Nuance and IBM Team Up to Advance Next-Generation Natural Language Speech Technology

Friday, October 29, 2010 by Nuance Communications UK

Nuance Communications and IBM have announced that the companies have entered a five-year joint-research initiative designed to advance next-generation natural language speech technologies. Leveraging Nuance and IBM's research and development expertise, the initiative is designed to expand the global use of speech technology and set new benchmarks in design, usability and technical excellence.

IBM and Nuance have long focused on speech technology to create and facilitate more meaningful interactions between human and machine, and among people. Today, businesses and consumers alike can easily exploit the technology to communicate naturally and intuitively. Together, IBM and Nuance intend to further enhance these mass-market speech interface solutions to increasingly resemble human-to-human interaction, whether in the car or home, on a mobile device, PC and telephone, or within settings such as customer service, healthcare and many others.

"Our relationship with Nuance demonstrates how IBM is applying its deep research skills and assets to help its collaborators and their clients address some of the world's most formidable and exciting technical challenges," said John E. Kelly III, senior vice president and director of IBM Research. "Combining our technical talent with the expertise of companies like Nuance, we can create transformational technologies that hold promise to make the world work better."

"Speech technology already enables highly intuitive interactions, but there is still significant potential for the development and availability of next-generation speech solutions that allow people to communicate with machines in a natural, unconstrained fashion," said Paul Ricci, chairman and CEO, Nuance.

"The expanded collaboration between Nuance and IBM will deliver an inspiring portfolio of speech innovations that can accelerate the proliferation of speech across global industries. With IBM and Nuance working together, our objectives are within reach and we are well on our way to the day when people will interact with machines just as they would with another person."

The latest collaboration complements two other agreements between the companies to embark on joint projects. Last year, IBM named Nuance its preferred business partner for speech technologies and related professional services, aimed at complementing IBM's industry solutions portfolio. The companies also entered into a licensing and technical services agreement. The agreement announced today focuses on conducting joint research, the results of which will be commercialised by Nuance.