The 2017 Speech Industry Star Performers: Nuance

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Nuance Takes Its Leadership Role Seriously

Every day, tens of millions of people and thousands of organizations around the world use Nuance Communications’ speech systems to facilitate their work and personal lives. Its Dragon speech recognition and dictation software is already among the industry’s best, but that didn’t stop the Burlington, Mass.–based company from introducing an entirely new suite of Dragon professional productivity solutions just a few months ago. The new Dragon suite leverages Nuance’s deep learning technology to improve its accuracy by at least 24 percent.

The greater accuracy comes with an enhanced ability to learn individuals’ voice patterns and accents and adapt to acoustics in open-office or mobile environments.

“Deep learning is a powerful pattern-recognition technique inspired by the way the human brain learns and interprets sensory input, which Nuance has leveraged to advance accuracy across our speech recognition technologies, including Dragon,” said Vlad Sejnoha, chief technology officer at Nuance, in a statement.

The company has made specialized versions of its Dragon application available to individual industries. Among the new applications released this year under the Dragon umbrella include versions for law enforcement, medical, and legal professionals.

Nuance also continues to enhance its Dragon Drive platform for the connected car. Last fall, for example, it added the Contextual Reasoning Framework, a new cloud-based service that leverages artificial intelligence to deliver contextualized and personalized recommendations for navigation, dining, gas stations, points of interest, and so on. It also expanded the Dragon Drive platform to recognize input not just from the driver but other passengers in the car. Another advance was the addition of embedded dictation and messaging capabilities.

Nuance’s advancements go far beyond its work with speech recognition, though. The company this year also expanded its analytics portfolio with a new voice-of-the-customer analytics solution that brings together CallMiner’s Eureka solution and Nuance’s Insights and Transcription Engine solutions to enable organizations to automate monitoring and scoring of 100 percent of consumer contacts.

The company this year also greatly expanded its Nina virtual assistant platform. In June it announced plans to bring Nina to Amazon Alexa, giving Nina users another channel through which they can provide customer support. Nina is the first intelligent assistant that will integrate with Alexa.

Around the same time, it also launched Nina Coach to enable organizations to train and deploy virtual assistants faster by tapping into artificial intelligence and leveraging existing human knowledge. Nina Coach equips intelligent virtual assistants with pre-existing knowledge, such as chat transcripts and industry-specific dialogue. Nina leverages both AI and human assistance from live engagements to constantly improve the IVA’s knowledge and natural language understanding.

Nuance also augmented the platform with increased security in the form of Nina ID 2.0, which it launched last December. Nina ID 2.0 adds integrated multifactor authentication via artificial intelligence–powered voice biometrics and face recognition.

“Intelligent authentication goes hand in hand with the expansion of virtual agents and intelligent assistants,” says Dan Miller, lead analyst at Opus Research. “With Nina ID, Nuance defined a simple way to establish secure, trusted, and personalized links between customers and the brands with which they carry out business.”

Nuance also continues to expand its biometrics offerings in other ways. In May it released Security Suite, a set of biometric security solutions driven by the latest in artificial intelligence, voice biometrics, and facial and behavioral biometrics to provide advanced protection against fraud. The Nuance Security Suite applies deep neural networks and advanced algorithms to detect synthetic speech attacks. This latest release includes a 45 percent to 55 percent improvement in synthetic speech detection.

“Already this year, around the world, some 150 million people have made more than 1 billion successful voice authentications using Nuance biometrics technology, with not one reported act of fraud,” boasts Brett Beranek, director of product strategy for biometric security at Nuance. “We have been leading this market for many years and across many industries. By adding facial and behavioral biometrics to our portfolio, we are delivering more options for our enterprise customers, more convenience for their customers, and more protection for everyone.”

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