10/30/2002 - ANT Limited, a leading provider of browser-based content rendering solutions for TV, DVD and consumer electronic devices, and Zi, a leading provider of intelligent interface solutions, have announced a strategic alliance to integrate their respective technologies and deliver intuitive multi-language input and IME (Input Method Editor) capabilities to interactive television applications. The alliance will combine the reliable ANT Fresco browser with Zi's predictive text input technology, eZiText®, and IME expertise for the remote control and on-screen keyboard. By extending the functionality of the browser in this way, consumers can benefit from a faster and more intuitive way to interact with TV applications, content and services offered in their local language.
The alliance creates a pre-integrated solution with the reliable, cost-effective Fresco browser now supporting a wider range of ideographic and alphabetical languages, and input methods, provided by Zi's eZiText. This will give ANT and its manufacturing customers of set-top boxes (STBs) and other TV-centric devices increased access to markets in Asia, the Middle East and other regions that use stroke-based, Arabic, Cyrillic, Greek or Latin written scripts. For Zi Corporation, it represents further penetration into the STB market. The alliance has already proven successful with the licensing and delivery of a pre-integrated solution to one of ANT's original equipment manufacturing (OEM) customers supplying STBs to the Asian market.
"By integrating the capabilities of eZiText, Zi's leading edge predictive text input technology, and IME expertise with the Fresco browser, we are better positioned to address the market-specific language needs of our customers targeting the Asian and Middle Eastern markets with a more comprehensive and localised browser solution," said Rhys Grossman, Senior Vice-president, Business Development, ANT Limited. "This pre-integration will provide OEMs with more intelligent interface solutions that can reduce their engineering effort and improve time-to-market of their products."
"ANT has a strong position in the STB market with their reputable and highly reliable Fresco browser, making them an obvious alliance partner for us to strategically extend our channel program," said Gary Mendel, Vice-President, Sales and Marketing, Zi Corporation. "Working with ANT gives us the opportunity to significantly increase Zi's reach into the interactive television market. Typically, consumers interact with their TV using a remote control without access to a full QWERTY keyboard. The predictive intelligence of eZiText will provide an intuitive interface in the consumer's local language to interact with television services such as e-mailing, on-screen shopping, gaming and information services - virtually any application or service which requires inputting text."
Forecasts for growth in the STB market continue to be strong. Research group, Strategy Analytics, anticipates the growth in shipments of STBs and integrated TV sets to rise from last year's 33.9 million units to 81 million units in 2005. Peter King, Director, Broadband Practise, Strategy Analytics said, "We are optimistic for the future of digital television deployments. Consumers are continuing to demonstrate their enthusiasm for new digital television services, and as more services around the world are launched, and existing platforms continue to upgrade their offer, the industry remains on target for a worldwide digital TV audience of 343 million homes by 2008. We also expect a 24% annual average growth rate in set-top box revenues for the next five years or so." He continued, "This means that companies like ANT and Zi Corporation, which supply into the set-top box market and play a role in enabling the delivery of the new services, will have the opportunity to have a slice of the growth in these markets."
ANT is a leading provider of browser-based, content rendering solutions for TV, DVD and other consumer electronic devices. ANT's solution includes a browser, software architecture and user interface components that enable OEMs, service providers and network operators to provide highly compelling interactive content and services to the consumer. ANT's software can be integrated quickly into any platform and operating system, and has been implemented into a wide range of interactive TV and digital entertainment devices around the world. Current customers include Thomson Multimedia, OpenGlobe, Pace Micro Technology, Philips Semiconductor and Sagem.
Zi Corporation is a market-driven technology company delivering intelligent interface solutions to enhance the user experience of wireless and consumer technologies. The company's core technology products for predictive text input, eZiTap and eZiText, connect people to short messaging, e-mail, e-commerce, Web browsing and similar applications in almost any written language. With support for more than 39 languages and regional linguistic databases, and featuring easy-to-use functionality and personalisation, Zi's solutions can assist any device manufacturer seeking to extend their brand reach into multiple foreign markets. Zi supports its strategic partners and customers from offices in Asia, Europe and North America. A publicly traded company, Zi Corporation is listed on the Nasdaq National Market (ZICA) and the Toronto Stock Exchange (ZIC).
Fresco and SimplEmail are trademarks of ANT Limited. eZiText and Zi are either trademarks or registered trademarks of Zi Corporation.
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