Can anyone shed any light on why HomeVoice has been discontinued?
Over the past several years several quadriplegics who relied on it told me it was the only VR software that was reliable enough to meet their needs so I am surprised to see that AFT has discontinued it. AFT licensed it (exclusively) from the company that originated it so, perhaps, someone else may pick up the license.
1) As I understand it, Applied Future Technologies AFT's HomeVoice was licensed from Voxware which in turn bought it from Verbex in 1999.
2) Voxware is in danger of losing its NASDAQ listing
lost $1.3M on revenues of $3.1M despite a reorganization. "Approximately a year ago Voxware made the decision to transition from direct selling of custom solutions that included proprietary hardware and software, to the sale through partners of productized, standards-based voice software that operates on open hardware platforms."
2) HomeVoice was a one-person show with reported problems in service.
3) The last upgrade was apparently five years ago (2002)
4) The software alone apparently cost more than $200.
5) The principle source of buzz about this software in this newsgroup has been Dave Houston who apparently has not used it himself but bases his comments on those of other anonymous sources.
6) HomeVoice was frequently advertised/bundled/sold with specialized hardware. I concluded long ago that the challenged and undocumented, unexamined, inaccessible claims of superiority of HomeVoice could easily be due to hardware that was tailored to quadriplegics and the merits of the software confused with those of the hardware by end-users and not to superiority of the software that was purchased from Verbex in 1998.
HomeVoice software has been the topic of discussion in other forums including in March 2005 HomeSeer in which HomeSeer founder Grant Tinker gives a bit of the history of the various and competing technologies (Dragon Systems, Joe Lernout and Paul Hauspie of L&H, Scansoft, and MS).
Could that be the same Rick Tinker who, when he worked for Home Automated Living, said that Hal2000 was the greatest thing since sliced bread while HS, HV and other voice recognition apps were toast and who now says that HS is the greatest thing since sliced bread while Hal2000, HV and other voice recognition apps are toast? I wonder what changed aside from which company now provides his butter?
One thing that has changed is that HomeVoice *is* toast. See message subject.
Another thing that has changed is I can pick up my TREO, command it by voice to call AMEX pay-by-phone, and pay my bill entirely with voice commands. Real transaction. Real dollars. Real simple. Really works. But not much to trash-talk, so prolly not of interest to some folks. I dunno what engine that particular banking system uses, but MS continues to try to make inroads into that market. HomeSeer uses MS SAPI5 and so can use any SAPI5 compliant engine.
FWIW, the SAPI 5.3 Windows Speech Recognition (WSR) engine included with Vista is version 8 and supports specialty dictionaries (aka "dictation topics". MS XP Tablet used version 6.1; The original XP didn't ship with any. Some manufacturers shipped their own SAPI5-compliant engines (eg, my Toshiba Tablet).
Here's the infamous MS Voice Wreckage-nition demo for those of you that missed it last August:
"Dear aunt, let's set so double the killer delete select all ".
The failure was reportedly due to an intermittent bug in the audio gain-setting software
demonstrating once again the sensitivity of Voice Commands/Recognition to audio signal quality.
Other than that, ;-) MS WSR seems to be catching up to Dragon Naturally Speaking (which I haven't evaluated/used since ~v7 )
I have both HAL and HomeSeer. Homeseer is so much better for my purposes, that the comparison isn't even close. Whether Tinker ever used the word "toast" is unknown to me, but would be appropriate in my case. I don't use HAL.
Gentle comp.home.automation participants may know that Dave's antipathy to HomeSeer dates to 1999-2000 when HomeVoice and Hal 2000 were being introduced and so is the beginning of the period over which Dave wonders "what changed". The fourth, unmentioned PC-based home automation software application that Dave doesn't mention any more is the Commander-X HA application that Dave wrote and promoted endlessly in this newsgroup during beta. As I recall, it went belly up within a few months of going commercial in ~ early 2000. Thar's sumthin else what changed ....