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Speech Recognition – Nuance’s Dragon NaturallySpeaking 14

Posted by bcmoney on August 26, 2015 in Multimedia, Semantic Web, Web Services with No Comments

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A sample dictation in Microsoft Word 2010.

A sample dictation in Microsoft Word 2010. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

They often call it Voice Recognition in Nuance’s marketing and promotional material, which doesn’t help the average user to have clarity about what exactly the product’s capabilities are, but in fact up until recently Nuance’s suite of Audio Recognition software has strictly been focused on Speech Recognition.

As such, they have emerged as one of the industry leaders in this field, now on version 14 of their flagship product Dragon NaturallySpeaking.

Nuance/Dragon Company Histories

They certainly have history on their side, the first academic iteration being created in 1975 by Dr. James Baker at the University of Carnegie Mellon in a partnership with IBM Thomas J. Watson Research Center. The prototype reached a “beta version” by 1982 when Dr. Baker left the University to start a company with his wife focusing on commercializing the DRAGON system they developed together. Due to financial struggles and a desire to improve the underlying recognition engine before entering the consumer market, the first 1.0 production-grade version was, however, not released until June of 1997. The company went through financial turmoil and several mergers & acquisitions, but the common theme was that investors and consumers were truly interested in the products and services that Dragon would make possible. It would finally find its stride when an Optical Character Recognition (OCR) and document scanning company with ties to infamous futurist Ray Kurzweil called ScanSoft acquired the Dragon assets, and then merged them with another fledgling Speech Recognition company named Nuance Communications which itself also had roots in academia through SRI’s STAR laboratory.

Mainstream Breakthroughs

The following products/partnerships are the key

  • Dragon NaturallySpeaking 9 achieves above >90% recognition with training
  • Dragon NaturallySpeaking¬†11 achieves above >90% recognition without training
  • Dragon Medical
  • Dragon Legal
  • Dragon Dictate iOS app
  • LG Smart TV 2012
  • Siri project/company partnership (speech recognition powered by Nuance/Dragon)
  • Siri sale to Apple for iOS integration
  • Apple Mac OSX

They’ve also recently announced that they would after many years of requests be opening up their software’s capabilities as a broader platform via publishing APIs and inter-connectable Web Services which other developers can use to build Speech Recognition into their own applications.

Nuance’s Dragon NaturallySpeaking – Voice Command Cheat Sheet

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The goal of the BC$ project is to raise awareness and make changes with respect to the three pillars of information freedom - Behavior (pursuit of interests and passions), Content (sharing/exchanging ideas in various formats), Money (fairness and accessibility) - bringing to light the fact that:

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