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MobileU: IBM, Wake Forest Team Up for Web-Enabled Speech Trial

Posted February 27, 2006

— IBM and Wake Forest University are working together on a trial of web-based speech enabled applications with the goal of simplifying campus life.

The MobileU program utilizes

IBM WebSphere Multimodal Environment software

for mobile phones. Wake students can use their phones to check on campus transportation updates as well as if any laundry machines are available.

"Through the MobileUproject, we are taking a leadership position in the creation of new mobile services to enrich the campus experience," said Jay Dominick, assistant vice president for information systems and chief information officer at Wake Forest. "IBM's WebSphere technologies are an important piece of our strategy to deliver these services for students and prepare them for their future careers in an increasingly mobile world."

The program enables students to ask through their phones "When will the next bus arrive?" at a bus stop. Global Positioning Satellite devices aboard the buses interface with a database IBM created and MobileU responds with information about bus arrival time. LaundryView provides information about machines in use that are linked to the Internet.

IBM is working with other universities with additional applications, such as parking lot monitoring, park and pay by cell phone, and a personal information management system that delivers news and other content by voice rather than requiring users to read text on a small screen.

"Web-based multimodal and speech technologies are a welcome solution to the information overload we all face today, representing a fundamental change in the software capabilities of mobile devices. In fact, without them the Web would be practically useless on mobile phones," said Igor Jablokov, program director of IBM's WebSphere Multimodal and Voice Portals. "In fact, without them the Web would be practically useless on mobile phones."

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