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September 23, 1997


Ammanna to set up unit in Hyderabad

As part of its effort to set up subsidiaries in 30 countries across the world, the US-based Ammanna Technologies Inc plans to set up a unit in Hyderabad. This was revealed by CEO Rao Bathina, while talking to reporters in the city.

Stating that the initial investment (through private placement) would be Rs 100 million, which could be extended up to Rs 300 million in the course of time, he said the first activity of the company would be product launches.

"The nature of the products will be of the sort of man-machine interface which constitutes speech synthesis and voice recognition," he said.

The total investment in all the planned subsidiaries across the world will be up to $150 million in the next year and would be increased to $500 million in three years.

The initial launch will be that of Natural Interface, a product developed by Dragon Systems Inc, which helps users read in their files into a computer in English, thus saving the time of typing into it. The second will be the launch of a handwriting recognition product, using which one can write on a digitiser slate in one's own handwriting, which is automatically keyed into the computer. The products are to be launched in India next month.

"The reason for me concentrating on products related to Natural Interface is to enable common people use the computers easily," Bathina said.

Stating that the Indian subsidiary would also be into development activity, he said the work would mostly progress on Intel and Microsoft platforms. A sister concern, Swamy Impex, would also be set up soon which will take up the Internet-related applications in co-ordination with Ammanna's subsidiary. "Most of these applications would be related to Internet-commerce," he said and added that, however, the focus would be on multimedia applications related to the Internet too, which includes Internet telephony.

The company has agreements with 30 technology partners, including Dragon, IBM and Kurzwell. Currently, it sells natural interface products in the US and the UK dialects on a non-exclusive basis. A letter of intent is said to have been signed to develop the NI products in Indian, West Asian and Far Eastern dialects.

While the company has tied up with Communication Intelligence Corp for the handwriting interpretation product, it has an agreement for Internet telephony products with VNR Systems, Canada.

The company is, at present, looking for land in Hyderabad and is holding talks with the Andhra Pradesh government officials. "But the situation in the state should improve. Right now the atmosphere is not conducive for investment. Though the STP scheme and the rich talent are the favourable factors for investment in AP, the factors of sales tax and power situation are discouraging. Even the way the government has granted the discretion of allotting land by L&T to software companies is discouraging," he added.

- Compiled from the Indian media

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