June 20, 2013
Dragon NaturallySpeaking Looks To Take On Siri And More
In the film Star Trek IV: The Voyage Home the character of Montgomery Scott tries to talk to a computer and is told instead to use the keyboard, to which Scotty replies, “Keyboard. How quaint.”
Despite the fact this movie came out nearly 30 years ago, we’re still typing away. Touchscreens are changing the interface, but the mouse and keyboard live on. We’re still not quite at the point where we talk to our computers, and more importantly our devices don’t really respond to us even when we do talk to them.
However, Nuance Communications, the maker of the popular Dragon NaturallySpeaking voice recognition software has attempted to make it easier to actually “speak” to a computer. So far, this type of software has been limited to word processing and email applications, including Gmail and Hotmail.
Over the years, Dragon NaturallySpeaking has become the leading standard for voice recognition, and the now Nuance is looking to continue to improve it with the release of NaturallySpeaking 12, which will be available in August for around $100.
This latest version of the voice recognition software suite promises to be 20 percent improved and more accurate than previous versions, but more importantly will feature a Siri-esque Smart Format functionality that can adapt to a users’ specific speech pattern.
“Dragon 12 is a remarkable leap forward in voice recognition technology. With Dragon’s increased accuracy, speed and more than 100 new features and enhancements, the technology simply disappears and your ideas flow onto the screen in front of you,” said Peter Mahoney, chief marketing officer for Nuance and senior vice president, general manager, Dragon, in a statement. “Voice is transforming the way people engage with their PCs, tablets, phones, TVs and cars. And with Nuance’s Dragon at the heart of it– people are experiencing faster, simpler, more natural ways to communicate with the world around them.”
Nuance is also working to make Dragon be a sort of mobile reader for Android devices, and even features a new driving mode complete with voice notifications.
The new Dragon Mobile Assistant app for Android has been updated with new proactive assistant features that include an intelligent hands-free Driver Mode, along with voice notification and the ability to customize the app’s wake-up work.
The driver mode is meant to be hands-free and eyes-free and, more importantly, can listen for commands and has the ability to read texts and other messages while the user is driving.
“Dragon aspires to be an incredibly reliable and intuitive mobile personal assistant, not only responding to commands and providing relevant content, but also anticipating people’s needs in the moment-just like a true personal assistant,” said Michael Thompson, executive vice president and general manager, Nuance Mobile. “Dragon’s truly conversational nature and expansive directed search capabilities give people an assistant with purpose, content and information from the content providers they trust the most-leveraging a broad ecosystem without boundaries.”
While there will no doubt be some potential backlash over concerns that this could lead to distracted driving, we have to think this is a solid alternative to those who actually take the time to read, and worse send texts, while behind the wheel.
Image Credit: Nuance Communications