Nuance Communications provides voice recognition technology to handset manufacturers. You might be familiar with the company's "Dragon Go!," a virtual assistant application
, and some believe that Nuance provides the voice for Siri. Nuance is said to be working on a technology that would allow to talk to your smartphone and have it respond, without even touching the device, even when it is in sleep mode
. According to Nuance Communications' chief technology officer, Vlad Sejnoha, the company is talking to chip manufacturers, looking for a way to embed this technology on a chipset and use very little power.
Nuance's Dragon Go! for the Apple iPhone
Sejnoha says that in the next year or two, once the technology is included in new models, you will be able to ask your phone, "When is my next appointment?" while it is in sleep mode, and the phone will wake itself up handle your request. Besides understanding what you are telling it, the phone also needs to verify that its owner is the one speaking to it
. That will require improvements in the current technology so that the owner's voice can be distinguished from amongst everyday chatter and background noises.
There could be some privacy concerns about this type of functionality on a smartphone. The Nuance executive wonders if people will adapt to a technology that is always listening in to your conversations
at some level. There might be some fear that things you are saying are being recorded on your phone and could get hacked into and discovered . So while this could be a useful feature for future smartphones to offer, it might require some additional trust on the part of smartphone owners.