Ever increasing number of mobile devices in automation systems have revealed the requirement of utilizing wireless communication systems enabling interoperability between existing wired and wireless systems. Therefore, a wireless interworking unit (WIU) is usually employed to provide required interworking functionality. This work briefly exploits a controller area network (CAN)/IEEE 802.11b WIU and a speech activated control application to be used in a CAN-based industrial networking environment and presents its prototype. The WIU employed provides communication skills with the speech activated control system including a speech recognition process and CAN-based distributed control application over the wireless medium. (C) 2009 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.