users with increased mobility and control of devices, such as computers and telephones not otherwise available to them.
The industry must be able to work in this environment where significant technological advances are possible yet growing numbers of commercial applications deliver real benefits. To date, too many potential users of these technologies have been frightened away by examples of the improvements necessary to make the technology "really work." In this environment the challenge for system integrators is to learn how to apply developing technology in ways that deliver results, rather than disappointment, because the match between the job to be done and the application of the available technology was inappropriate.
In addition, the technical community must continue its efforts to utilize the successes and failures in a way that leads to successful identification of the "right" applications and commercialization of the "right" technology. Early successful commercialization of the right level of technology in the right applications will benefit users, service providers, and the research community.
In today's world of cost cutting, reengineering, and impatience with long lead time projects, investors are looking for a near-term payback for their interest. The research community does itself a disservice by not understanding this and providing for near-term commercial demonstrations. Examples are plentiful. It took 20 years for speech recognition to be deployed widely in a telecommunications application. Speech synthesis is only now being deployed on a large scale for reverse directory applications.
The initial large-scale, telephone-based commercial speech recognition application was a simple "yes" or "no" recognition. Because it was so ''simple" the research community was not interestedresearchers wanted to solve the really big problems. In addition, the application required working with users, systems integrators, and human factors professionals. And live, messy, real-world trials were essential to explore uncharted areas. These were not the normal directions for the research community, causing researchers to revert to ivory tower "real research."
But the payout for this simple application was understood to be large from the earliest days. The payout was recognized, but the direction was different and the technical research was not as challenging as others. As a result, the speech recognition community lost out on an opportunity to demonstrate the viability of this technology for at least 5 to 10 years.
This is not an isolated case, but these times call for recognizing