Mar 17, 2015

Beyond Siri: Where Will We Find Voice Recognition Software in the Future?

The voice recognition software industry is worth $21 billion a year in revenue with an annual growth rate of 10.7 percent, according to IBISWorld’s Speech & Voice Recognition Software Developers market research report. While voice recognition software has been around for decades, mainstream tools like Siri have pushed it center stage. But the technology is still advancing with no signs of slowing down. Learn more about the history of voice recognition and where is future is headed.

History of voice recognition

New Electronics reports that voice recognition technology surfaced in the 1950s with the development of "Audrey" by Bell Laboratories. The software could recognize digits from a single voice. In 1982, Kurzwell Applied Intelligence unveiled a commercial speech recognition system. Dragon Dictate was released in 1990 and its newer, faster and easier-to-operate model is used in PCs and Macs today.

How does voice recognition work?

When you speak a dictated text message to your smartphone, it sends the data to a central server. From there it accesses its voice recognition software and database. The software analyzes your speech and breaks it down into small parts called phonemes. Next, the audio software in your smartphone can analyze its order and even context of how its used to figure out what you want.

As you may have noticed, Siri and other voice recognition programs don't always work perfectly, but when you speak clearly and slowly enough, it responds accurately. Your smartphone or computer is probably the most common way you’ve used voice recognition software, but other devices are already using the technology (or slated to soon).


MIT Technology Review reports that Nuance Communications (owner of Dragon software) is perfecting a new software system called Dragon TV. Instead of finding shows with your remote or DVR, you can simply ask your TV to find movies starring Clint Eastwood. Samsung televisions already use a version of this technology. The Samsung Smart TV enables you to activate it by saying a command like "Hi, TV" to turn it on and start channel surfing.


If you don't need a TV that can listen and talk to you, choose a voice remote insead. DISH's Hopper Voice Remote keeps your hands free while you're looking for your favorite show. Tell it what you’re looking for and let it do all the work. There's still a clickable touchpad at its center to help you swipe, scroll and zoom for intuitive commands if you want to channel surf the old-fashioned way with a modern twist.

Wearable technology

Google Glass and Google’s Smart Watch are both installed with voice recognition software to turn its users into efficient, hands-free multitaskers. While Google Glass' future remains unclear, smart watches are already on the mass market. The Samsung Gear S connects to your Samsung phone with the ability to make calls and text. Apple’s anticipated smartwatch features all-day battery life, audio playback, camera and the ability to make calls and send texts.


Many workers dream of the day their car can run by themselves and navigate traffic while they catch up on a project or take a snooze. For now, you can already use voice recognition in Toyotas and other cars to check fuel prices, check your stocks, get directions and even make a call. But how wide is vehicle voice technology’s reach? IHS Technology reported that voice recognition will be installed in more than half of new cars by 2019.

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