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IVR - Speech Recognition Now in the Major Leagues with Mobile Tech
August 28, 2012

Speech Recognition Now in the Major Leagues with Mobile Tech

By Allison Boccamazzo, TMCnet Web Editor

Recently, at a forum hosted by the Churchill Club of Silicon Valley in Palo Alto, C.A., reps of a speech-recognition software company, an automaker and Apple (News - Alert) co-founder Steve Wozniak sat down to discuss the important issue of where speech recognition has been, and more importantly, where’s it’s headed.

 “If speech-recognition technology were a human, it would be like a five- or six-old child. At the age of one, you can speak to a child, but you have to speak slowly and simply using small words. By five or six, it starts to better understand your words and, more importantly, your meaning,” says this eWEEK article.

Speech recognition technology can get a pretty bad reputation when it comes to the comparison of computer speech development to human speech development. Nevertheless, speech is becoming the new computer user interface, or at least according to renowned Deputy Technology editor of The New York Times Quentin Hardy, it is. Quentin also served as a moderator of the panel.

The future of voice technology can be summed up in three words; machine to human. Speech-recognition technology has found its way to evolve from a machine understanding voice commands to actually understanding the meaning and context of those commands, elaborates Ron Kaplan, senior director and esteemed scientist at well-known voice technology company, Nuance (News - Alert). Nuance’s voice-recognition technology has contributed to some of the world’s most infamous creations, such as the Siri personal assistant feature on the iPhone 4S and the MyFordTouch for the Ford Motor Co., as based on Microsoft (News - Alert) Sync.

“One of the enabling technological advances that makes more accurate speech recognition possible and makes more accurate understanding of intent possible, is the ability to accumulate large amounts of data from lots of user experiences and to sift and organize and build models from it,” Kaplan explains.

Just as a child matures and develops, so has speech-recognition technology. As eWEEK perfectly puts it, “In other words, like a child, its vocabulary and understanding grows the more it hears what people say to it.”

Siri has transformed the history of voice recognition technology, where we have seen commercials featuring celebrities ranging from Zooey Deschanel to Samuel Jackson to Martin Scorsese speaking to Siri in “natural language,” making commands ranging from traffic predictions to getting tomato soup delivered – with Siri actually understanding what they say without having to speak slow and cautiously or ask for repeats.

Siri has sparked the rise of a few related apps as well, including Nina and U.K.-based Evi. Needless to say, mobile technology is – and has been – changing the face of speech recognition technology as we know it, bringing it from the minor leagues to the sold-out stadiums.

“We’ve moved along a maturity path where ... people’s expectations about what they can do with today’s technologies … [to] create its own demand,” said Dan Miller (News - Alert), senior analyst and founder of Opus Research. “And then these energetic and imaginative people can come and try to fulfill that.”

Want to learn more about the latest in communications and technology? Then be sure to attend ITEXPO West 2012, taking place Oct. 2-5, in Austin, TX. Stay in touch with everything happening at ITEXPO (News - Alert). Follow us on Twitter.

Edited by Brooke Neuman

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