Speech recognition technology is critical in powering IVR and voice recognition applications. Also referred to as automatic speech recognition (ASR), the technology is used to translate spoken words into text. The most famous of all these ASR technologies is Siri, the voice assistant featured on newer versions of the iPhone.
Siri is a product of years of development and collaboration by academics, linguists and engineers worldwide, and its reputation is well-deserved. Millions of dollars and hours were invested in developing the product to the usability levels it exhibits today.
Many companies, Plum included, integrate speech recognition technology into their voice-user applications to facilitate natural speech and encourage conversational dialog. The release of Siri on the iPhone 4S was a watershed moment for members of the speech technology community.
So what is the next great idea or product that will change the speech rec landscape? Nuance Communications (the company that Apple purportedly commissioned to develop Siri, though it has never been officially confirmed) is working on a technology that would enable users to control and use their smartphone vocally.
By integrating this technology, smartphones will become voice-powered in addition to being touch-responsive. Users will be able to control their phone without having to make physical contact with it. Users could manage their device even when it was not actively being used, simply by speaking to it.
Per Rachel Metz in Technology Review: “within a year or two, you’ll be able to talk to your smartphone even as it lies idle on a desk, asking it questions such as ‘When’s my next appointment?’ The phone will be able to detect that you are speaking, wake itself up and accomplish the task at hand.”
Being able to interact with our phone vocally would improve the usability of the device and go one step further in making smartphones safer for use during activities that demand a critical amount of attention, like driving.
Sounds pretty cool, right? There are some definite drawbacks that engineers would have to overcome in the development process. Stay tuned for You All Sound the Same…