Scientists at Siemens Corporate Research have developed a prototype system that enables one to access e-mail messages or World Wide Web pages using any touch-tone telephone, including a cellular phone. For those away from the office, or with no laptop readily available, the system promises to fill one of the last communication gaps. Called DICE (Delivering Information in a Cellular Environment), it uses a computer algorithm and speech synthesis tools to analyze e-mail and HTML documents, and then play them back as audio. The algorithm not only analyzes a document's text, but also its structure for audio presentation. To use DICE, one simply dials up a service provider and uses the telephone keypad to access web pages; to respond, users key in a number on the phone to record a voice message. "We're working on converting the verbal response back into an e-mail message at the other end, and should support this feature soon," adds Arding Hsu, department head, Multimedia/Video Technology. Contact Guy Pierce at firstname.lastname@example.org.
The Beam Store from Suitable Technologies is managed by remote workers from places as diverse as New York and Sydney, Australia. Employees attend to store visitors through Beam Smart Presence Systems (SPSs) from the company. The systems combine mobility and video conferencing and allow people to communicate directly from a remote location via a screen as well as move around as if they are actually in the room.
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