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IBM, Nuance To Spread Voice Recognition Services

IBM will be teaming up with Nuance to develop and bring speech-recognition technology to a wide variety of industries.

The deal will lead to a joint initiative agreement to bring products to consumers, enterprises, and partners in 10 specific industries: automotive, banking, electronics, energy and utilities, healthcare and life sciences, insurance, media and entertainment, retail, telecommunications, and travel and transportation. The move will enable the companies to leverage their respective strengths: Nuance is well-known in the mobile world for its voice-controlled products, and IBM has a strong infrastructure presence with companies around the world.

For the 10 industries, the deal could lead to advanced, automated customer-service programs that could reduce costs. The companies singled out the automotive and telecommunications industries as areas that could lead to in-vehicle and on-device products that can control a device, search for content, and handle media playback.

"As businesses and governments aim to operate more intelligently and efficiently, the full impact of speech technology is just emerging," said Frank Kern, IBM's senior VP of global business services, in a statement. "Teaming with Nuance means great things for organizations and manufacturers that rely on speech technology to advance their own business objectives and provide exciting new services for their customers."

Speech recognition has long been viewed as one of the ultimate ways for users to interact with their computing devices, but the complexity of processing spoken syntax has led to results that generally haven't been dramatically better than a keyboard. The software is slowly rounding into shape, thanks to large investments from the likes of Nuance, IBM, Microsoft, Google, and others.

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