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Intel hosts Beijing speech forum

The two-day forum will focus on accelerating speech recognition applications for the Chinese market.

Intel will host the first International Speech Forum in Beijing on Monday, an effort to advance speech recognition technology for Chinese markets.

Intel and other companies back speech recognition applications because they have the potential to be a "killer app" that needs powerful PCs to work well. Additionally, China is seen as a huge possible market for speech recognition, because the language's complex character system does not lend itself easily to touch typing.

"In China, they have difficulty in getting character input into a Western keyboard," said Rob Sullivan, director of content technologies for Intel. "This is a way to increase the adoption of PCs in China."

Dragon Systems, Microsoft, Lernout and Hauspie, and IBM, whose ViaVoice 98 is the first available Chinese speech recognition application, will join Intel in the presentation.

"IBM has been in China over three years, and we're very excited to see our partner Intel over there as well. It's a big market and we've seen great success already," said a spokesperson for IBM's speech division. "Keyboards are much more challenging there--on average, it takes six keystrokes per symbol."

"Historically, Intel has taken a pretty broad look at enabling technologies," Sullivan said. "The algorithms [for speech recognition] are very computer-intensive--the grammar-checking and broader sentence checking that is necessary to get accuracy."

The two-day forum will look at accelerating speech recognition, with the goal of incorporating voice into all desktop applications. More than 500 software developers and peripheral vendors are expected to attend.

"What we know is the computer is really going to change over the next five years," Sullivan said. "There is so much opportunity to integrate technology into applications."

Intel is an investor in CNET: The Computer Network, publisher of New.com.

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