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November 1, 1999


Lou Saviano
Maita/Saviano Public Relations
510 739-0621 Lets Users Talk to Web Sites, Listen to E-mail, Buy Online via Any Phone

Speech Recognition Technology Lets You Use the Internet
Without a Computer

SAN JOSE, CA -- Nov. 1, 1999 -- Using the Internet soon will be as simple as picking up a phone, thanks to a new service being developed by San Jose-based an audio Internet Service Provider.

The service, known as netECHO, lets users get to the Internet to check e-mail, hear information on any web site, search or perform e-commerce transactions, all through any phone. Speech recognition technology lets users give simple voice commands like Yahoo, or e-mail to get the Net-based information they want, when they want it, without a computer. A computerized voice reads the information aloud over the phone.

netECHO lets people unleash the power of the Internet simply with the sound of their voice, said Dr. Emdad Khan, president and CEO. netECHO makes it possible for anyone -- people without a computer or away from a computer, mobile workers or the visually impaired, for example -- to use the Internet anytime, anywhere. They can e-mail, surf, search, or conduct e-commerce, anytime, anywhere, whether they’re out on an appointment, stuck in traffic, sitting in an airport, or cooking dinner.

netECHO uses technology that integrates text-to-speech, speech recognition, telephone interface, multi-media and Intelligent Agents. Patents are pending on’s innovative technology.

Unlike other Internet access services being developed, netECHO does not require a phone with a visual display screen, a special intelligent phone, or voice-enabled web sites. Instead, subscribers to the service will be able to use any phone wired or wireless -- to get to any website voice-enabled or not -- on the Internet. The intelligence is in netECHO’s server.

We are an audio Internet Service Provider, offering true Internet access through a simple telephone Dr. Khan said. Unlike other ISPs, we present the Web to you in audio form, rather than the visual forms everyone else offers, so you can get the information you want even when you do not have a computer.

Subscribers dial a toll-free number to reach the netECHO server, and are asked to say a password and log-on ID. From there, they’ll use simple voice commands to check for new e-mail messages, surf, search or trade on the Web.

netECHO will read the important content of a web page, but not the distracting and annoying ads or images that vie for attention, Khan said. When you hear an item which you want more information about, you select it by voice and you’ll be taken to the newly selected destination.

We named the service ‘netECHO’ because it goes to the Internet, retrieves the desired information, and echoes it back, Dr. Khan said. The service will be available nationwide in the first quarter 2000 for a flat monthly fee.

netECHO can be customized to meet the needs of the subscriber. For example, users can bookmark their favorite pages, select a male or female reading voice, and define the amount of information they want read at a time.

Users can also select a default home page, so someone interested in late-breaking news might select CNN or MSNBC as their starting point. Customers who choose the home page as their default will find links to many popular websites, facilitating easy and quick access to important information, including news, driving directions, stock quotes and weather.

Transactions that can now be conducted over the Internet using a computer, such as product purchases and stock trades, are also possible using netECHO.

The product is expected to appeal to a wide variety of market segments, including:

  • mobile business people who need information out on the road or at a job site
  • the disabled community, particularly the visually-impaired
  • people who don’t own a computer, or who often don’t have one readily available

In the future, the product will be modified to accommodate business applications. For example, businesses will be able to allow their employees audio access to their intranets.

About is a privately held company headquartered in San Jose, California. It was founded in 1998 to provide audio-based access to the Internet via telephone. The company believes that today’s increasingly mobile and information-driven society will require alternative ways to go on-line when away from a computer terminal. also is interested in bringing the Internet to these large segments of the population potential users who don’t own or have access to a computer as well as the visually impaired and disabled community by using the most natural interface, their own voice and any phone. For more information, visit’s website at

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