OrienTel - Telephony databases across Northern Africa and the Middle East

OrienTel - Telephony databases across Northern Africa and the Middle East,Dorota Iskra,Rainer Siemund,Jamal Borno,Asuncion Moreno,Ossama Emam

OrienTel - Telephony databases across Northern Africa and the Middle East   (Citations: 2)
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OrienTel is a project that over the past two-and-half years developed speech databases and phonetic standards across Northern Africa, the Middle East and the Arabian Gulf. The project is funded by the European Commission and is coordinated by ScanSoft (Germany and Belgium). Other partners are ELDA (France), IBM (Germany), NSC (Israel), Siemens (Germany), Lucent (UK), Knowledge, the University of Patras (both Greece) and UPC (Spain), plus SPEX (the Netherlands) as validation agency. Now that OrienTel has passed the finish line, the present paper gives an update of the design conventions, and an account of the project's achievements. The paper also illustrates some of the challenges that the consortium faced which are mostly related to the validation and the research subjects. Countries and technologies The OrienTel area, ranging from the Gulf States in the East to Morocco in the West, is a very heterogeneous region. Its purchasing power in terms of GDP ranges from the UAE's US$ 16,800 to Yemen's US$ 304, technological infrastructure from Yemen's 1.4% fixed line teledensity to Cyprus' 54%. The number of mobile subscribers to mobile telephony networks stretches from virtually zero in Syria to close to 8 million in Egypt (CIT Publications, 2000). When OrienTel started in 2001, the consortium, consisting of ScanSoft (Belgium, Germany), ELDA (France), IBM (Germany, Egypt), NSC (Israel), Knowledge (Greece), Siemens (Germany), Lucent (UK) and the Universities of Patras (Greece) and UPC Barcelona (Spain), expected high growth rates particularly in the mobile part of the business. The database structure was therefore designed to meet the objectives of mobile speech applications via the telephone. By the end of the project, Arabic countries have surpassed the 30 million subscriber mark for mobile services, with an annual growth rate of 9.92%. For the first time the Arab countries have more subscribers to mobile services than to fixed lines. As 70% of all speakers were recorded via mobile networks, the OrienTel consortium is well equipped to meet the challenges the region poses.
Cumulative Annual
    • ...Since SpeechDat, SPEX has been involved as a validation centre in many projects, particularly in data collections supported by the EU, such as SpeechDat Car (Moreno et al. 2000a), SpeeCon (Iskra et al. 2002), and OrienTel (Iskra et al. 2004)...
    • ...Network-DC Broadcast News (Arabic) 1 2000‐2001 OrienTel Fixed and Mobile telephone network, for voice-driven teleservices (Oriental region) 23 2001‐2003 Iskra et al. (2004)...

    Henk van den Heuvelet al. Validation of spoken language resources: an overview of basic aspects

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