Nuance and IBM to Develop Speech Solutions for Ten Industries

Nuance Communications and IBM today entered into a comprehensive joint initiative agreement to accelerate innovation and advanced speech recognition.

This new partnership builds upon the technology and IP collaboration between the companies announced earlier this year. 

According to Daniel Faulkner, vice president of product management and marketing for Nuance’s enterprise division, the agreement was born out of the companies’ common interest in accelerating the availability of the most effective solutions possible and delivering and commercializing innovations as quickly as possible.

As part of the joint initiative agreement, IBM has named Nuance its preferred business partner for speech technologies and related professional services to complement IBM’s Industry Solutions portfolio.

The companies will collaborate to address the needs of customers in ten industries: automotive, banking, electronics, energy and utilities, healthcare and life sciences, insurance, media and entertainment, retail, telecommunications, and travel and transportation.

Faulkner says the ten focus industries were identified because of an evident market need.  He notes that Nuance has significant experience in each industry.

“We felt that by collaborating and partnering with IBM—as defined in this relationship—we would be able to deliver more value to those customers and prospects in our install base and in the market,” Faulkner says. “We understand the areas where the next range of improvements and innovations need to come and we feel we will be able to meet those needs squarely.”

According to Nuance, the companies plan to concentrate their efforts in three areas:

  • forging a complementary relationship between Nuance’s advanced speech technologies and related professional services, and IBM’s global business services organization and Web application server capabilities for traditional and Voice over Internet Protocol network infrastructures;
  • collaborating to fulfill customer requirements for advanced, automated customer self-service and agent optimization; and
  • working to address the needs of in-vehicle and on-device original equipment manufacturers that seek to incorporate next-generation technologies for voice access to device control, search, and media management.

The collaboration between the two companies will, according to Faulkner, result in many business benefits for customers—both in terms of service and technology.

“We think that the underlying speech recognition, text-to-speech synthesis capabilities that we can deliver through the partnership will accelerate more quickly than they would have on a stand alone basis,” he says. "And we both have service organizations that have vertical experience and understand the various key performance indicators and business metrics in the markets we're addressing. And I think we'll also see benefits in the definition of the solutions and the delivery of the solutions coming out of the partnership that are informed by that shared experience."

Although Faulkner couldn't disclose any future plans, he says that Nuance views IBM as a strategic partner and wants to maintain a rich relationship with the company.

"It's an important relationship to us," he says. "It's one that we're going to continue to invest in."

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