The availability of task-independent, robust speech recognition systems may be regarded as a key enabling technology for a variety of industrial applications in areas such as telematics, multimedia systems and and the human-computer interface. The SPRACH Industrial Advisory Board has been established to develop mechanisms to maximize the take-up of results from the project in these areas. The main expectations and interests of each industrial advisor relative to this project are discussed in Appendix B.2.
The Industrial Advisory Board has two principal roles:
Our industrial partners have interests in several applications to which the outputs of SPRACH will be directly relevant. The explicit focus on task independency in this project is important if the resultant speech recognition technology is to be integrated in a variety of industrial applications.
The BBC has made large investments in digital audio editing technology and has been involved in developments in this technology for several years. Further enhancements of existing systems might utilize a robust speech recognition technology by offering transcription of broadcast speech and text editing of dialogues as added features. Thomson-CSF also undertakes broadcasting activities through its Thomson Multimedia subsidiary.
Thomson also has an ongoing interest in developing a specialized voice-logging product to be included in existing software systems they have developed in the field of Air Traffic Control (ATC) and civilian Control Command and Communication systems. Such systems will be primarily dedicated to the transcription of dialogues (e.g. between a pilot and an ATC operator).
Daimler-Benz and CSELT have long-standing interests in speech processing. Daimler-Benz have developed spoken language dialogue systems for transport and mail-order applications, and wish to develop systems based on a flexible, robust and multilingual speech recognition technology.
CSELT have an existing research team concerned with connectionist approaches to speech recognition have a patent pending in this area. In addition to practical applications of current developments, they have an active interest in exploiting new theoretical models that may result from SPRACH.
In the framework of the FEDER initiative, FPMs (and its TCTS Department) was recently awarded a 5 years research grant from the European Communities and the Belgian Government (Ministère de la Région Wallonne) to reinforce its activities and to boost the industrial activity in the region. In the framework of that project (referred to as ``Multitel -- Objective 1''), it is clear that the results of SPRACH will be advertised and eventually distributed to local industries and SME's that are willing to exploit them.