Issue: Nov 2006


Play Country, and Where's the Cash Machine?



by Lenny Case

A technology deal between IBM and Pioneer Europe, Inc., has just made it safer and easier for a driver in just about any car to control a GPS-enabled navigation system hands free, using their voice to find ATM machines, banks, gas stations, stores, restaurants and directions to just about any destination.

Previously the exclusive domain of the luxury car market, voice-controlled satellite navigation systems allow drivers to keep their eyes on the road and hands on the wheel while accessing directions, news and music in virtually any car. IBM designed speech algorithms, created by scientists from IBM Research Labs, provide speech recognition and text-to-speech conversion capabilities for the Pioneer navigation system.

Pioneer chose IBM's Embedded ViaVoice software to speech-enable its AVIC-HD1BT aftermarket navigation system, which can be installed in most cars and delivers information, entertainment and convenience to drivers.

"Speech recognition is at the beginning of a tidal wave in cars," said Geert Verhoeven, manager of product planning for navigation, Pioneer Europe. "A driver can now enter destinations, search for points of interest and access their music on the built-in hard drive using their voice. Pioneer chose IBM Embedded ViaVoice as its source for voice technology because of its proven quality and high performance on embedded platforms used in real world environments."

"The combination of Pioneer's conversational voice search capability and IBM Embedded ViaVoice help provide AVIC-HD1BT customers with an unprecedented user experience," Verhoeven said.

Software and electronics comprise a rapidly growing percentage of innovation and differentiation in cars today, adding up to billions of dollars. IBM's telematics solutions featuring IBM speech technology increasingly allow access to real-time data, benefiting
customers virtually anywhere they are. IBM's advanced software and
telematics solutions featuring IBM Embedded ViaVoice deliver IBM speech technology to mobile devices including smart phones, handheld personal digital assistants and automobile components.

The Pioneer AVIC-HD1BT system can be installed in most vehicles with a double din opening, featuring a voice recognition system for navigation destination entry and audio track search. It has hard disc navigation and entertainment systems with a 10GB music library and Bluetooth telephone interface. Navigation, music library and telephone are voice controllable, using IBM Embedded ViaVoice technology. The AVIC-HD1BT won the prestigious European Imaging and Sound Association (EISA) Award as European Navi-Media System of the Year 2006/2007.

"We're extending IBM's leading voice-enabled telematics technology in additional markets including consumer electronics and service provider solutions, enterprise solutions and set top box/digital media solutions," said Jim Holland, product line manager, Embedded Speech, IBM Software Group. "IBM has an industry leading quality track record and we work closely with our customers to integrate our technology into their solutions. We view Pioneer's selection of IBM Embedded ViaVoice for the AVIC-HD1BT as an excellent example of what can be done when the technology from the right companies are combined to bring innovative solutions to the market."

Made in IBM Labs

IBM has more than 300 speech patents, over 300 developers and about 100 researchers in worldwide speech labs including New York, Tokyo, China, Haifa, India and Almaden working in more than 15 languages.
Pioneering more than 30 years of speech research, IBM's global lab network participates in customizing speech technologies to individual markets, changing the way society lives, works, drives and communicates.

The AVIC-HD1BT's advanced voice recognition has a large vocabulary, allowing it to understand a broad array of spoken commands. Drivers can retrieve registered locations by saying a command, such as "go to my office." Alternative words for the same command can be used, so that 'go to' or 'search' can be used, instead of 'destination,' for example.

Using a 30-gigabyte hard drive, the AVIC-HD1BT uses the Tele Atlas map database to offer dynamic route guidance, detailed mapping and valuable road information in 22 European countries. In some areas, navigation includes lane information, letting the driver know specifically which lane to be in for the next turn. Almost 3.7 million points of interest help make it easy to find gas stations, restaurants, stores and other business listings.

Voice commands for audio-visual sources and other attachments like Bluetooth wireless technology-enabled cellular phones are just as easy. Drivers can directly access the built-in music library, which is 10GB of the hard drive allocated to ripping and storing a personalized music collection of their CDs. Contents of the music library can be accessed by simply saying the artist name, song title, genre or album title. Similarly, customers can wirelessly access their Bluetooth-enabled phones to place a phone call, and to speak hands-free through the built-in microphone on the AVIC-HD1BT and speakers on the vehicle.

"Our agreement with IBM and Pioneer puts us at the forefront of delivering highly accurate and advanced digital geographic content for next generation voice-enabled mapping applications," said Tele Atlas global product marketing vice president, Basak Ozer.

The company's telematics offerings will leverage technologies within IBM Embedded ViaVoice and Pioneer's AVIC-HD1BT. IBM Embedded ViaVoice provides highly accurate and reliable speech recognition, while the AVIC-HD1BT enables conversational search and navigation of media, traffic and other digital content from devices used in the car or mobile phone.

The technology is available to automakers and the consumer aftermarket immediately.

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