While science fiction enthusiasts have been waiting for our personal jet packs and food synthesizers for years, in the meantime, another one of our wishes may come true; we may soon have a virtual personal assistant who isn’t limited to our phone (hello – or should we say goodbye – Siri!)
While many of us interact with various networks and devices via speech – our phones, customer service, interactive voice response (IVR) units and even our cars (presuming you drive an expensive car) – what all these systems have lacked in the past is interconnectedness. Speech technology company Nuance (News - Alert) may be about to change that.
Nuance, which is the technology behind Siri and many other speech-enabled interfaces, hopes to bridge this break between separate platforms, creating what it’s calling “intelligent systems.” In essence, it hopes to provide a speech-enabled personal assistant that can go beyond specific, limited interfaces to be accessed from anywhere there’s a cloud, according to Matt Revis, VP and GM of Nuance’s handset division.
“We want to unify the personal assistance experience across form factors,” Revis said in one report.
It’s part of a broader push into the Internet of Things (IoS) space, or the concept of using the cloud to provide Web connectivity to everything from your computers to your phone to your car to your home entertainment or climate control system to your entertainment.
Such a language control system will need to be very smart and learn as it goes. Nuance calls it “Living Language.”
“What you get is a very rapidly evolving language model, one that almost moves ahead of the zeitgeist,” Revis added.
And for those of us Android users envying Apple (News - Alert) iPhone consumers’ relationship with Apple’s ubiquitous voice-enabled personal assistant, Siri, there may be good news from Nuance. At the Consumer Electronics Show (CES) happening this week in Las Vegas, Nuance announced new plans to put its speech recognition technology into at least one phone running the Android (News - Alert) operating system. The first phone will be manufactured by China’s ZTE Corp., and will include a suite of applications powered by Nuance's technology, including the company's new Car Mode application.
So while our jet packs and flying cars may still be in the far future, at least we’ll soon be able to make one wish come true – talking to our phones, homes, cars and televisions. George Jetson would be proud.
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Edited by Allison Boccamazzo