Speech Server is currently in beta 1; the speech SDK is in its third beta release. Microsoft executives have said the company plans to ship the final Speech Server product in Q1 of next year. This week, Microsoft said it will ship the final code by "spring" of next year.
Speech Server is, in short, a telephony server, explains corporate VP of speech technologies, Kai-Fu Lee. It will compete with similar products from InterVoice, Avaya and Nortel. It is aimed at medium-sized businesses and enterprise-level customers.
"You connect an ASP.Net Web server on one side, and a telephone on the other," Lee says. The Speech Server can route calls, accept stock trades and provide other rudimentary voice responses as part of a variety of customer applications.
Microsoft's biggest differentiator, at least for the moment, is Speech Server's multimodal interface, says Lee. Unlike most products on the market, Speech Server will take voice input, and generate graphics — rather than speech — output, he says.
Whole article at mswatch