communicate and tap into information on the fly, more easily, more safely, and more affordably. According to Pelorus, speech-enabled wireless Web subscriptions will increase from 5% of the market today, to close to 50% by 2005, generating more than $3 billion in revenue at that time.

Government Must Involve Itself in Broadband Growth

Dataquest Inc., a unit of Stamford, Conn.-based Gartner Group, Inc., issued a report stating that government must play a part in designing a true, comprehensive broadband infrastructure. The dedicated fiber-to-the-home (D-FTTH) market promises great potential for networking vendors, but governments will need to set the environment for investment in the access fiber infrastructure for this industry to succeed.

Gartner recommends that governments encourage/enable new entities - infrastructure providers - to own and operate the access fiber infrastructure. These infrastructure providers would have special privileges and obligations. They would provide each household within their area with access to a D-FTTH network over which any operator could provide broadband services.

Gartner Dataquest analysts provided the following recommendations for infrastructure providers: (1) The infrastructure providers should lease the use of their infrastructure to operators on a per-customer basis, according to the customer's choice of operator. (2) The infrastructure providers should be independent of any operator interests and should allow all operators equal or fair access to their infrastructure. (3) The infrastructure providers should have an ownership that is oriented toward long-term, low-risk investments and that will accept modest internal rates of return in business cases.

Congressmen Ignore Email

In an announcement that should surprise very few, yet is certainly disturbing as an indicator of the state of official email correspondence, the Congress Online Project said in a study this week that lawmakers regularly disregard most email they receive. Some senators are receiving upwards of 50,000 emails per month, the majority of them sent from out of state. Because of this, and because lawmakers lack the staff and hardware that would be required to respond, these messages are "routinely ignored."

Compiled by Zach Rodgers.

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