Cingular inked a deal with Tellme Networks for its voice recognition software, which the carrier will use to power an enhanced 411 service to offer Internet-style searches in addition to traditional telephone directory information. The new service will enable Cingular subscribers to ask questions regarding local movie times as well as driving directions. Tellme can deliver the service as either text-to-speech or as an SMS. "Speaking is faster than typing and looking is faster than listening," said Jeff Kunins, VP for product management at Tellme.
Tellme is a major provider for automated directory services for carriers, but the rise of mobile content has generated a parallel demand for mobile search services. Tellme claims to handle 2 billion directory calls a year. Tellme powered AT&T Wireless' information services beginning in 2001--Cingular bought AT&T Wireless last year.
For more on Tellme's deal with Cingular:
- see this article from the New York Times