Nuance’s Nina will provide an off-the-shelf Siri-like speech interface to apps on any platform

August 7, 2012
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    Nuance is offering a simpler way for enterprises, businesses, and application developers to feature speech recognition in their apps. Nuance is the same company behind the Dragon Naturally Speaking line of speech-recognition apps for PCs, and the Dragon Go and Dragon Dictation app for smartphones. With Nina, Nuance offers an SDK and a set of APIs that enable companies to build on the technology.

    Through the Nina platform, app developers can now integrate voice-control into their apps meant for business, such as customer service or banking apps, which also includes biometrics and security.

    Nina is a cloud-based service that runs off of Nuance’s servers. Featuring a virtual-assistant “persona” that a client can talk to, the service offers the ability to run queries and transactions by talking to the software.

    The concept is very much like Apple’s Siri, although Nina is extensible. The service runs off the cloud, so developers can build apps across various platforms, including iOS, Android, Windows Phone, and even basic phone-in services. Nina can be used for bills payment, banking transactions, fund transfers, customer service, and the like.

    AllThingsD was able to try a demo of Nina, and says another highlight of the app is its voice-ID biometric technology. Because a person’s speech and voice contains patterns and signatures unique to that individual, Nina can confirm the identity of the caller just through one’s voice.

    As such, systems running Nina will not have to require PINs or spoken passwords. Just the mere voice of the caller would be recognized , assuming the voice is already associated with the account. The system can be configured not to receive commands from non-recognized voices.

    Nina’s killer application will probably be in the financial services and related industries, where voice-based identity verification can help minimize identity theft and fraud.

    Nuance plans to offer Nina to companies that are involved in retail, travel and insurance. Nuance also plans to approach government, with the possibility of Nina being used as a user interface for government transactions.

    It seems Nuance went beyond the concept of a speech-powered personal assistant, and actually envisions Nina to improve the user experience for phone-based transactions in business.

    Comments

    • FrazerMcIntosh

      The concept is very similar to Siri because Siri is run by Nuance.

      • MasterMuffin

        And if you don’t need passwords, just sound, somebody can record your speaking if you for example say “pay 500$€£¥ to somewhere” somebody can record it and change it just little so the person would pay 500$£€¥₩ to you every minute :O

        • FrazerMcIntosh

          I agree that voice-only security is a stupid idea

        • me

          Your fearmongering is lame; the systems that analyze the incoming audio against the stored audio print features are able to determine a recorded pattern vs. a live pattern. Additionally, biometrics is an authentication process to identify and further authorize humans for things such as transactions. It would be horrible system design that allows one to simply say a transaction and it process that transaction based on a matched voiceprint. Even at the bank, in person, there is first an authentication process using an agreed valid token processes, a photo ID with pre-defined PIN; in the case of voice biometrics, your unique voice pattern with random challenge phrases provides much better security and validity than a counterfitable photo ID and stolen PIN.

          • MasterMuffin

            Why so offensive? You act like I had said something about your mother o.O I still don’t like the idea and there are so many people who also don’t do and it still isn’t 100% secure (but then again, what is?). We just have to wait and see what will happen, I hope they don’t do that.

            • me

              Biometrics are the most secure solution available because it removes the one most faulty portion of any identification process: the human.
              Mis-information annoys me. If you’re offended by truth, so be it.

            • MasterMuffin

              I don’t get offended by “the truth” of yours, I get offended by the way you say it, it’s so rude -.-

    • philnolan3d

      Siri isn’t exactly a lofty goal.

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