IBM Seeks Patent On Typing-To-Speech In A Call Center

from the seriously? dept

theodp writes "”Caller: What is my account balance? The call handler responds by typing in the response ‘250 dollars.'” That’s an excerpt from a pending IBM patent for cutting offshore call center costs further by hiring reps whose local accents make them incomprehensible to their U.S. customers without the magic of IBM text-to-speech synthesis, which Big Blue explains converts typed responses into “the native language and accent of the caller so that the outgoing voice sounds familiar to the caller.”"

As Theodp noted in sending this in, you would think that Stephen Hawking’s computerized speech system might count as a bit of prior art. Of course, while the patent covers more than just that, it’s hard to see how the idea of letting someone type responses that are converted into speech deserves monopoly protection.

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Companies: ibm

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Comments on “IBM Seeks Patent On Typing-To-Speech In A Call Center”

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Jake says:

There’s just one flaw in the idea that I can see. If one can understand moderately complex sentences in another language, it’s probably not that hard to be understood in turn. Unless IBM have made a really radical breakthrough in speech-synthesis technology -i.e. something that deserves a patent under the system as it’s supposed to be- it would have to be a really dire connection before Stephen Hawking would be harder to comprehend than someone with an East European or South-East Asian accent. [Full disclosure: I am really rather good at comprehending such accents, since expats from those regions sell nearly all the decent fast food in this country.]

Shohat says:


IBM are the good guys now. And most their patents are defensive, because sometimes you need to launch those missles when attacked.

I think Sun Microsystems set a fine example when it retaliated with full and unproportional force against NetApp, claiming that the 3billion revenue company has no right to exist, and every single NetAPP product is covered by Sun’s patents.
It was cute, entertaining, and effective.
IBM is just stockpiling against trolls.

angry dude says:

IBM's patents

Greg Aharonyan did a study of IBM’s patent portfolio some time ago and concluded that most of IBM’s patents are junk despite the fact that IBM’s technology is actually pretty good

I agree 100% with his findings (after I did my own study of IBM’s patents in some very narrow field)

BTW, IBM’s voice engine is one of the best

Heck, I run MisterHouse home automation program and use IBM’s voice engine – sounds fantastic, almost like a sci-fi movie

“Welcome home, Sir, I’m Mister House”
“The cold beer is in the fridge, the sauna room is heating up, enjoy your evening, Sir”

Still, IBM is the biggest “patent troll” on Earth and everybody knows it

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