December 20, 2011
Nuance Launches The Battle of the Voice Assistants with Acquisition of Vlingo
Well, we've heard of the War of the Roses and the War of the Worlds, but what about the War of the Voice Assistants? It may be coming to a phone or electronic device near you. Do you Siri or do you Vlingo (News - Alert)?
Voice and language technology solutions company Nuance announced today that it is has acquired voice assistant app company Vlingo Inc. Laying the reason for the acquisition to unprecedented demand for intelligent voice interfaces that combine voice, language understanding and semantic processing, Nuance (News - Alert) says its purchase of Vlingo will allow it to combine the two companies' speech innovation and R&D expertise to deliver next-generation natural language interfaces across numerous markets and industries.
Not to mention, it'll be a good way to undermine Siri, Apple's popular new speech-driven personal assistant available on the Apple iPhone 4S.
Look to seeing a future Android (News - Alert) app based on Vlingo (yes, we know there is already one) that wows the marketplace. But it's not just phone apps that Nuance is seeing here. The company says it sees, in its future, a $5 billion market opportunity that spans phones, tablets, cars, televisions, navigation devices, music players, PCs and more. (Maybe even home appliances?)
“Inspired by the introduction of services such as Apple’s (News - Alert) Siri and our own Dragon Go!, virtually every mobile and consumer electronics company on the planet is looking for ways to integrate natural, conversational voice interactions into their mobile products, applications, and services,” said Mike Thompson, senior vice president and general manager of Nuance Mobile. “By acquiring Vlingo, we are able to accelerate the pace of innovation to meet this demand.”
While there are a whole host of would-be competitors to Siri in the marketplace, Vlingo is the only one that's been rated well by users in app markets. Vlingo, which was founded in 2006, is headquartered in Cambridge Massachusetts. Nuance, which owns the Dragon solutions for consumer speech recognition, is located in Burlington, Massachusetts.
Tracey Schelmetic is a contributing editor for TMCnet. To read more of Tracey's articles, please visit her columnist page.
Edited by Jennifer Russell