NATURAL MICROSYSTEMS TECHNOLOGY DRIVES VOCEVIVA, THE PAN-EUROPEAN VOICE PORTAL THAT ALLOWS PEOPLE TO HEAR THEIR MAILS Wednesday 14 March 2001 PDF Print Tiscali S.p.A. Deploys NMS' Award-winning Voice Portal Platform Natural MicroSystems (NASDAQ: NMSS), the technology leader enabling a new era of communications, today announced that Tiscali S.p.A., a leading European Internet and Telecommunications service provider, has deployed NMS' voice portal platform to drive the VoceViva service that debuted in January. Through a combination of voice and any ordinary mobile or fixed telephone, VoceViva connects callers to a world of information that includes news, finance, weather, sport scores and even horoscopes. NMSs technology enables text to speech recognition allows people to hear the content of their e-mail messages and to reply, simply by speaking into their phones. VoceViva is available today in Italy and is expected to become the first pan-European voice portal as Tiscali extends the service to other nations already served by the company's no-fee Internet access. During the course of the year, Tiscali plans to launch VoceViva in most European markets. The free service (the charge for the metered local phone call is the only cost) is available by calling (+39) 01 43434343 or any one of three local numbers in Milan (02 3090.8482), Rome (06 4340.8482) or Cagliari (070 460.8482). Tiscali developed both the VoceViva VoiceXML-compliant browser and the VoceViva Voice Portal Application Server, based on Java? 2, Enterprise Edition (J2EE) which enable the service. The voice portal application runs on NMS' Alliance Generation? (AG?) telephony platform, which handles speech recognition, media processing and high-capacity connections between the VoceViva Voice Portal Application Servers and telecommunications networks. "VoceViva will give voice to content for consumers all across Europe, and it will offer businesses new opportunities to talk and listen to their customers," said Mario Mariani, Vice President of Marketing of Tiscali. "These goals call for a carrier-grade technology platform that assures a high-quality caller experience, the agility to implement quickly and the ability to grow. Tiscali chose NMS because the company has clearly demonstrated the strengths required to develop world-class telephony solutions." Tiscali selected the AG telephony platform because of its success in large-scale voice portal implementations; its price/performance leadership; exceptional scalability; proven robustness in voice-activated applications; and a development environment that provides access to speech as well as telephony capabilities. To achieve ongoing freedom of choice in technologies and platforms, as well as rapid time-to-market, NMS' open systems design was an absolute must for Tiscali. The expertise of NMS' technical services team was another prime advantage that enabled fast implementation. "Working with Tiscali to deploy its voice portal throughout Europe will be a landmark step for NMS," said Brian Demers, general manager of network solutions for Natural MicroSystems. "Having established itself as a leader in next-generation communications with TiscaliNet Internet access, Tiscali is in a strategic position to extend the reach of the voice Web with VoceViva. NMS is pleased that its rich line of high density platforms has already started contributing to this exciting advance." Mobile Phone Usage Sets Stage for Voice Portal Success in Europe With its pervasive usage of mobile phones, Western Europe is considered an extremely promising landscape for voice portals. Projections from IDC place the Western European cellular services subscriber base topping 300 million by 2004. IDC states that Europe is now a "mass market" for cellular service with more people expected to own a mobile phone than a fixed phone by 2004. "Voice portals are a natural play for Western Europe because people are served extraordinarily well using mobile phones," said Mark Winther, Group Vice President of Worldwide Telecom for IDC Corporation. "Look for Tiscali and NMS to build on their advantages with great execution of audio-enabled services. Tiscali's broad geographic reach will allow it to introduce millions of subscribers to the convenience of these new services. The company also recognizes the vast potential ahead for businesses, such as creating self-service options for call centers. And NMS voice platforms are already deployed within leading voice portals in the U.S., which enables a forceful company like Tiscali to proceed with confidence." About NMS' High-Density Platforms for Voice Portals NMS' Alliance Generation platform is specifically designed to drive rapid development and deployment of highly scalable voice-driven Web applications, voice portal solutions and voice-enabled e-commerce solutions. The platform combines NMS' award-winning AG4000? media processing hardware, the Natural Access? development environment and speech recognition software from premier suppliers such as Tiscali. In a cost-effective single-board solution, the platform gives service providers and solution developers' access to industry-leading capabilities that they need to implement, run and expand voice-powered applications, such as: · Unmatched high density. The platform supports a maximum of 120 ports in a single-board solution - with more than double the port density of competing alternatives for lower development cost and greater scalability. · Industry's only simultaneous play and record or full-duplex capability for barge-in. Barge-in enables callers to interrupt prompts by saying commands at any time, instead of waiting to hear complete menus. Barge-in can be used on all channels of the board without reducing the number of ports available to applications. · On-board, software-based echo cancellation. Robust on-board echo cancellation further enhances sound quality and increases caller satisfaction with voice-enabled services. About Tiscali Tiscali S.p.A., (Nuovo Mercato: TIS), is one of the largest and fastest-growing Internet network companies in Europe, providing access, content, applications and services to 7.7 million registered subscribers, of which 4.0 million are active, as of December 31, 2000. On January 8th, Tiscali signed a deal for the acquisition of Liberty Surf, the second-largest Internet provider in France, which will make Tiscali the second-largest Internet Provider in Europe, with 10.7 million registered subscribers, of which 4.9 million are active subscribers. Tiscali has the largest geographical footprint of any European Internet provider. Tiscali was officially listed on the Nuovo Mercato in October 1999. About Natural MicroSystems Natural MicroSystems (NASDAQ: NMSS) is the technology leader supplying the world's major networking and communication equipment suppliers with the products and services required to create communications infrastructure, applications, and services faster and at lower costs than ever before. The Framingham, MA-based company designs, develops and supplies network-quality hardware and software, and provides design and customisation services. These enable the highly reliable and effective creation, delivery and transport of voice and data, services and applications on next-generation public and enterprise network infrastructure. Deployed in more than 65 countries, NMS' products and technologies are at the foundation of today's high-value communications systems and wireless and wireline networks, including enhanced service platforms for packet and circuit networks; access gateways for voice-over-IP (VoIP), voice-over-DSL (VoDSL) and voice-over-Wireless Local Loop (VoWLL); IP media servers; voice portals and Web-talk applications; virtual personal assistants; and eCRM. The company also provides platform solutions for converged applications in packet networks, enabling carriers and service providers to deliver differentiated services quickly and cost effectively - with guaranteed levels of quality and service. NMS has a long history of technology innovations that advance the rapid growth of the communications industry worldwide, including breakthroughs such as the first complete open IP gateway, the first complete open packet media server and leadership in bringing open, scalable CompactPCI to the telecommunications industry. More information about NMS is available at http://www.nmss.com Natural MicroSystems and Natural Access are trademarks and Alliance Generation is a registered trademark of Natural MicroSystems Corporation. Java and all Java-based marks are trademarks or registered trademarks of Sun Microsystems, Inc. in the United States and other countries. All other product or corporate references are trademarks or registered trademarks of their respective companies. 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