Intel and Motorola will pump $15.6 million into start-up Nuance Communications next week, in an attempt to gain some control of the burgeoning voice recognition systems market.
Intel?s main concern is that the Nuance software will be optimised for its IA-32 and IA-64 architectures. It will also enable the company to keep a close eye on voice technology developments at a time when markets for the this are emerging from all corners.
Nuance has received widespread acclaim for its work in computer telephony integration (CTI) and has won several major contracts with companies including American Express Travel, Sears Roebuck and United Parcel Service.
?A lot of major players are buying into voice technology at the moment,? said David Bradshaw, senior consultant at research company Ovum. ?It?s the next big thing. IBM has set up an alliance with Control Systems and Microsoft bought a stake in Lernaut and Hauspie. By and large, speech firms are small and the investment by the major players will seem huge. To the investors, the money will seem minor in comparison to the level of technological return.?
Nuance is a specialist developer of voice recognition technology. Its technology is being implemented in applications and interfaces where voice mail, email and faxes are being unified to create a single messaging solution. However, it can also be used in the development of future technologies such as in-car voice control systems as well as mobile communications. This is in addition to dictation systems and desktop PC interfaces.
?Speech technology used to depend on special purpose digital signal processors (DSPs),? added Bradshaw. ?It depends less and less on these now but things could change. There could be a case for reverting to DSPs to free up the main processor. Either way, as processor developers and technology investors, Intel and Motorola would win.?
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