TAMPA, Fla. — GTE Telecommunication Services Inc. (GTE TSI) announced today the start of a nine-city product demonstration of voice-activated, location-based Internet information for wireless operators. The demonstration starts in San Francisco, May 31, 2000, and will roll out over the summer to eight additional top U.S. wireless markets. By dialing a toll-free number, a wireless operator can hear live traffic reports or enhanced mobile yellow page/brand listings that are features of GTE TSI's INPositionSM location-based service. Callers can request traffic for a specific location in that city or ask for a particular type of service listing using voice commands. GTE TSI has partnered with San Jose based-Voice Access Technologies to provide wireless customers with the voice user interface.
INPosition combines GTE TSI's wireless location-finding technology and content from several partners with Voice Access's voice technology. Unlike other products available in the increasingly competitive location services market, INPosition uses speech recognition, a technology that actually understands natural language including regional nuances and dialects. Other technologies only understand key words and or words that cue a menu.
INPosition is designed to be simple, easy and safe to use, especially while driving. When fully deployed by a wireless operator, the service will provide subscribers with near real-time information on traffic problems based on their location. In the San Francisco bay area, traffic content is supplied by multiple sources including the Internet and the California Highway Patrol and will be updated every one-to-four minutes. It is expected to be far more timely than radio reports available to consumers.
The mobile yellow pages feature will provide the nearest requested retail establishment based on the subscriber's location. This information will be updated daily and will be derived from the Internet as well as other sources.
"How many times have you been stuck in a traffic jam that could have been avoided with a warning just a few minutes sooner?" says Terry Lewis, president-GTE TSI. "Any commuter will tell you that radio traffic reports are generally unreliable in major metropolitan areas. That's why we believe that we have the killer application for wireless operators to offer their subscribers - up-to-the-minute traffic reports based on exact location available at the command of your voice. Our significant investment in this coast-to-coast product demonstration speaks to our belief that combining voice and location-finding technologies is the next wireless jackpot."
"This technology launch makes it possible for many for the 86 million wireless subscribers in the United States to receive voice-based Internet access from their carriers for the first time," said William Brockmeyer II, president and CEO, Voice Access Technologies. "We believe that wireless carriers will become the dominant providers of these services."
Unlike other services available, the length and content of INPosition traffic reports are unrelated to any advertising contracts. Wireless operators do have the option to brand the service and feature local traffic lingo or appropriate regional accents.
The Washington, D.C./Baltimore demonstration will be activated by early July. Atlanta, Chicago, Dallas, Detroit, Los Angeles and Miami will be launched shortly following.
INPosition's location-based application uses software from SignalSoft Corp., a leading international software developer. The traffic and business information accessed by consumers through INPosition services can be from a number of sources including the 15 companies in SignalSoft's local.info content alliance. GTE TSI has also established a relationship with Vicinity Corp., a leading provider of business location information over the Internet.
About GTE TSI
GTE Telecommunication Services Inc. (GTE TSI), based in Tampa, Fla., USA, is a global supplier of interoperability solutions to wireless, wireline, paging and Internet service providers to help them deliver seamless service and advanced features to their customers. In addition to operating the world's largest wireless data clearinghouse, GTE TSI's broad array of products includes inter-standard wireless roaming solutions, intelligent network services, fraud management solutions and other types of service bureau applications that simplify the complex technical and business relationships that exist in today's competitive global telecommunications industry. GTE TSI's customer base includes more than 220 telecommunications operators located in North America, Latin America, Asia-Pacific and Europe. GTE TSI is a strategic business unit of GTE Corp., a leading telecommunications provider with 1999 reported revenues of more than $25 billion. To learn more about GTE TSI, visit www.tsi.gte.com.
About Voice Access Technologies
Voice Access Technologies (www.voice-access.com) provides state-of-the-art voice-activated solutions and service availability management, allowing businesses to offer their customers interactive, voice-activated information via telephone or other communications devices.