Nuance targets customer service business
WHEN APPLE announced its iPhone 4S would include a digital assistant, people took notice. Rival Samsung, meanwhile, unveiled the S Voice service with its latest Galaxy handset, the S3.
Although voice recognition has been around a lot longer than the iPhone or Android, it’s now becoming more accepted by consumers.
Nuance has established itself as somewhat of an expert in the area. Its suite of voice recognition products ranges from software for voice commands on your PC or Mac to applications aimed at the healthcare industry.
At the last count, Nuance technology was included in more than five billion mobile phones and 70 million cars that have shipped. It has won more than eight of the major handset makers, and 10 of the biggest car manufacturers.
In the desktop market, there are more than 22 million registered users of Nuance products. And the company has also branched out into TVs recently.
The company this week announced plans to move into the mobile customer service space, adapting its technology to companies that want to give customers the option of dealing with an automated service that actually helps rather than hinders the process.
Enter Nina, Nuance’s new virtual assistant for mobile applications, which the company predicts will be a game changer for the industry.
Nuance is promising that not only will its new virtual assistant know what you’re saying, but it will also know who is saying it.
The software allows companies to add speech-based virtual assistant capabilities to mobile apps on the iOS and Android platforms, combining Nuance’s speech recognition, Text-to-Speech (TTS), voice biometrics, and Natural Language Understanding (NLU) technology.
Nuance says it is the first such virtual assistant for mobile customer service apps to use not only speech recognition, but also voice biometrics in one integrated solution.
It offers businesses the chance to do away with complicated passwords for accessing accounts, relying instead on voice prints to authenticate customers.
Nuance’s Sebastian Reeve said the virtual assistant is the culmination of experience across a number of divisions at Nuance, and it’s down to consumer demand.
“A key driver for us is greatly improve the human interface with a machine,” he said.
The solution is cloud-based and works on a licence basis.
The software is designed to work with mobile customer service apps, but the applications could reach further than that, said Reeves, adding that Nina itself may not migrate to different platforms but something similar could be used, for example, in voice enabled TV.