Sensory Announces 'Truly Hands-Free,' the First Always-On, Always-Listening Voice Control for Bluetooth Devices

Sensory Inc., has announced Truly Hands-Free, a significant enhancement to the BlueGenie Voice Interface, the leading voice control and speech output solution on Bluetooth headsets. For the first time, Bluetooth devices -- including headsets, car kits and stereo headphones -- will benefit from a hands-free trigger or phrase spotting technology. With Truly Hands-Free, the BlueGenie Voice Interface is always listening and virtually impervious to background noise so the user can initiate functions without using even one button trigger.

Mobile Speech Applications Market Set To Triple By 2014

Speech recognition software is expected to increase considerably in the next 5 years as today’s world becomes even more fast-paced.

As part of their latest report, independent data analyst Datamonitor has forecasted that the global market for advanced speech recognition (ASR) technology in mobile devices is set to triple to $99.6 million by 2014 from the current $32.7 million and that ASR in-vehicle telematics will also grow to $208.2 million from the current $64.3 million.

Mobile speech applications allow users to voice-control the operation of a device. Speech applications are also widely made use of in voice-based search for voice-dialing and voice input, where a user can vocally upload data. Also, the increasing trend towards restrictions placed on operating mobile devices while driving is expected to contribute to a growth in the speech recognition software market.

Globally, several nations, including 15 states in the U.S., have come forward to enact legislation that restricts the use of handsets while operating vehicles. Most of these legislations permit the use of hands free devices as an alternative and telecom carriers have been promoting command and control and SMS based services to combat theses restrictions.

In-Vehicle Telematics also make use of ASR and text-to-speech technologies, commonly to input addresses, manage music playlists, read out addresses and more. With an increasing number of devices using network based ASRs, recognition rates have also improved.  In addition to this, the popularity of application stores have allowed feasible options to emerge for smaller operators who can now reach out to the market and provide innovative solutions.

Hands-Free Car Kits Not Truly Hands-Free

The Strategy Analytics Wireless Device Lab service research, “Hands-Free Car Kits: Consumers Lack a Truly Hands-Free Experience,” shows that purchasers of after market car kits in the UK would like to use speech recognition in order to make their car kit experience truly hands-free; but speech recognition systems fall short of expectations.


These findings are based on in-depth one-on-one research sessions with participants near London, England.

“Strategy Analytics research shows that consumers would like their car kits to provide easy and intuitive hands-free methods for dialing and answering their cell phones while driving,” commented Chris Schreiner, Senior User Experience Analyst at Strategy Analytics. “However, consumers struggle with speech recognition due to usability issues.”

Kevin Nolan, Vice President of the Strategy Analytics User Experience Practice, added, "Our research also shows that streaming music is a service in some car kits that adds value for the consumer, although consumers prefer to experience music via direct hookup through their vehicle speakers rather than via an FM transmitter.”

Talking while driving still not safe?

A study by Harvard and the University of Warwick researched the safety of driving while talking and found that people engaged in conversation drove much more poorly than other conditions.

"The worst results came from the subjects tasked with listening to a list of words and then speaking new words that began with the same letters as each word on the list. Those "drivers" had a 480 millisecond delay, which at 60 miles per hour would mean 42.3 additional feet traveled before applying the brakes." 

This task is similar to using an in-vehicle system for command and control purposes.  The driver is speaking to the system and then waiting for it's response and possibly speaking again. A mitigating factor is that typically, speech offers the ability for shortcuts to activate functionality more quickly, reducing the time that drivers are interacting with the system.

In-vehicle systems are not totally hands-free however; they usually are "push to talk" like a Nextel phone or walkie talkies. The driver is end pointing their speech, making the system's job easier.

In-vehicle speech recognition is worth watching, and it may be safer than alternatives, but it still hasn't been shown to actually be safe.

Study Finds Consumers Increasingly Relying on Voice-Enabled Navigation and In-Car Systems

Nuance Communications today announced findings that show consumers will take advantage of automobile voice recognition capabilities if they’re built in. In fact, eight out of nine respondents who own speech-enabled in-car systems and navigation devices regularly use the voice recognition capabilities. The Automotive Voice Interface User Survey conducted by Maix Research and Consulting also revealed a high degree of satisfaction among 73 percent of users that will lead them to recommend the technology to friends and family, as well as plan to repurchase automobiles with speech-enabled functions in the future.

Nuance Unveils One-Shot Destination Entry Technology on Microsoft’s Auto 3.1 Platform

Nuance Communications today announced One-Shot Destination Entry technology on Microsoft’s Auto platform at Embedded World.

Nuance’s One-Shot Destination Entry is based on the latest version of Nuance VoCon 3200, the speech recognition engine that now supports new search algorithms to allow one-shot, multi-slot entry in just one spoken command. Instead of walking through a multi-step dialog and responding to independent prompts for city name, street name and house number, the user can simply speak the address in one shot, stating for example, “196 Sunset Boulevard, San Francisco, California.”

Promptu Unveils ShoutOUT Enabling Voice-to-SMS on iPhone

ShoutOUT enables iPhone users to dictate the text they'd like to use over the phone, then, check the transcribed message for errors, if any, and send the short message service (SMS) to their desired numbers.

The new technology from Promptu is the latest example that substantiates the growing importance of advanced messaging applications in the consumer marketplace. With the number of SMS text messages expected to cross 2.3 trillion by next year and several U.S. states making texting illegal while driving, voice recognition SMS is in high need.

Diminishing Driver Distraction

According to a new study released byFord, users of the Ford SYNC infotainment system are less distracted while driving than those who perform the same tasks in a conventional manner.
The Ford SYNC study tested making and answering a phone call, locating a number from within a mobile phone contacts list, playing a song, and receiving and answering text messages. Throughout the exercise, researchers tracked how long drivers took their eyes off the road, their response time and how the position and speed of their cars changed. [click heading for more]

You can say "Hasta la vista" to text messaging behind the wheel thanks to a new law recently laid down by the Governator.

Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger has terminated a loophole in California's vehicle code that banned drivers from talking on cell phones without a hands-free device but let them to communicate via text messages. The new law that takes effect on January 1, 2009 makes it illegal to drive and text at the same time. Fines start at $20 per offense. The law was partially prompted by the tragic crash of a Los Angeles commuter train in September after investigators revealed the engineer may have been distracted by text messaging before impact. California now becomes the largest state to pass such a ban on text messaging for drivers. Other states are expected to follow with similar laws. [click heading for more]