Nuance Acquires SVOX

Nuance Communications yesterday acquired SVOX, a provider of voice solutions for in-car systems, mobile devices, and consumer electronics. Terms of the deal were not disclosed.

The purchase immediately bolsters Nuance's automotive business, which aims to provide natural language tools that allow drivers to command and control in-car entertainment, navigation, and information systems through voice, but also to access mobile Web content, find local businesses, get directions, communicate, and create and listen to messages. Nuance's speech technology is already used in Ford's Sync system and telematics systems from several other auto manufacturers.

SVOX, which is based in Switzerland, offers pre-integrated search services and technologies focused on speech recognition, text-to-speech, and acoustic signal enhancement, including echo cancellation and beamforming that enable increased voice recognition accuracy in automotive, mobile, and digital home environments. Its TTS stable includes 40 voices in 26 languages.

"The automotive and consumer electronics markets are experiencing a surge in demand for voice capabilities," said Michael Thompson, senior vice president and general manager of Nuance Mobile, in a statement. "By combining portfolios and expertise, we can ignite innovations that enable seamless, natural conversations between man and machine across an amazing portfolio of voices and languages."

Nuance's plan for SVOX is to take the acquired technology, integrate it, and allow third-party developers to better customize applications. In addition, Nuance and SVOX will focus on hybrid cloud and embedded voice platforms as well as bringing more partners into the fold.

"Manufacturers, suppliers, developers, and consumers are all driving an unprecedented demand for fully voice-enabled experiences that require both embedded and cloud-based technology to work hand-in-hand," said Martin Reber, CEO of SVOX, in a statement. "By combining our technology and talent with Nuance's robust voice capabilities and market strength, we'll be better positioned to meet that demand."

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