Apple Acquires Irish Speech Startup Voysis

Apple has acquired Voysis, an Irish startup that offers an artificial intelligence-powered platform for digital voice assistants to better understand people's natural language inputs.

Financial terms of the deal were not disclosed, and Apple was keeping the reasons for the acquisition close to the vest, saying in a very terse statement that Apple "buys smaller technology companies from time to time, and we generally do not discuss our purpose or plans." Speculation, however, is that Apple will use Voysis' technology to improve the speech recognition of its Siri voice assistant.

Voysis' focus was on improving digital assistants for voice search and online shopping apps. Its technology used WaveNets, designed to process raw audio signals directly, allowing neural networks to learn without the constraints of traditional signal processing. WaveNets rely on artificial intelligence to create a more human-like computer speech experience. WaveNets were developed by Google's DeepMind in 2016.

In late 2018, Voysis launched ViEW - Voysis Embedded WaveNet, making it available for use on any mobile device without needing cloud connectivity. ViEW models were designed to run them natively on-device; removing the need for the data center entirely.

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