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Nuance Unveils Nuance Voice Search, Breakthrough Solutions for Automated Directory Assistance

New Offerings Optimized for Directory Assistance, Category and Advertising-Supported Search, Interpretive Technology and Unprecedented Performance Backed by Data from Billions of Calls

BURLINGTON, Mass., April 10, 2007 -- Nuance Communications, Inc. (Nasdaq: NUAN), a leading provider of speech solutions, today introduced Nuance Voice Search (NVS), a premier portfolio of speech solutions for automated directory assistance (DA). The solutions introduce a revolutionary technology framework that gives callers, either from wireline or wireless phones, faster and easier access to the information they need, while simultaneously increasing call automation rates for carriers and service providers. Within this speech environment, NVS introduces newly created capabilities for automated DA with interpretative capabilities and new applications for business category search and advertiser-supported search.

From a foundation of unparalleled speech resources and the experience gained from automating tens of billions of calls, Nuance delivers an optimized caller experience by interpreting what callers want, and then delivering information to them, quickly and accurately. The cornerstone of the solutions portfolio is an entirely new speech solution that delivers a more natural and interactive experience for callers. Unlike traditional systems that fail when they cannot match a caller’s request to an exact listing from the database, Nuance Voice Search can interpret a search request irrespective of ambiguity or incomplete information.

“Nuance has pioneered the use of speech technology to conduct information searches, and now powers more voice search requests than any other vendor,” said Michael Thompson, general manager and vice president, Telecommunications, Search and Communications, at Nuance. “Significant advances from our research laboratories, coupled with real-world data from the world’s largest speech implementations, have created a significant leap forward over other solutions available today. Only Nuance can provide carriers and providers with the comprehensive, speech-based directory solutions that support the broad range of applications and opportunities in this market.”

At the heart of the Nuance Voice Search solutions is the Nuance Super Search technology with unprecedented recognition capabilities that are crafted specifically to the task of applying speech to Directory Assistance requests. The solutions recognize an exceptionally broad range of words and phrases applied to tens of millions of listings, without requiring highly complex, manually created vocabularies and grammar rules. Several key patent-pending technologies from Nuance deliver the superior performance of the Nuance Super Search including:

  • Unsupervised Learning – Nuance Voice Search is the industry’s first solution to use Nuance’s patent-pending Unsupervised Learning, an application of artificial intelligence capabilities. Using the new technology, NVS-based deployments can continuously and automatically improve performance by learning from operator actions for manually routed calls, automatically generating statistical rules that push search performance higher. For example, if Joe’s BBQ Shack is frequently requested by callers as “Joe’s Barbecue,” then as operators manually direct requests for Joe’s Barbecue to the Joe’s BBQ Shack listing, the Super Search Engine will recognize that trend and begin to automate that routing rule.


  • Dynamic Disambiguation – Nuance Voice Search uses a state-of-the-art, patent-pending disambiguation engine to reduce the number of qualifying questions asked of callers before getting a desired listing. The result is a faster, more natural caller experience. For example, if a caller says: “Uh, the Safeway please,” traditional systems will typically respond with “I’m sorry I didn’t understand that, just say the listing name,” then the system will ask “on what street?” and finally it might ask “for what department?”. By contrast, NVS reduces the steps from three to one by simply saying: “For Safeway, I found the following listings – Safeway Corporate headquarters, Safeway market on St. Josephs Street, and Safeway customer service on Stoneridge Ave. Which do you prefer?” The result is a very positive caller experience, quickly connecting callers to the information they need, in a fully automated way.

The Nuance Voice Search solutions portfolio includes the following:

  • NVS-Directory Assistance - Through enhanced call routing capabilities, an improved caller dialog, and dynamic disambiguation techniques, Nuance Directory Assistance quickly interprets a caller’s query and accurately delivers relevant and personalized information. The new platform combines a more natural and interactive experience for DA callers with the industry’s most advanced technology framework to help service providers achieve both an improved caller experience and higher automation rates.


  • NVS-Business Categories - This new application enables callers to conduct a “Yellow Pages” type search for businesses or points of interest by simply stating a search category – “Taxi in Boston, Massachusetts” or “Chinese Restaurant, Menlo Park, California.” Callers can simply state their information requests using an infinite variety of phrases or terms to search by city and state, and Nuance delivers a relevant list of options from which callers select a specific business. Nuance can also deliver additional information about the selected business, including hours of operation, driving directions, and opportunities for relevant advertising, such as coupons or discounts.


  • NVS-Free DA - Nuance is uniquely equipped to deliver business results to advertiser-supported DA providers, such as 1-800-FREE411 from Jingle Networks and 1-800-YellowPages from AT&T. The new Nuance Free DA application automates business name or category searches with seamless integration to advertising engines.

About Nuance Communications, Inc.

Nuance (Nasdaq: NUAN) is a leading provider of speech and imaging solutions for businesses and consumers around the world. Its technologies, applications and services make the user experience more compelling by transforming the way people interact with information and how they create, share and use documents. Every day, millions of users and thousands of businesses experience Nuance's proven applications. For more information, please visit www.nuance.com.

Nuance and the Nuance logo are trademarks or registered trademarks of Nuance Communications, Inc. or its affiliates in the United States and/or other countries. All other trademarks referenced herein are the property of their respective owners.