“Speech synthesis: France Telecom R&D brings research to market”

Paris, January 28 , 2003

France Telecom R&D has long been a pioneer in voice technologies. Now, France Telecom's research unit has begun marketing a new speech synthesis technology that converts any text or message to extremely natural-sounding speech. This full-fledged commercial solution is primarily aimed at providers of interactive voice platforms and telecom operators seeking to enrich their service offering. It is already widely used for the voice services available from France Telecom and its subsidiaries.

France Telecom R&D's speech synthesis technology is the fruit of expertise acquired during some 20 years of research into such areas as correct pronunciation of proper names or sophisticated syntactic analyses. It opens up vast possibilities for fixed or wireless telephone services, including delivery of online information, speech conversion of email or SMS messages, access to corporate directories and personal diaries, catalogue sales, weather bulletins, management of stock portfolios, telephone directory information and much more.

To ensure broad marketing of this advanced solution, France Telecom R&D has contracted application maintenance and customer technical support to Atos Origin. This partnership enables France Telecom researchers to focus on ongoing software enhancements, such as the development of new voices and new languages, while selling the product in turnkey license packages. This approach fits perfectly with market expectations for standards-compliant applications that are easy to integrate in existing voice platforms and supported by high-performance software maintenance.

France Telecom research engineer Edouard Hinard said: "Our new speech synthesis solution converts text to a voice timber that is extremely close to natural speech. This is a significant advance that brings customers immediate benefits. What's more, the distribution model we've set up makes future technological enhancements developed in our labs immediately available to the market. This includes multilingual speech conversion, for instance."

This new tool will make people more comfortable with interactive voice dialogue and spur the development of more and more innovative voice services.

By bringing this solution to market, France Telecom can directly exploit the financial value of its research and development activities. Protecting and unlocking the value of intellectual property figure among the group's strategic objectives. Concretely, this means an increase in patent filings, taking into account the market value of key technologies in determining priorities, increased sales of operating licenses, as well as acquisition of equity interests in start-ups working on highly innovative technologies.

For further information, please contact:
33 1 44 44 93 93
Manuel Lesaicherre
manuel.lesaicherre@francetelecom.com
Nilou Du Castel
nilou.ducastel@francetelecom.com

About France Telecom R&D
France Télécom R&D, a research and development centre, provides innovation thrust for France Télécom and its subsidiaries, in France and abroad. Its role is to anticipate revolutions in technology and customer use, providing innovation to offer customers the best from telecommunications, simultaneously imagining today the technologies which will be part of their daily life tomorrow. France Télécom R&D's results have put the Group in the lead position in Europe in terms of telecommunications research and development. http://www.rd.francetelecom.fr/fr/medias/medias.php

About Atos Origin
Atos Origin is an international information technology services provider. Its business is turning client vision into results through the application of consulting, systems integration and managed operations, including outsourcing and on-line services. In August 2002, Atos Origin acquired KPMG Consulting in the UK and the Netherlands, trading as Atos KPMG Consulting. The company generates annual revenues of EUR 3.3 billion, employs 30,000 employees in 30 countries.

Press Contacts:
Anne de Beaumont
Tel: + 33 (0)1 49 00 96 42
Email: anne.debeaumont@atosorigin.com