Michael Thompson, vice president of strategy for Nuance, is trumpeting the integration of voice recognition and dictation via a microphone button in the keyboard of Apple’s new iPad as yet one more sign that voice is becoming the next-generation interface for myriad device types.
“Apple announced Siri on the iPhone 4S in October, and I think Siri was really a game changer for the entire computing world,” Thompson said, noting that Nuance’s Dragon Dictation was one of the first voice recognition apps on the original iPad.
It’s no secret that Nuance’s voice recognition software is at least partially powering Apple’s Siri voice assistant. Wait, strike that – actually it is a secret. Neither company will admit to Nuance’s involvement with Siri other than to say that “Apple licenses technology from Nuance for a variety of its products.” Which products? Mum’s the word.
Regardless, the fact that Apple, with its massive scale, has aggressively integrated voice recognition on both the iPhone and iPad means that Nuance’s solutions, and others like them, will continue to see high demand from not only mobile device OEMs but major players in other verticals as well.
BCC Research confirms the broad possibilities for implementation of voice recognition technologies. The firm forecasts the global market for these systems will grow at a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 8.8 percent between 2010 and 2015. The total market was valued at an estimated $38.4 billion in 2010 and is expected to reach $58.4 billion in 2015.
Thompson says Nuance has its sights set on the auto industry as the next market to explode after mobile. Nuance is already powering voice recognition in the popular Ford Sync system.
At the annual CES in January, Nuance unveiled Dragon TV, which will allow consumers to navigate and control their televisions using voice commands. LG Electronics is already using Nuance’s technology in a new TV.
What is perhaps most compelling about Nuance’s platform is that it gets smarter as it is used, both through on-device smarts and data analysis in the cloud. So if users are frustrated initially that every time they say, “Call Mom,” their phone calls “Don,” they won’t be for long. With use, the accuracy of these systems will only improve.
Thompson insists that even if users are only casually using voice recognition now, OEMs are already planning for a world where voice really will be the killer app. “Device manufacturers are building voice recognition into the very fabric of their devices. They are integrating it deeply into the design much like Apple did and will continue to do. And I think that’s a megatrend that’s going to be exciting for consumers.”