A key milestone for any Microsoft project is when it reaches “dogfood” status - which means that internally we're starting to use the product for real internal business use (in other words, we're “eating our own dogfood” - it took me ages to work out what it meant).

Today the Microsoft Speech Server finally hit this milestone - which is really huge for us. I've been working on this stuff for several years, and it has at last reached the point where it is becoming 'real'! From now on if you dial 0 from about 10 buildings on campus then you're transferred to Microsoft Speech Servers. These are hosting an ASP.NET application based on one of the samples that comes with the Speech Application SDK which looks up names from anyone in the company address book (a huge list) and transfers you to their office or cell phone. I know I'm biased, but I have to say it works amazingly well.

Up until this point all the trials have been restricted to our own division on local servers we were hosting ourselves. Now the Speech Server is being hosted and monitored by the corporate IT department in their own labs, and will steadily be rolled out to more buildings across campus - so it really is a huge step on the road of proving that general release is not far away.

Needless to say, we're pretty happy!