AVIOS Speech Conference in Israel Draws Both Academia and Industry

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Keynote from Michael Cohen of Google

The Applied Voice Input/Output Society

The Applied Voice Input Output Society (AVIOS), the speech industry’s non-profit industry organization, organizes a number of conference and local chapter meetings to serve the needs of its members and the general speech community. The sixth annual AVIOS Israel Conference took place on June 22, 2011 in Tel Aviv, Israel, with support from the AVIOS Israel chapter and

The Afeka Center for Language Processing (ACLP). The joint effort, the first annual “Speech Processing Day,” was a conference intended to bring together the local speech community from both academia and industry. There have been several successful yearly AVIOS Israel conferences.

The first day of the conference was devoted to four professional seminars presented by Prof. Al Oppenheim of MIT, Dr. Sara Basson of IBM Research, Prof. Lawrence Rabiner of Rutgers University, and Dr. Matthew Yuschik, an independent consultant.

The keynote lecture at the second main day of the conference was given by Dr. Michael Cohen, who leads speech recognition research at Google. The talk outlined Google's future plans in the field. Dr. Cohen commented after the conference: "Amazing job of organizing a rich program for the conference. I was pleased it was so well attended by people with such technical depth - leading to many interesting conversations."

The conference became an international event this year, with many talks from speakers from outside Israel. Out of the 180 participants, about 40 were from outside Israel--Spain, Portugal, Russia, France, Germany, and the US. The Conference sessions dealt with different technologies - speech recognition, speaker recognition, emotion recognition, as well as uses of these technologies in various markets, such as the mobile, smart home, and security markets (the last presented by defense leaders on uses of technology by intelligence organizations).

According to Dr. Nava Shaked, Chairman of AVIOS Israel, "This year we cooperated with Afeka College to organize an international conference, aimed to expose the activities of Israeli companies engaged in speech technology while learning about activities carried out in the international field. As someone who has worked for many years in man-machine interface design, the recognition of the maturing of speech technology into a practical and effective alternative is important to academia, industry, and the customers that make use of sophisticated voice services. "

According to Professor Ami Moyal, who heads ACLP, "Speech recognition technology will impact all areas of our life, from the operation of the smart home by speech, using game consoles by young and old, interacting with the mobile phone with many apps, self-service customer service centers, web search by voice, the creation of medical reports, and more. This technology will be pivotal to human communication."

Dr. Basson commented, "I come from IBM's global research in the United States, but have just returned from a research mission in India, where I engaged in developing methods for searching the Web by voice using a simple mobile phone, a solution supporting populations that have no direct internet access. Speech technology is of international interest, and Israel has a significant community that deals with this area."

Shaked said that, after two days of intense conference activities, the international participants were treated to some recreational activities, sampling the night life of Tel Aviv and visiting some historical sites. As with all AVIOS-sponsored activities, such as the upcoming Mobile Voice Conference in the US, social connections among participants are encouraged.

The Israeli Local chapter AVIOS Israel was officially announced in 2005. Dr. Nava Shaked, the conference organizer, is the chairperson of the local chapter and an active member of the AVIOS board. Other local chapters include Australia, California, Canada, Europe, New England, New York/New Jersey and Washington DC.

Dr. K. W. 'Bill' Scholz, AVIOS President, commented "we have been encouraging the growth of AVIOS local chapters across north America, Europe, the middle east, and Australia in an effort to reach across many geographies in an effort to raise awareness of speech technology as a tool that that helps the general public. This objective is met, not only by Dr. Shaked's highly successful conference, but also by our annual trade show, the Mobile Voice Conference, scheduled for next March in San Francisco."

About AVIOS:

The Applied Voice Input Output Society (AVIOS) has been the speech industry non-profit organization for over 27 years. AVIOS is dedicated to promoting the practical use of speech technology, including technologies such as speech recognition, text-to-speech synthesis, speaker identification and verification, speech analytics, speech understanding, and voice search. To meet this goal, AVIOS sponsors local chapters and international conferences.

About the Mobile Voice Conference:

The third addition of the Mobile Voice Conference will be held in San Francisco, March 12-14, 2012. The conference covers the impact of the growing use of voice as part of the user experience on mobile devices, including its impact on expectations of customer service. The first day of the conference, the Vendor Showcase, is free. The conference program is organized by Bill Meisel, president of TMA Associates and Executive Director, AVIOS. For more information, see http://www.mobilevoiceconference.com.

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Peggie Johnson
AVIOS
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