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VI.1 Jan./Feb. 1999
Page: 7
Digital Citation

What’s happening

Jennifer Bruer

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All major unified messaging functions are managed by speaking in a natural way to Conversa Messenger. Using Conversa's proprietary speaker-independent, continuous-speech recognition engine, Conversa Messenger allows for the most natural and accurate speech control yet achieved for personal computers in a very complete voice mail, email, facsimile and address book package.

Judged by a distinguished panel at the 1998 Computer Telephony EXPO in Los Angeles, CA, Conversa Messenger was recognized with a Best of Show award. Conversa Messenger is a desktop application, so there are no monthly service fees or per minute charges. Messages and contact information can be accessed from a cell or landline phone, or directly at the desktop, thereby managing data and messages remotely and locally. With Conversa Messenger's Conversational User Interface (CUI), the user who is constantly on the road can easily call Conversa Messenger, in effect speaking with a virtual assistant. Conversa Messenger sits transparently on top of, and works seamlessly with, any Windows Messaging API (MAPI) client application, including Microsoft Outlook and Conversa Messenger's own client application that is included within the package.

back to top  How Does Conversa Messenger Work?

Rather than simply substituting spoken commands for mouse and keyboard input, Conversa Messenger provides the ability to interact with various messaging functions, as you would during a conversation with a personal assistant. This is accomplished through the interaction of a number of basic processes.

The first process is the speech recognition, or conversational process. Conversa's speech recognition system, CASSI (Conversa Advanced Symbolic Speech Interpreter), is perhaps the fastest and most accurate speaker-independent recognition technology in its class. Once CASSI understands the utterance, the decision layer begins. CASSI's recognition of a word or phrase allows the system to determine the topic of conversation and to even drill down into a specific subject within that topic—in essence, CASSI determines the context of the conversation. CASSI then activates the relevant conversation, which in turn delivers relevant conversational data to the system so that intelligent interaction is engaged with the user. The retrieval of data represents the final step.

back to top  A Unified Conversational Messaging Package

Conversa Messenger is a state-of-the-art unified messaging software package that provides simultaneous email, voice mail and facsimile capabilities. It is one of the first integrated and speech-enabled Windows 32-bit Internet/telephony products that was written, from the outset, to leverage the full potential of the Windows 95 and Windows 98 operating systems. Also, it was designed to be among the first speech-enabled communications products to cross over the boundaries of the consumer and SOHO (small office, home office) marketplaces. All features are available to the user through a traditional graphical user interface (GUI) and many features are available through application of the conversational computing natural language speech interface.

Please visit the Conversa Web site for further information on the company and its products, at

back to top  HFES Placement Service Goes Online

The Human Factors and Ergonomics Society recently announced that its Placement Service is completely web based and free for job seekers. The service is platform independent—any HFES member anywhere in the world who has internet access, a web browser, and email can access it anytime. Candidates can post a resume in the HFES Placement Service database by accessing the web site, answering a few questions, and pasting in the resume text from any word processing program. The information the candidate provides automatically becomes completely key-word-searchable to make it easy for potential employers to find all the candidate's qualifications. And if the candidate prefers to remain anonymous, the "Confidential" selection protects the candidate's identity until he chooses to become known to the employer. Candidates can also search the jobs database using criteria such as job description, location, salary, and more.

Visit the HFES Web site ( to find out more.

back to top  Call for Papers

Lawrence Erlbaum Associates, Inc. announces its new publication Transportation Human Factors. Barry H. Kantowitz of Battelle Human Factors Transportation Center is the editor. The journal's three main goals are: to link human factors professionals with transportation professionals by providing a venue that is useful to both disciplines; to link North American researchers with their counterparts in Europe, Asia and Australia; and to emphasize common issues that cut across the different transportation modalities.

  • Interested contributors should send 4 manuscript copies to:
  • Barry H. Kantowitz
  • Battelle Human Factors Transportation Center
  • 4000 NE 41 Street
  • Seattle, WA 98105

Manuscripts should follow the style specified in the latest edition of the Publication Manual of the American Psychological Association. Authors are responsible for obtaining permissions from copyright owners. The transmittal letter should state that the manuscript, other than research reports, has not been published nor is it being considered for publication elsewhere. Authors may also include a list of potential referees for their manuscript. Research articles must be accompanied by a statement that informed consent was obtained from participants and that the ethical rights of subjects were protected. The editor strives to provide timely reviews that minimize the time between article submission and publication. All manuscripts in acceptable style will be reviewed by members of the editorial board and outside referees if appropriate.

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©1999 ACM  1072-5220/99/0100  $5.00

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