(ARA is the acronym of "Automatische Rufnummern-Auskunft")
The aim of this project was a fully automatic system that provides telephone directory information such as phone numbers and addresses of telephone subscribers. One of the requirements was the completely speech-based interaction between a user and the system. Therefore, the available speech technology of the speech processing group (i.e. the word recognizer RECO for input and the text-to-speech system SVOX for output) has been applied for this project.
Given the available word recognizer with a fixed vocabulary of some 100 words, it was not possible to input proper names such as place names or person names directly. Proper names had to be spelt using the official Swiss spelling table (cf. [PS94]).
This simplification allowed to design a first version of such an ARA information system that consisted of four parts: the central control unit (dialog manager) and its peripherals, namely the speech synthesizer, the speech recognizer, and the subscriber database interface (cf. [PLC94]).
Originally, the system was developed on VAX/VMS computers. Meanwhile, it has been adapted to Sparc/Unix computers (see [LP95]).
Supported by: The project was sponsored by the former Swiss Telecom PTT.
In collaboration with: This was a joint project of TIK/ETH, Ascom Tech AG and Swiss Telecom PTT.