Archive for October, 2006

De Tijd looks back on L&H – and forward on speech technology

Wednesday, October 25th, 2006

This week Flemish newspaper De Tijd is running a series on Lernout & Hauspie Speech Products (LHSP), which went bankrupt five years ago. On the occasion, the newspaper has also opened an L&H weblog moderated by Rudy Haegeman, founder and former top executive of Real Software.

Today’s edition of De Tijd features a full-page interview with Peter Hauser, Senior Vice President and General Manager of International Operations at Nuance. Mr. Hauser was asked to comment in general on the current status of speech technology, and more particularly on the LHSP originated contribution. No less than 25% of this year’s total revenue of 320 million USD comes from technology originally developed by L&H; Realspeak, still the text-to-speech flagship product, is one example. Looking at these numbers, Scansoft’s acquisition in 2001 of LHSP assets for USD 40 million was “a bargain”, as later acknowledged Paul Ricci, Chairman & CEO of Nuance (and previously of Scansoft).

Peter Hauser reports increased usage of text-to-speech and speech recognition in call centres, financial institutions and telecom operators. Judgeing from the high number of registrations that I have received so far for a half-day seminar on existing implementatons of speech technology in Belgian call centres, I fully agree with Mr. Hauser that “LHSP has developed beautiful technology that is still standing”.

The company LHSP may be no more, but its technology legacy is alive and kicking, that’s for sure.