Nuance Acquires Vlingo

20 Dec 2011

Continuing its acquisition binge, Nuance Communications has recently announced its intent to acquire Vlingo, Inc. With an increased demand for voice interfaces, Vlingo will provide Nuance with the expertise and technology to provide next-generation natural language interfaces for various markets and industries.

Interest in and demand for virtual assistant programs and voice-enabled capabilities have increased vastly as of late, thanks in part to Apple's Siri, creating a market that reaches across phones, tablets, computers, and much more. Nuance aims to use Vlingo's expertise in voice, language, and multilingual capabilities to allow consumers, businesses, doctors, and patients to have natural-feeling conversations with their devices and systems. Notes UCStrategies co-founder Blair Pleasant, "Virtual assistants have been around for years, epitomized by companies like Wildfire in the 1990s. The market never hit its stride, but with the introduction of Siri, all of a sudden virtual assistants are hot."

"Speech recognition is a basic technology for UC interface flexibility, and consolidating the technology will help simplify and standardize its use across a variety of application developers," says UCStrategies UC Expert Art Rosenberg. "This announcement is particularly appropriate as multimodal mobile devices increasingly dominate personalized communication contacts with people and business applications ('mobile apps')."

Art adds, "Mobile end users/consumers will be able to selectively choose to exploit faster, easier, and more accurate voice commands and inputs rather than type them in, as well as either listen or view incoming messages (voice, text), information, and, most importantly, real-time alert notifications. Speech recognition technology will also fuel an increase in operational analytics that will generate the metrics for business process performance management. So, having a common and comprehensive speech recognition technology provider like Nuance for the various application developers and mobile service providers will be a plus for the communications industry."

Personally, I'm patiently awaiting the day customized voices are provided, so that tablets and smartphones can sound like HAL 9000 or GLaDOS.

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