Digium and Aumtech, Speech and Computer Telephony Integration company, announced a partner relationship between the companies.

According to them, Asterisk users now have a high-quality, low-cost Speech alternative, featuring server-based licenses that support 48+ ports of Automated Speech Recognition for less than the cost of one or two competitive ASR licenses.

Aumtech’s solution provides 48+ ports of multi-language speech recognition for the Asterisk platform with support for $1,975 per port.

The firm is introducing its Media Resource Control Protocol (MRCP) Connector utility, which enables Asterisk customers to access the high-quality Microsoft Speech Services 2007 ASR for a fraction of the cost of competitors’ ASR engines, as the company claims.

This includes unlimited grammars and multiple languages of ASR. Aumtech says the list of 14 available languages and voices is constantly growing, and there are successful installations in North America, South America, Europe and the Far East.

Asterisk users can access this speech solution on Asterisk and on a variety of Interactive Voice Response solutions, including Aumtech’s VoiceXML 2.1 Certified IVR platform, or other standards-based IVR platforms.

The Aumtech MRCP Connector for the Microsoft Office Communications Server 2007 Speech Server allows companies using Linux to build speech-driven applications with the Microsoft ASR product.

Since the MRCP Connector is based on the WC3 Forum’s open standard, applications running on open platforms such as Asterisk can access Microsoft’s Speech Recognition functions through Aumtech’s Connector. Existing Speech applications are also candidates for deployment on this solution, since industry standards ensure code portability.

Bill Miller, Digium’s vice president of product management, said, “Our Asterisk customers have long recognized the value of Speech Recognition applications; however, most have delayed implementing these technologies due to the high entry costs. Aumtech’s solution is the lowest-cost at higher capacities for world-class Speech technology and may prove to be the ‘tipping point,’ finally bringing speech to the masses, and will benefit our customers worldwide.”

Digium is the creator, sponsor and driving force behind Asterisk, the most widely used open source telephony software. The company’s software and hardware products enable businesses to implement turnkey unified communications solutions or to design their own VoIP systems.

Aumtech is the Automatic Speech Recognition systems provider for large enterprises, governments, and global carriers. Its innovations include the first SIP-based IVR, Automated Outbound IVR Notification, and a standalone CTI product, called ESP (“Economical Screen Pop”).

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