Contact Center Solutions Featured Article

Speak to Me Apple!

April 04, 2014

While not exactly breaking news, and you need to do a bit of connecting the dots, there are two interesting items concerning Apple and voice recognition that members of the contact center solutions community should be aware of. 

First, in case you missed it, there was an interesting posting on The Information that Apple is working on beefing up Siri to integrate easily with other services beyond the few Apple has business arrangements with. This is seen as critical in a world where multi-channel contact center interactions are table stakes of being a player. And, the heat is on Apple to step up its game. Google Now is being enhance, Microsoft’s Cortana for Windows Phone is about to arrive, and a Forbes.Com item on the subject says that Siri supplier Nuance is supposedly enhancing its Wintermute digital assistant with the ability to search a multitude of third-party apps.

The second item of interest which is closely related was a nice piece of investigation by TechCrunch regarding was has been confirmed as a till now undisclosed purchase by Apple of automatic speech recognition (ASR) technology company Novauris Technologies. This is a company whose heritage subject matter expertise arises from executives with backgrounds at voice dictation and recognition pioneer Dragon Systems, Nortel, SRI, Marconi and Aurix.

As with other acquisitions in the tech space by industry giants, including the recent Facebook acquisition of virtual reality (VR) company Oculus, and Microsoft’s purchase of patents for augmented reality (AR) intellectual property from Osterhout Design Group (ODG), bringing foundational technology for what these companies believe is coming next, rather than waiting for organic developments has become important.  

As the article explains, there appears to be a real appetite for Apple to open things up for Siri, and they even give an example of ingenious hackers who rather than wait decided to do it themselves. The last thing Apple can afford is to be left behind in the voice-based interactions arena. Already under siege from the withering Samsung campaigns that have had some impact in tarnishing the Apple brand as no longer cool, and with Microsoft anxious to exploit any perceived weakness in either iOS or Android to get it back into the mobile device race, less than competitive voice-based interactions could ultimately be perceived as a major flaw. 

If nothing else what is shaping up as the battle of the enhanced voices is going to be a good one.  Interestingly, a big beneficiary will be contact centers who catch the wave early so that all customer interactions of any type are not just welcomed but easily accommodated.  

Edited by Cassandra Tucker