COMPANIES TO WATCH - Conita Technologies

Voice response systems have begun to show up everywhere, from stockbrokerages to ticket sellers to travel agencies. The technology works. And now a small company in Columbia, S.C., hopes to put it to work for IT.

Conita Technologies sells tools that let IT departments create customized "voice portals," which employees can use to access disparate corporate data sources, ranging from e-mail to CRM?even weather reports.

The goal is to make voice a "highly effective personal productivity tool," says President and CEO Jeffrey McElroy. Conita Personal Virtual Assistant (PVA) uses basic scripting tools to integrate with nearly any application, allowing users to simply speak a request into any phone and receive voice feedback. For instance, a user could call the PVA extension, log in with a code number and ask to read e-mail, send new messages or receive a list of new sales opportunities. Companies can even take advantage of existing Web code (such as JavaScript, VBScript and Perl) to quickly create new PVA applications.

Pricing for the PVA server begins at around $40,000 to support 250 to 300 users. For more information, visit www.conita.com.

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