In 1876, seven fiery words radically transformed the direction and scope of business. The speaker was Alexander Graham Bell and the words were, “Mr. Watson, come here, I want you!” — the first dialog ever transmitted via telephone wire.
More than a century later, words continue to define, limit, and empower business. Life before cellular technology, fax capabilities, and Internet connections seems terribly cumbersome, antiquated and uninspired. Yet what lies ahead is simply mind boggling.
The speech and communication technology born in Bell’s Boston laboratory has grown immeasurably over the last 123 years. And as we approach the New Millenennium, engineers, scientists, and language experts are no longer working within the parameters of speech, but pushing past the edge of our wildest perimeters and enabling the world to conduct business without borders.
Today, in the birthplace of modern communication, three Boston-area companies are creating and finessing their technologies to facilitate global business. They are allowing retailers in Germany to communicate in real time with Japanese suppliers. They are providing Swiss investors with electronic agents working in the international stock market. They are donating instant translation devices to volunteers working in Kosovo refugee camps. And they are, once again, radically transforming the direction and scope of business.
Computer-aided language learning
Hollis, New Hampshire
“Within a matter of years, no one will learn French by going to a classroom for four days a week for five years. It’s absurd.”
— Founder and President Michael Quinlan
Intelligent software bots
“We have the skills to create a suite of bot-driven products that will address business needs for e-commerce, customer support and service, investment, etc.”
— CFO Robert Pantano
Speech recognition technology
“We believe that machines should conform to people. People should not conform to machines.”
— Director of International Sales and Marketing Andreas Widmer