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High Wycombe, August 8th 2001 – Mobile solutions provider MATERNA Communications today announced the launch of ‘SMS-to-Speech’ in the UK. The SMS-to-Speech service makes it possible to send an SMS to a conventional fixed line telephone network number. This step is a sign of MATERNA’s commitment to continue widening the choices for communicating – this time by using the brevity and discretion of SMS in the fixed line environment.

An SMS message is switched to the desired telephone number via the MATERNA Information Center and is then converted into very realistic, natural sounding speech in one of 4 automatically recognized languages; English, German, French or Spanish using RealSpeak software from Lernout & Hauspie and subsequently ‘read out’ when the recipient answers the phone.

SMS-to-Speech is a value added service for mobile providers, which extends MATERNA’s existing Gateway services, which already includes SMS-to-E-mail, SMS-to-Fax and SMS-to-SMS, marketed under the Anny Way brand. The SMS-to- Speech service has already been successfully implemented for mobile users by German mobile service providers D2 and e-plus. E-plus has achieved unprecedented levels of take-up for the new service from a standing start with over 35,000 SMS-to-Speech messages being sent per day.

Michael Ohajuru, Sales and Marketing Director at MATERNA explains: “Extending the reach of SMS into the fixed line environment has obviously captured the public’s imagination in Germany. This technology offers important benefits such as opening up the SMS experience to reach the visually impaired. It will also allow children to easily keep in touch with parents who do not have mobile phones. “

Ohajuru continues: “Advances in technology such as SMS-to-Speech will continue to encourage new ways of communicating in the same way as text revolutionized the way people use mobile phones. Time will tell what quirky uses will emerge in the area of SMS-to-Speech.”



Further information:

Rose Ross
Tel: +44 (0)20 8255 5225

Michael Ohajuru
Sales and Marketing Director
MATERNA Communications plc
Tel: +44 (0)1474 470 470
E-mail: and

About Lernout & Hauspie

Lernout & Hauspie (L&H) is the global leader in the field of advanced speech recognition and language processing solutions for vertical markets, the computer industry, the automotive industry, telecommunications, embedded products, consumer electronics and the Internet. The company uses the Speech User Interface (SUI) as the key for an uncomplicated, convenient interaction between man and machine and overcomes language barriers by means of advanced translation technology. Amongst the L&H range of products on offer are tailor-made solutions for companies; core language technologies for OEMs, end user and retail trade applications for continual speech products on horizontal and vertical markets as well as the drafting of documents, services in the field of machine and human translations, translation services via the Internet and linguistic aids.

Further information is available at

About MATERNA Information & Communications

The MATERNA group is a leading software distributor specialising in information and communications technology. The company currently employs over 1,250 members of staff worldwide and achieved a turnover in 2000 of 178 million Euro (DM 349 million). In addition to its headquarters in Dortmund, the company has branch offices throughout the whole of Germany as well as in France, Austria, Belgium, the Netherlands, United Kingdom, the Czech Republic and Hong Kong. MATERNA’s Business Unit Information creates e-business solutions for electronic trading on the Internet. The Internet strategy "e3-solutions“ comprises services in the fields of e-business, e-customer relationship management and e-management. The Business Unit Communications offers products and solutions in the areas of mobile solutions and unified messaging. These primarily include mobile value added services based on WAP and SMS, which are marketed under the brand name Anny Way.

More information is available at

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