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LERNOUT & HAUSPIE SHIPS L&H VOICE XPRESS™ AND L&H VOICE XPRESS PLUS™ CONTINUOUS DICTATION, COMMAND AND CONTROL PRODUCTS

SAPI-Compliant Software Uses Natural Language Technology for Fast, Intuitive Document Creation, Editing and Formatting; L&H Voice Xpress Plus Allows Dictation Directly into Microsoft® Word

BURLINGTON, MASS. -- April 28, 1998 -- Lernout & Hauspie (NASDAQ: LHSPF, EASDAQ: LHSP.ED) (L&H™), today shipped L&H Voice Xpress and L&H Voice Xpress Plus, the first software products to combine continuous speech recognition and Natural Language Technology (NLT) to provide document creation, formatting and editing capabilities. Industry influencers have heralded both products for their ability to let users employ conversational speech to execute formatting and editing commands in addition to providing a fast, accurate way to input text into documents. Today's competitive offerings do not have NLT and, as a result, require users to adhere to a strictly defined set of specific phrases for word processing command and control. In addition to supporting Microsoft's Speech Application Programming Interface (SAPI), L&H's Voice Xpress products incorporate specific extensions to Microsoft's speech platform that support NLT's advanced functionality. The estimated street prices for L&H Voice Xpress and for L&H Voice Xpress Plus, which include software on a CD-ROM, documentation, and a noise-canceling microphone, are $49.99 and $99.99, respectively.

"Continuous speech dictation products which employ natural language technology are much easier for users to learn and operate, permitting tasks to be processed in a more familiar and productive way," said Amy D. Wohl, president of Wohl Associates, a leading computer industry consulting firm in Narberth, Pennsylvania.

L&H Voice Xpress and L&H Voice Xpress Plus are L&H's first continuous dictation products aimed at the general consumer market and the first in the industry to employ L&H's breakthrough NLT. NLT is a form of artificial intelligence that allows L&H Voice Xpress and L&H Voice Xpress Plus to intelligently interpret users' commands and format a document as intended. Because NLT makes editing and formatting more intuitive, users can access much of the functionality found in Microsoft Word with voice commands. Formatting and editing by voice is easier to learn and more efficient than utilizing the keyboard or mouse because users can easily locate extensive word processing commands without spending time searching through menus and toolbars.

"L&H has been widely recognized for bringing high-quality voice recognition to key vertical markets where speech technology is a natural fit, such as medical reporting, computer telephony, automotive electronics, and other areas," said Koen Bouwers, president of L&H's dictation division. "Now, with the launch of the L&H Voice Xpress products, we are bringing the power of speech—complete with Natural Language command and control—to all desktops. The functionality built into these products will enable a new era of desktop computing for a broad consumer audience."

User Benefits

Most users who regularly draft documents on a PC will immediately derive benefits from L&H Voice Xpress and L&H Voice Xpress Plus, regardless of their skill level. Both content and commands can be spoken at a natural, conversational pace— enhancing productivity and boosting the performance of the average user. With L&H Voice Xpress users can achieve dictation rates of up to 140 words per minute. Users can issue editing and formatting commands while dictating because both products are modeless - meaning users do not have to "tell" the program whether their next words will be dictation or command phrases.

L&H Voice Xpress Plus gives users the added capability of dictating directly into and controlling Microsoft Word. With L&H Voice Xpress Plus, users can access the breadth of command functionality found in Word's various toolbars and menus by issuing flexible, natural commands.

"L&H's new Voice Xpress Plus product helps users realize the power of Word 97 with natural, intuitive voice commands," said Dennis Tevlin, director of Office Marketing at Microsoft Corporation. "Users can now create, edit and format Microsoft Word 97 documents using the power of speech."

L&H Voice Xpress and L&H Voice Xpress Plus Features

Key features of these products include:

  • Continuous speech recognition—the L&H Voice Xpress products will allow users to dictate at a rate of up to 140 words per minute.
  • Natural Language Technology—L&H's Voice Xpress line of products use Natural Language Technology to offer a flexible, easy-to-use command language for editing and formatting documents. Users can easily learn and utilize simple voice commands to accomplish functions that would normally require multiple mouse clicks, menu accesses, or keyboard strokes.
  • Easy to use—the L&H Voice Xpress products are a fast, effective way to easily create, format and edit documents. Neither product requires up-front voice training, but users are encouraged to enroll in an introductory training session that demonstrates the products' functionality and improves its performance. Users can dictate text and commands by speaking in a conversational manner.
  • Modeless operation—the command and control functionality in the L&H Voice Xpress products is seamlessly integrated with the continuous dictation functionality. Natural Language Technology enables these products to distinguish dictation from commands without switching between separate modes of operation—significantly simplifying the user's computing experience.
  • Good accuracy—with regular use and training after enrollment, users can expect to achieve 95 percent or greater accuracy with the L&H Voice Xpress products. The products incorporate speaker profiles specifically designed to enhance accuracy for men, women, teen-agers and children.
  • Comprehensive, customizable vocabulary—L&H's Voice Xpress and L&H Voice Xpress Plus are equipped with a 30,000-word active vocabulary. Users can easily customize the vocabulary by adding industry-specific terms, names or acronyms for a maximum vocabulary size of 60,000 words. Both products can even analyze documents on a PC for words that users want to add to the vocabulary.
  • Flexible speech recognition—the L&H Voice Xpress products recognize numbers, letters and dollar amounts spoken in a continuous or natural fashion. Users can also add dictation macros that insert complete blocks of regularly used text into documents.
  • Text to speech capability—the L&H Voice Xpress products can read documents back to users when issued a simple command.
L&H Voice Xpress and Voice Xpress Plus: Pricing, System Requirements and Availability

The estimated street prices for L&H Voice Xpress and for L&H Voice Xpress Plus, which include software on a CD-ROM, documentation, and a noise-canceling microphone, are $49.99 and $99.99 respectively. Designed for Microsoft® Windows® 95 or Windows NT® 4.0, minimum system requirements for these products include a Pentium 166 MHz with MMX; 40 MB RAM (Win 95)—an additional 8 MB RAM is required for L&H Voice Xpress Plus for dictation directly into Microsoft Word, 48 MB RAM (Win NT); 130 MB hard disk space; VGA or better monitor; a 16-bit sound board from Creative Labs or other Windows-compatible 16-bit soundcard.

Both products will be available in over 3,500 retail locations in North America, including CompUSA, Computer City, Staples and Office Depot. Interested parties can get additional information and send feedback by visiting the L&H Website at www.lhs.com or by calling 800-380-1234.

About Lernout & Hauspie

Lernout & Hauspie Speech Products (L&H) is an international leader in the development of advanced speech technology for various commercial applications and products. The company is divided into four divisions: core technologies; dictation, a division dedicated to discrete and continuous speech offerings; translation services and products; and Internet services. Its four core technologies are automatic speech recognition (ASR), text-to-speech (TTS), digital speech compression and text-to-text (translation).

The company has its worldwide headquarters in Ieper, Belgium, its U.S. headquarters in Burlington, Massachusetts and international sales offices throughout Asia.

This news release contains forward-looking statements. Such forward-looking statements, include, without limitation, that the L&H Voice Xpress is intended to significantly reduce the amount of time required for formatting; that the product is scheduled to be available by April 1998 and that L&H Voice Xpress' features will perform as stated herein. Readers are cautioned that such forward-looking statements are subject to material and adverse change and involve risks and uncertainties, including, without limitation, risks associated with rapid technological change, product development and introduction and competition. The statements contained herein speak only as of the date of this release. L&H expressly disclaims any obligation or undertaking to release publicly any updates or revisions to any such statement to reflect any change in L&H's expectations or any change in events, conditions or circumstances on which any such statement is based. Lernout & Hauspie can be found on the World Wide Web at www.lhs.com.

All product names and trademarks mentioned herein are trademarks of L&H, Microsoft and their respective owners.

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L&H Corporate Contact Info:

Worldwide PR/IR: Ellen Spooren, Lernout & Hauspie, (1 781) 203-5344, espooren@lhs.com
Media Contact Europe: Vanessa Richter, Lernout & Hauspie, (32) 57 229508, vanessa.richter@lhs.be
Investor Contact Europe: Annemieke Blondeel, Lommaert & Blondeel Consultants, (44) 181 850 6880, lommaertblondeel@netmatters.co.uk

 


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