For the past 25 years, I have been writing about, and predicting the future of, voice recognition technology. I’m happy to report that, as predicted, the past two years have seen a 100% growth rate in the market for voice recognition, which now represents over $1 billion in annual sales. Server-based voice recognition used to automate call centers has grown to $600 million, and speech technology embedded in items such as cell phones and dashboards (could the iPod be next?) is already running at $125 million a year.
But you haven’t seen anything yet! With ever increasing processing power, new software algorithms and better microphones being built into a wide variety of electronic devices including computers and cell phones, accuracy rates are already close to 100%. In addition, cell phone companies are quickly rolling out 3G networks, which provide the bandwidth that enables users to access powerful software from a server instead of trying to store sophisticated software packages on their phone.
BEYOND THE LAPTOP
A company called Nuance recently launched voice recognition software that allows users to dictate on their mobile device with amazing accuracy. Google is working on technology that will enable users of cell phones and other mobile devices to search by voice. Combine that with applications such as dictating e-mail or short letters, and you begin to see the possibilities. VoiceBox Technologies software on mobile devices can analyze the context of a word within a sentence so that words with double meanings are defined in the correct way based on the intent of the user.
Will speech recognition supplant typing, taping, texting and touching? Not totally, but it will free our fingers and help us keep our eyes on the road!