Speech Technology Magazine

The 2016 Speech Industry Star Performers: VoiceBox Technologies

By Leonard Klie - Posted Aug 1, 2016
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VoiceBox Technologies Is on the Go with Automotive and Mobile Solutions

Since its inception in 2001, VoiceBox Technologies has partnered with car, smartphone, and wearable manufacturers to bring its automatic speech recognition (ASR), natural language understanding (NLU), and text-to-speech (TTS) technologies—together with a full range of development, testing, and data services—to market. Thanks to some key moves in the past few months, the company has in many ways revitalized speech for the automotive industry, a sector that had been experiencing a slowdown in speech technology developments during the past few years.

In June, VoiceBox launched the VoiceBox Automotive Software Development Kit (version 5.0) for Windows, Linux, and Android platforms. With full integration of its Embedded ASR engine and its patented context management, VoiceBox can now offer automakers a single solution for powering in-car voice systems. The Automotive SDK includes deep neural networks, which enables it to process complex, contextual conversations, and parallel hybrid processing with machine learning, which enables user queries to be simultaneously processed in both embedded and cloud systems to optimize the delivery of results.

VoiceBox has also integrated its Voice AI technology into the INRIX Open Car platform, providing natural voice access to a broad set of Open Car infotainment applications.

To drive itself even further into the automotive sector, VoiceBox in March launched the Embedded ASR product for automotive applications, which supports more than 20 languages. Similar to VoiceBox’s Automotive SDK, Embedded ASR offers deep neural networks and parallel hybrid processing with machine learning.

“In-car systems have long been held back by the lack of available alternatives in ASR software,” said Tom Freeman, senior vice president of Kymeta, a provider of connected car technologies, in a statement. “By providing its DNN-enhanced ASR together with its superior NLU, VoiceBox now offers automotive companies the opportunity to advance their in-car solutions to better meet the voice experience consumers want.”

Furthermore, VoiceBox in September began working with UIEvolution to accelerate voice innovations for interactive content services and navigation in cars. UIEvolution’s solution enables drivers to access real-time data and services, such as news and music, using their mobile devices or by directly connecting their cars to the cloud. VoiceBox provides the unifying voice interface.

VoiceBox also teamed up with smart audio platform provider Rivet Radio to add voice-enabled virtual assistant capabilities to Rivet Radio’s personalized news for mobile, wearables, and the connected car.

And even though it’s firmly entrenched in the automotive industry—with its technologies in vehicles from Toyota, Fiat-Chrysler, Maserati, Renault, and Subaru, among others—VoiceBox’s presence goes further. This past spring it announced a partnership with Samsung to bring its natural language understanding technology to Samsung’s S Voice services, including Samsung’s intelligent personal assistant. Currently, S Voice can place calls, send texts, book appointments, update social network feeds, open apps, and provide voice-based directions. Samsung mobile device owners can also use S Voice to start their cars’ engines remotely.

VoiceBox’s NLU and Context Management software enables S Voice to juggle multiple conversations and requests simultaneously by remembering the domain for each question. Users can input data through voice, gesture, and touch.

VoiceBox also in April became a Samsung ARTIK cloud platform collaborator, joining a growing Internet of Things developer ecosystem.

“Samsung understands that voice is a critical technology for its future. We are pleased to partner with VoiceBox, and this collaboration will enable us to provide users with a powerful voice experience,” said Peter Koo, senior vice president of Samsung Mobile, in a statement.

Perhaps lost in all the other news, VoiceBox in January acquired Telisma, a speech recognition technology provider, from India-based streaming music provider OnMobile for roughly $700,000.

Deborah Dahl, principal at Conversational Technologies and chair of the World Wide Web Consortium’s Multimodal Interactions Working Group, has been a fan of the company for years. “From the beginning, [VoiceBox] has always had an impressively forward-looking vision of what a natural conversational interaction should be like. Unlike traditional IVRs that simply fill in predefined forms or virtual assistants that just respond to single commands, VoiceBox recognizes that a natural conversation has to go beyond simple commands to longer conversations, going back and forth among multiple topics, always maintaining context,” she says. 

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