Although Nuance Communications, Inc., the de facto leader in voice recognition and speech-to-text software, has been suspected of being the driving force behind Apple’s Siri virtual assistant technology in iOS devices for a long time, neither Apple or Nuance have ever actually confirmed whether or not this is true, until now.
Probably the reason why there has been no confirmation of Nuance involvement in powering Siri’s speech recognition capabilities is the fact that, for years, Apple has had a policy which did not allow companies to confirm that they are a critical component or technology supplier for Apple’s great products.
However, Nuance CEO Paul Ricci confirmed the secret which was actually known for years, but none of the companies mentioned directly, during an interview at the All Things D conference.
Siri’s voice recognition technology was built by Nuance and then achieved by Apple in 2010. Whether Apple changed anything around with the tech before debuting it on the iPhone 4 or not, is still unclear. However, in order to do all the things that it does, Siri uses data from Yelp, OpenTable and Wolfram Alpha, Nuance being only a part of it.
In addition, according to Ricci, Nuance does not do voice recognition only for Apple. Not only that the company is famous for its speech-recognition software Dragon NaturallySpeaking, but it seems that Nuance works with Samsung, probably on Siri competitor, the company’s S-Voice and other companies in order to develop voice applications on Android.
Ricci also shared his predictions regarding the way virtual assistants will be in two years, believing they will become much more useful and work across platforms. The only problem that he sees is that although virtual assistants have come a long way in the past few years, making a virtual assistant able to understand what the user wants and to take action after anticipating those needs seems quite difficult.
Siri was appeared with the release of the iPhone 4S, making many of its competitors develop a similar feature. According to rumors, Apple is expected to increase Siri integration across its products with both iOS 7 and OS X 10.9. In addition, Apple appears to be working with car makers in order to provide more comprehensive “Eyes-Free” in-car Siri integration.