Wireless Speech Recognition ..

Speech recognition is now primarily wireless; We've migrated fast, to universal wireless access-communcation devices.

Often, the speech recognition is remote based - And the better signal we send it, the better it performs.

Here, we hope you'll find ideas, technology or projects using hands free and/or mobile devices to make wireless speech recognition a rewarding and useful universal tool!

Sunday, March 30, 2008

OnMobile / Nuance Solutions; The largest yet

 Nuance Communications, Inc, (NASDAQ: NUAN) today announced that OnMobile, a leading Indian telecom services provider, has now incorporated world's largest global deployment of Nuance Speech Solutions. OnMobile provides services to leading Indian telecom operators such as Airtel, Reliance Communications, Vodafone, Idea, BSNL and Tata Indicom.

 India is noted as possibly the fastest growing telecom marketplace in the world with about 300 million people now owning mobile & wire line phones, and is growing by about eight million new users per month.(In the last financial year, India added more mobile-phone users per month than China).

 Mobile phone users in India, for example, can even search for "cars" and "bikes" using their mobile by simply sending either word as SMS to 6677,and will get the latest listings of cars and bike in their cell phones. Users can also further refine search results, on make and city location.

 OnMobile is continuing to expand in Australia, Malaysia, Indonesia, UAE and other countries in the Asia Pacific region by leveraging Nuance speech recognition solutions to support multiple regional languages, including Regional Accent English, Malay, Thai, Bhasa, Urdu, Malay. OnMobile's services now support 15 major Indian languages.

 Nuance's Speech Solutions are well known in the auto industry. Nuance’s automotive speech solutions have been successfully implemented in more than 100 models from more than 25 automobile brands including DaimlerChrysler, Fiat, Ford, Nissan and Renault - totaling over 5 million vehicles worldwide.

 Michael Thompson, VP and General Manager for Nuance's Mobile Search and Communication division says:
“Telecommunications carriers are increasingly looking to advanced speech solutions as a means of differentiating their services, driving new revenue, and improving customer loyalty.. OnMobile was one of the first companies to create voice portals with speech recognition.”


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Tuesday, March 25, 2008

Speak, Speak.. Shoot and Kill !l


 Good news for both speech recognition and virtual gun enthusiasts: “Tom Clancy’s Rainbow Six Vegas 2″ will be released this week. The game, according to a Gamepro.com review, casts players as a “highly trained anti-terrorist specialist who roams around with his squadmates, picking off evildoers with an impressive array of firepower.”

 Fonix provides the speech technology that fuels the game’s voice command system — one of a handful of companies involved in the gaming vertical market.

 Datamonitor analyst Daniel Hong says speech recognition will continue its upswing in gaming, because a) Headsets are standard features for the Xbox 360 and Playstation 3, and b) Far more powerful recent CPU's that can handle the cpu-hoggish speech interfaces.
"User interface [UI] design is paramount in gaming," Hong says. "Speech recognition provides differentiation and opens up UI choices for the gamer."


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Speech Recognition for iPhones?

 Mike McCue, of Microsoft's recently acquired TellMe voice recognition unit has noted to Fortune's Big Tech blog that his team is also excited about iPhone development "to tap into voice recording and location-based features".

 · The iPhone! · 
 Could it be that coolest phone around is about to get "wired for speech" by the maker of the best speech recognition in the world .. ?

   I guess we'll just wait and see!


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 Via The Journal of New England Technology:
Samsing and Nuance have renewed, and expanded their "local" speech recognition-via-cell phone deal; it's official. The deal is a renewal and expansion of a previous agreement between the two companies.

 The new global licensing agreement includes Nuance’s full range of mobile applications, including VSuite, Vocalizer, and VoiceMode speech-based services and interfaces, which have been shipping in 160+ Samsung handsets for several years.

 Nuance, owner of Dragon NaturallySpeaking, was founded in 1992 as Visioneer Inc. and has grown significantly in recent years.

 In 2007, the company acquired seven companies, including VoiceSignal Technologies Inc. Nuance was named a finalist in the MHT/ACG 2007 Tech Dealmaker Awards. In its fiscal year ending in September of 2007, the company reported $602 million in revenue with a net loss of $14 million.


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Friday, March 21, 2008

CNN endorses mobile speech recognition.. Finally!

 In a nifty article today on the international CNN website, titled "Tips and Tricks for your mobile device", CNN officially endorses speech recognition, and several cool applications (some we've blogged about) and states, for example:

 "Give your thumbs a break

 Need to send an e-mail or text message but your hands are tied? Voice recognition technology has made advancements that can take the burden off your text-weary thumbs."

 · Click to read the full article · 
 Even better, via the article:
"Similarly, voice recognition software on your smart phone lets you speak into the phone and have that message show up on a computer it's synced with, says Sean Ryan, analyst for market research firm IDC".

 For a news giant like CNN to publicly endorse speech recognition, (even though they use the infamous misnomer 'voice recognition') we're cheering..
And this to us is a very important milestone in the path to ubiquitous speech recognition .. !


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Wednesday, March 19, 2008

Goog411's speech recognition goes hands-free

 Via eWeek - Google's superb local search service should become available over Bluetooth headsets, courtesy of a hookup between the search giant and speech recognition software maker Sensory, the companies said March 18.

 Terms of the deal aren't public yet, but Sensory will use its BlueGenie Voice Interface software client to connect to Google's voice search servers, Sensory CEO Todd Mozer told eWEEK.

 An excellent (exclusive) announcement can be read here..


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Friday, March 14, 2008

Shopping by speech.. Cool!

 Keeping your grocery list up to date is now simple - press record, and speak to the SmartShopper! It then prints what it hears, with impressive accuracy.

 This cool gizmo, (our HO) is yet another milestone in the advance of ubiquitous speech recognition...

 · Click to view it's online retail site.. · 
 The SmartShopper can recognize 2,500 of the most common foods and errands. And you can use the speech recognition feature to add unusual or exotic stuff, like squid ink and zatar, to the memory.

 When it's not in use, the SmartShopper can be mounted magnetically on the refrigerator door or hung on a wall.


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Thursday, March 13, 2008

Bill Gates & speech recognition, once again!

 (Per the BostonHerald.com) In a speech to the Northern Virginia Technology Council, Gates speculated that some of the most important advances will come in the ways people interact with computers: speech-recognition technology, tablets that will recognize handwriting and touch-screen surfaces that will integrate a wide variety of information.

 "I don’t see anything that will stop the rapid advance," Gates said, noting that technological change driven by academia and corporate researchers continued even after the Internet stock bubble burst in 2000.

  Neither do we, and Bill has shown the global "Doubting Thomas" community just how effective speech recognition can be with Windows Vista™ ..
 And if there's to be near-future advances, just imagine!


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Recognizing -unspoken- speech!

 Imagine thinking something, and having it turn into continuous speech.. without saying it.

 It's not science fiction, it's not "vaporware".. Ambient Corporation of Champaign, Illinois recently unveiled an incredible breakthrough - a device that recognizes and responds to words you don't speak.

 · Click here to view the Ambient technology page · 

 The technology uses a neckband that picks up nerve signals directed to the user's vocal cords.
In the video below, Michael Callahan, co-founder of Ambient Corporation demonstrates the device, called the Audeo demonstrates the world's first "voiceless" phone call:

 Even more incredible:
"I can still talk verbally at the same time," Callahan says. "We can differentiate between when you want to talk silently, and when you want to talk out loud." That could be useful in certain situations, he says, for example when making a private call while out in public.

 The system demonstrated above can only recognize about 150 words and phrases - At the end of the year Ambient plans to release an improved version, able to recognize the individual phonemes that make up complete words and phrases - producing true continuous speech recognition.

 Callahan also notes that the device doesn't have any risk of divulging inner thought; Callahan says producing signals for the Audeo to decipher requires "a level above thinking", users must think specifically about uttering specific speech for the Audeo to discern them.

 Pardon the pun, but..
  What will be thought up next?


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The new Mobivox "Say it and Save it" Feature

 The calling service Mobivox that offers free international calling began offering a new feature title "Create a Contact" today.

 · Click here to view the Mobivox features · 
 This feature enables MOBIVOX users to add new contacts, This feature enables MOBIVOX users to add new contacts, by simply speaking a name to the service's recognition application, named "Voxgirl" !

Via the Mobivox website:
"Dial your local access number, and when VoxGirl answers, simply say 'Create a Contact', or press number 6 from a touchtone phone. You will then be asked to record the name of the contact you would like to add, and enter the telephone number using your telephone's keypad."


 Mobivox's Voxgirl incorporates advanced speech and noise profiling, trained noise model, "voice tag" and vocabulary size technology, and there is almost unlimited storage space for voice dial contacts.

 Nitzan Shaer, the company's COO comments:
 “This new feature will dramatically improve the speech recognition accuracy, and is especially useful for those with multi-cultural backgrounds and non-English contact names. These are precisely the people who use MOBIVOX the most to keep in touch with their home country and loved ones far away.”

 MOBIVOX also uses artificial intelligence to identify a frequently dialed number that doesn't appear in the user's the contact list, and accoordingly then prompt the user to create a contact for that number; A handy feature for users that don’t have their address books readily accessible.

 Also very cool.

 That's not all Mobivox does that's impressive.. The service will sync your Skype contacts and make them available to call using the remote voice access system. You can also query the service to see which of your Skype buddies are online.

 MOBIVOX also offers instant conferencing (allowing users to spontaneously add callers to an existing conversation), group calling, and the ability to transfer a call from one phone to another, as well.

 Mobivox's business model primarily hinges on revenue from international calling; Users purchase chunks of up to $100 international mobile-to-landline credits at a time; and Skype users can call their Skype contacts without having to buy credit from Skype, either!

 There aren't "extra" charges for Mobivox's service other than minutes you use up on your mobile (or domestic-calling) plan, and since Mobivox gives you a local number, you can avoid legacy long-distance per-call charges on landlines, where applicable.


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Wednesday, March 12, 2008

An excellent piece on IVR downfalls..

  Brian Solomon, a TMCnet Web Editor has written a very nice article titled "Seven Major Obstacles to Successful IVR"

 Brian covers these points:

  • No option to speak to a person

  • Poor or no hand-off to an agent

  • Poor menu prompt structure

  • Recording Messages

  • Voice Recognition Accuracy

  • Taking too long for frequent users

  • Insufficient testing

  • and does an excellent job of discussing them each in turn.
    The article can be viewed here.


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    Tuesday, March 11, 2008

    Encrypted voice recognition.. The new Biometric?

     Philips and PerSay have combined encryption software with technology that manages users' "voiceprints" and speech verification.

     According to the Information and Privacy Commissioner of Ontario, voice biometrics technology has taken a big step forward in strengthening its privacy and security measures with the help of new encryption.

     Voice Biometric Encryption, a process that securely binds a PIN or a cryptographic key to the speaker's voice recognition (not speech recognition) offers newer, better security.

     Says Michiel van der Veen, general manager at Philips priv-ID Biometrics:
    “If you start thinking about using sensitive biometric information in all kinds of applications, it means that your biometric identity is exposed in all kinds of commercial solutions and can suddenly become available to a whole lot of people.. The current solutions already respect privacy and adhere to strict guidelines. But when you add privacy solutions like we are offering today, then you basically make privacy inherent."


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    LumenVox's Speech Engine is `Avaya Compliant'

     The LumenVox Speech Engine, an automatic speech recognition technology designed for telephony applications with support for several languages announced Avaya Compliancy today.

     Via the Avaya website page:
    "LumenVox speech recognition technology enables the development and deployment of accurate and affordable speech-based solutions on Avaya platforms. On Linux or Windows, the speaker- independent Speech Engine powers speech solutions and platforms in Enterprise and SMB environments worldwide."

     More than 1 million businesses worldwide, including more than 90 percent of the FORTUNE 500®, use Avaya solutions for IP Telephony, Unified Communications, Contact Centers and Communications-Enabled Business Processes.


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    Speech Recognition betters the HIT, says Philips

     According to Nick van Terheyden, Chief Medical Officer at Philips Speech Recognition Systems, the implementation of enterprise level Healthcare Information Technology (HIT) systems, such as EMR applications, promises to provide more cost-effective care in the future.

     A quote from the CMO, at the 2008 The Healthcare Information and Management Systems Society (HIMSS) Conference.
    “Speech recognition can reduce costs by 30 to 40 percent, and early users will have a very high competitive advantage.”
    {HIMSS is the healthcare industry's membership organization focused on optimal useage of healthcare information technology}

     Moreover, By bolstering speech recognition with Natural language Processing, then interfacing to language engines with mapping capabilities - "Not only are transcription costs reduced using speech recognition, but even more importantly next-generation speech recognition tools will allow clinicians to interact with medical standards even before a dictation is complete, says Mike Levy, Chief Medical Officer of Health Language Inc.

     This is impressive - almost real-time, quasi-interactive speech recognition..

     Says Mr. Levy: "For example during the patient encounter, the clinician could dictate into the SR system and be presented with pertinent information such as: decision support including drug information and drug interaction checking; clinical pathways to provide the latest evidence-based information about treating diseases; patient information such as handouts that can be given to the patient at the point of care; order sets such as recommended medications, tests, labs, and other orders pertinent to the patient; and suggested billing codes".

     Says Mr. van Terheyden of Philips:
    “Speech recognition and natural language understanding bridges the gap between clinicians and technology.”


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    Speech recognition for iPods?

     Patrick Lor has posted a small blurb in his Entrepreneur In Action blog about a speech recognition device that "that will automatically categorize your music library", to be made by Ivoxx Corporation.

     · Click to visit the Ivoxx website · 
     This sounds extremely cool, and we've emailed Ivoxx to learn more..


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    Monday, March 10, 2008

    Mobile browsing by speech.. it's time is coming?

     Austin Shoemaker, a former Apple Computer software engineer and now chief technology officer of Cooliris, makers of the new "picture-in-picture" link Preview software for Internet Explorer and PicLens, the full-screen 3D slideshow software has raised the use of voice again as the next paradigm for mobile device users.

     Many of us can remember the Conversay speech-driven browser, circa the late 1990's, and now the terrific Windows Vista™ recognizer allows us to surf the Web easily - but both were/are PC based interfaces.

     In a Slashdot article today, Mr. Shoemaker is quoted as saying:
    "Voice, too, is finally beginning to play a significant role as an interface tool in a new generation of consumer-oriented wireless handsets. Many technologists now believe that hunting and pecking on the tiny keyboards of cellphones and P.D.A.'s will quickly give way to voice commands that will return map, text and other data displayed visually on small screens."

     Mobile web surfing, by speech?
      All we can say is... "Let's get started!"


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    Thursday, March 06, 2008

     The popular Rosetta Stone language learning system has improved "speech recognition" in an unusual fashion;

     It improves your foreign speech learning by recording your voice and evaluating your pronunciation and accent, dynamically!


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    Wednesday, March 05, 2008

    Over-the-phone note & task transcription

     Via Angel.com:
    "SalesByFone from Angel.com makes it possible to access, update, and manage accounts, contacts and leads directly in salesforce.com through voice commands over the phone. With a simple phone call, you can record your impressions about a just-completed meeting, set a follow-up task, or connect directly to a contact".

     Per PRWEB - March 5, 2008:
    Angel.com, the leading provider of hosted, on-demand call center applications, has partnered with SimulScribe, the largest provider of voicemail-to-text services and visual voicemail applications, to integrate speech-to-text functionality with Angel.com products and services. The first offering using speech-to-text functionality is Angel.com's new Salesbyfone application.

     SimulScribe's technology allows Salesbyfone users to transcribe meeting notes and other details over the phone and see notes appear, within seconds, in Salesforce.com contact records. Users can also automatically dial and send an e-mail to a contact simply by speaking it over the phone. These functions occur in near-real time, allowing users to quickly act on or respond to critical business situations as they happen.

     Salesbyfone is the latest in Angel.com's suite of IVR (Interactive Voice Response) integration applications for Salesforce.com. Salesbyfone provides phone-based access to Salesforce.com accounts, empowering sales executives and other users to access, update, and manage key prospect information directly in Salesforce.com through voice commands.


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    "Speech Recognition" improves for deaf kids

     The March 2008 issue of Otolaryngology – Head and Neck Surgery demonstrates deaf children with Cochlear implants experience a 59% variance of in later reading skills, and the data was collected by assessing the early speech perception/recognition and production performance!

     The speech perception and production skills at the vowel, consonant, phoneme, and word level of 72 children with prelingual, profound hearing loss were assessed after 48 mos of Cochlear implant use.

     The children’s reading skills were subsequently assessed using word and passage comprehension measures after an average of 89.5 mos of CI use. The results indicated that early speech perception and production skills of children with profound hearing loss who received advanced Cochlear implants predicts the future reading achievement skills...

     Original paper's abstract is available here.


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    Tuesday, March 04, 2008

    PRWEB - Staggering speech recognition growth

    San Jose, California (PRWEB) -- Buoyed by the robust growth in developed regions, the global speech technology market , per http://www.strategyr.com/Speech_Technology_Market_Report.asp is portended to reach US$7.8 billion by 2010. North America and Europe collectively contribute over 91% of expenditures on speech technologies.

     Automatic speech recognition markets, per http://www.strategyr.com/Speech_Technology_Market_Report.asp, represent the largest segment for growth.

     Sales from automatic speech recognition products are expected to register about US$7.5 billion by 2010. Business portal self-service and call center applications are the biggest sectors for growth and sales in the speech recognition telephony software markets, constituting over three-fourths of all global shipments.

     Major factors for automatic speech recognition technology's high growth include - the power and speed of the standard PC increased subsequently gaining the ability to process speech in real-time; and algorithms were enhanced to enable computers to distinguish correct patterns that inspire speech, without giving importance to speed of speech, accent or other parameters.

    We say.. terrific .. !!


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    A speech recognition tablet PC, from Motion PC

     Motion Computing, maker of the impressive C5 medical tablet computer, has released a new rugged mobile tablet PC, the F5.

     ·&nbspClick to view the F5's website · 

     It includes very good speech recognition; You can also catch a quick chuckle at Engadget, where they compare the handle-held device to that other bit of hardware brilliance, the infamous Speak N’ Spell.


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    Speech-driven "Contact Portal" adds SIP technology

     Telephonetics VIP has improved it's time-tested ContactPortal, a speech-driven call routing system, with a variety of mainstream SIP-based PBX/ACD systems.

     Via Comm Business:
    "The enhancement has been added to address the growing IP market in which Yankee Group predicts a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 31.4 percent & Mike Matthews, Head of Product Management, a Telephonetics VIP, comments “We are committed to listen to our customers’ real needs and the addition of SIP support is just one example of our ongoing dedication to provide interfaces for our customers’ convergent solutions.”


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     Todd Barber, former VP of Telecommunication Sales at SpeechWorks (now Nuance) joined SpeechCycle, winners of the Speech Technology 2007 Market Winner award with their very advanced IVR Natural Language dialog that allows callers to articulate issues in their own words, and their IVR's "Continuous Learning" capabilities.


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    Monday, March 03, 2008

     A research team with the Canadian National Research Council's Institute for Information Technology (NRC-IIT) is working on a way to enter data using speech; they've created a multimodal field data entry (MFDE) application to help with data collection during concrete inspections. The researchers say that if workers are are using instruments or taking measurements they can use speech to enter data or information at the same time.

     · Click here for original NRC IIT article · 
     While background noise was somewhat of a problem the researchers have gone back to the drawing board to identify a better microphone for the application. Even with the noise issue respondents claimed they were able to complete tasks faster while at the same time being able to be more aware of their environment.

     They've worked on actual mobile microphone improvements; Their research won "Best Paper" at the prestigious British Human-Computer Interaction conference, HCI 2007 about microphone performance in noisy ambience.

     They are also seeking the best speech engine for noisy environments:
    Per NRC IIT:
    "We also plan to look at different speech recognition engines to see if we can improve the accuracy at higher noise levels."

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    Saturday, March 01, 2008

    Newest throat-mounted microphone ??

     Pro Idee, a UK website for the Denmark online retailer Pro-Idee GmbH & Co. KG is offering a pretty innovative microphone [click image for larger view in new window]:

     · Click for larger view · 
     Pro-Idee's specs. include the microphone offering nine hours of talk-time, 10db of noise suppression and complete Bluetooth feature functionality,
     (Click here to read the CNET review).

    ~ We'd love to hear from anyone that's tried this hardware..


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