HP Acquires PipeBeach to Strengthen Leadership in Growing VoiceXML Interactive Voice Market
HP (NYSE:HPQ) today announced the acquisition of PipeBeach AB, a Stockholm, Sweden-based provider of speech-based products and technology that enable the delivery of interactive voice solutions. HP plans to integrate PipeBeach's VoiceXML-based(1) products into its OpenCall suite of enhanced telecommunications software.
This acquisition significantly enhances HP's ability to help telecom service providers, network equipment providers and independent software vendors simplify the creation and deployment of VoiceXML-based applications. HP will be better able to provide these customers with the flexibility and agility they need to get to market faster, reduce costs and improve customer loyalty.
PipeBeach's VoiceXML-based products and technology enable users to speak into their mobile phones and devices to obtain Web-based information such as news, stock prices and e-mail, as well as conduct transactions, such as online banking. The information and options are conveyed to the user through speech - instead of text or images.
"HP is committed to the interactive voice market, and we intend to help our customers grow by providing them with a full spectrum of development tools, products and solutions," said Jean-Rene Bouvier, vice president and general manager, HP OpenCall Business Unit. "When we combine the advanced PipeBeach technologies - and track record in VoiceXML -- with HP's OpenCall portfolio and unique combination of telecom and IT expertise, we can establish HP as a global provider of interactive voice solutions."
Voice Gaining Momentum as Service Providers' Competitive Weapon
According to SRI Consulting Business Intelligence, spending on voice technology - including consultancy and systems integration - will increase rapidly to $20 billion in 2005 and to $40 billion in 2007.(2)
HP intends to build on its strong presence in the interactive voice market by leveraging the PipeBeach acquisition to accelerate the development of open standards for voice and multimodal technologies in three primary ways:
- By helping to deliver a complete VoiceXML development and deployment environment that will enable service providers and mobile operators to accelerate rollout of new, revenue-generating voice-enabled services
- By accelerating the growth of voice portals, which can help reduce customer service costs. As users increasingly opt for voice browsing versus calling a live operator for basic information and assistance, the cost per call has dropped from $5 for human-assisted service to about 50 cents for voice-automated service.(3)
- By helping increase customer loyalty through improved service. Voice portals can reduce wait times significantly because they are equipped to handle unpredictable spikes in call volume and allow users to interact directly with Web-based information and systems.
HP Brings the Voice Portal to Life
HP OpenCall speechWeb interacts between the telephone network and standard Web servers that host VoiceXML applications. It enables mobile users to interact with VoiceXML Web pages, using advanced speech recognition and text-to-speech or spoken prompts. Today, speechWeb supports approximately 40 languages.
The HP OpenCall speechWeb Portal Framework enables rapid service development of voice services in a portal environment. By calling a single telephone number, a user gets access to information services, such as news, sports or weather. The information also can be highly personalized, such as e-mail reading or listing of a personal stock portfolio.
Additional information on HP OpenCall software is available at http://www.hp.com/communications/opencall/.
HP delivers vital technology for business and life. The company's solutions span IT infrastructure, personal computing and access devices, global services and imaging and printing for consumers, enterprises and small and medium business. For the last four reported quarters, HP revenue totaled $70.4 billion. More information about HP is available at http://www.hp.com.
(1) Voice Extensible Markup Language.
(2) Financial Times, "Making more of a noise," by Douglas Hayward, April 16, 2003. (Research data from SRI Consulting Business Intelligence.)
(3) Financial Times, "Making more of a noise," by Douglas Hayward, April 16, 2003. (Research data from Giga Information Group.)
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