The Speech Recognition software company Nuance is working with chip makers on how to build a chipset for a mobile device that would let users get assistance from a smartphone without touching it eventhough when it is in power-saving “sleep” mode by simple speaking to it.
Nuance is considered a market leader in speech recognition, which has grown dramatically in importance in recent years as smartphones increasingly feature voice-powered personal-assistant capabilities that can do things like check the weather or find a sushi restaurant.
Nuance makes the virtual assistant app called Dragon Go! is also widely believed to be the voice provider for Apple’s digital assistant, Siri.
According to the Nuance Communication Chief Technology Officer Vlad Sejnoha, the company has already begun active work with chip companies to create a chipset that would allow phones and tablets to wake themselves up from sleep mode and start answering your voice-based questions.
He believes that, within one or two year you will be able to talk to your smartphone even as it lies idle on a desk, asking it to the questions such as “When is my next appointment?”. The phone will be able to detect that you are speaking, wake itself up, and accomplish the task at hand.
He expects improvements in a mobile device’s ability to listen to an ongoing stream of noise and distinguish its user’s voice asking it to perform a task from background chatter.
However, he cautions that software developers will have to be careful to avoid making services that are annoying or creepy, or else they will create more “paper clip stories” – a reference to Clippy, the much maligned (and now extinct) digital helper in Microsoft’s office software.
Privacy and security are also concerns if you have software persistently “listening” in the background.