Archive for February 23rd, 2009

I-Feature: Nuanced speech and building a cross-industry app

Two new items have been posted on the Interactive Feature page, which this montháfocuses on the future of wireless. The first is a podcast with Nuance Communication’sáchief scientistáVlad Sejnoha about the possibility of speech being used not just as a primary means of interfacing with the device but as a much more intuitive interface. The second is a news story from Mobile World Congress on Alcatel-Lucent’s new NG Connect program.

Though neither item would appear obviously related to the network of the future–at least not as obviously as our first piece detailing Ericsson CTO H├ąkan Eriksson’s reimagined wireless topology–I think both offer an interesting perspective on how we will develop and interact with applications in the future. NG Connect is an intiative of the present, but it’s one that clearly focuses on the problems of developing the next generation of applications. Today we face a crisis of integration: We have all of the building blocks in place necessary to wirelessly connect cars, to remotely link doctors to hospitals or create self-updating digital advertising networks, yet those sorts of applications don’t readily exist today. As Alcatel-Lucent vice president of emerging technology Derek Kuhn explains it, the wireless industry has always worked separately from the industries it intends to connect. The building blocks may have been in place, but only in a few case have the industries that own the individual piecesáputáthem together in a substantive way. NG Connect is an initial attempt to rectify that problem by pairing telecom vendors up with their counterparts in other industries.

Speech recognition is one technology that has been integrated with wireless for some time, but according to Vlad Sejnoha we’re just seeing the beginning. As speech interface algorthms and the artificial intelligence behind them grow more powerful, so grows the need to develop alternative ways to interface with the device. Nuance isn’t just developing better speech recognition, though, it’s tackling the problem of context and intuition. Sejnoha believes that we won’t just be verbalizing commands that would normally be typed or clicked on a screen; rather we’ll merely be conversing with our phones. more

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