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Build the Next Generation of Mobile Apps in Philadelphia

Posted on January 6, 2011 by Adam Kalsey

We’ve been doing a lot of writing about speech recognition on the Tropo blog of late.

And we’ll be doing a lot of talking about speech recognition next week in Philadelphia at the PennApps Mobile hackathon, taking place on the University of Pennsylvania campus on January 14th – 16th.

This is the third in a series of hackathons held by the University’s computer science interest group – the Dining Philosophers. This year’s event – which Tropo is proud to help Sponsor – will focus on the development of mobile applications.
Love Park

Philadelphia is an ideal venue for an event focused on the development of mobile applications. Like a growing number of cities and states, Philadelphia bans the use of handheld mobile devices while driving (and, in Philadelphia, while riding a bike or skateboarding as well).

This growing movement to restrict how we use mobile devices comes at a time when these same devices are being incorporated more and more intimately into our daily lives. Technology will play a large part in how these two dynamics are reconciled.

One technology that can help reconcile this tension is speech recognition technology.

You can’t build a mobile application that people can use while they are actually mobile in the City of Philadelphia without speech recognition. DTMF-only applications, that require you to interact with them using a touch-tone key pad, aren’t good enough anymore.

And that’s one of the great stregths of Tropo – we make it easy for developers to build cutting edge speech recognition apps.

Consider the following speech recognition application, built in just a few lines of code.


$places = array(
'Old City' => 'The Plow and the Stars',
'South Street' => 'South Street Diner',
'University City' => 'Abners',
'Penns Landing' => 'Buddakan'

$response = ask("Where do you want to go tonight?",
array("choices" => "Old City, South Street, University City, Penns Landing")

say("Sweet. I'll see you at {$places[$response->value]} at 6pm.");


Voxeo – the company behind Tropo – has been in the voice application business for over a decade. We made our bones in the speech recognition field a while ago, and Tropo developers get to reap the benefits of that. We make it easy to build powerful, sophisticated speech recognition applications with familiar, easy to use technology components.

The students at the University of Pennsylvania that attend the PennApps Mobile event aren’t just going to be hacking for the weekend. They will help to shape the next generation of mobile applications.

Given how important mobile devices and applications have become, and given the growing social and political imperative that mobile application users be unhindered by antiquated DTMF-only input, the PennApps Mobile hackathon presents a great opportunity to push the boundaries of mobile apps.

The City of Philadelphia is an ideal venue for building the next generation of mobile applications.

Tickets are still available for the event, and we look forward to seing you there.

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