Voyant Technologies Banks on Net Speech Service

Voyant Technologies is betting that speech capability will become a common Internet service.

The Colorado-based company is now marketing a platform designed to run voice over the Internet applications to a wide mix of ISPs (Internet service providers) and other companies.

Voyant's flagship product, its InnoVox platform, enables interactive voice response over the Internet and through the desktop. In other words, the platform adds interactive conversation to the digital applications available to Internet users.

The use of intelligent voice applications on the Net is increasing, with the technology being used in such areas as multipoint Internet conferencing, voice communication through Internet portals and data collaboration sharing, Dick Schulte, Voyant's chief operating officer, said in an interview this week.

Schulte said Voyant's technology can accommodate virtually any company that provides intelligent voice services, including telephony service providers that integrate voice applications over the Internet and Internet companies that deliver intelligent voice to their customers.

"We have an enabling technology that can be used in all these applications," he explained. "We see convergence at the desktop."

Voyant markets a software developer kit called CleverVoice for the InnoVox platform and an Internet-based voice conferencing application called ConferenceNow.

Within a month, Voyant will launch Click-to-Talk, an application that connects online merchants with customers through voice communications.

A spin-off of Frontier Communications Inc., Voyant became an independent company in August of last year. Voyant, which says it has 200 customers, aims to offer an IPO (initial public offering) by September this year.

One problem holding back widespread adoption of the technology remains limited Net bandwidth which is essential to ensuring rapid interactive voice communication, according to one analyst.

"The problem is guaranteeing a (high) class of service," Rob Enderle, an analyst with Santa Clara, California-based Giga Information Group Inc., said.

Voyant's Schulte said Voyant's InnoVox is well positioned as Internet bandwidth grows in size and speed. "We'll pace with network providers," he said. "The capability of IP (Internet Protocol) networks will continue to improve."

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