Your phone might be eavesdropping on you. (Photo credit: Shutterstock)

Ever heard the old saying, “the walls have ears?” Apparently smartphones have ears as well, at least if Nuance has its way. Voice communication with a smartphone isn’t anything new, but Nuance is hoping to take things up a notch.

According to Nuance Communication CTO 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.

Imagine that your smartphone is in a low-power mode on the desk. You casually ask it about the weather or your next appointment. The phone then wakes itself up. From there, your favorite smart device would find the information you need, report about it and return to its low-power sleep mode. As simple as that.

This sounds really cool and isn’t that far of a stretch from the voice assistant applications and methods we currently have in place. A smart device that is always listening could prove problematic too, though. What if it accidentally responds to a question you weren’t even directing at it? This could get annoying in a hurry. The answer will lie in the ability for smart software to recognize your voice and actually tell whether a command is being directed at it. This is something Nuance is also working on.

How far away are we from such technology? The popular communications company hopes to have a form of this technology ready and present in smartphones in as little as one or two years. More than likely, Android will be at the forefront of this and companies like Apple will be late to the party. Do you like the idea of an “always listening” device?