365 Corporation to launch Eckoh voice recognition

This month 365 Corporation launches its voice portal, Eckoh, offering a range of services, including e-mail, from any phone.

As well as being able to retrieve telephone numbers and make calls using voice commands, users will be able to take advantage of unified messaging based on text-speech technology to retrieve, hear, dictate and send e-mails by dialling in from any land line or mobile phone.

While the unified messaging facility is expected to appeal most to business customers, Eckoh will also offer a range of content aimed at a broader audience, including news, sport, entertainment and traffic reports, some of which will come from 365’s websites. Additionally, customers will be able to access services from partners such as HMV, Ticketmaster and William Hill.

The success of the venture is of key importance to 365, which last week reported a loss of &£47.5m for the year to the end of March, despite a turnover of &£50m.

However, as well as the opportunity to license the technology, Eckoh will open up a number of revenue streams, says marketing director Andy Eymond. “One is the access charge – although calls are charged at the national call rate, we have a revenue sharing deal with Cable & Wireless. There will also be premium services available, such as a legal advice line [and] there could also be anchor tenancy – the opportunity to buy the word ‘pizza’ for example.”

A marketing campaign for the service will break in the summer, running across TV, print, radio, the Internet and text messaging.

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