New Predictive Speech-to-Text Firm Launches

A new company has anted up to play in the market of embedded speech technologies. TravellingWave, an early-stage mobile speech technology firm developing technology for speech-to-text mobile units, announced today its official launch.

The Seattle-based company has concluded early trials of its solution, called VoicePredict, and is hoping to deploy it with mobile carriers and handset manufacturers this year. VoicePredict software allows users to quickly input text using a multimode system that combines both voice recognition and predictive text, meaning that users can speak words while pressing a special key on their handsets, type in a few letters of a word, and that word will automatically appear on the screen.

"The mobile market industry is finding its voice," said company founder Dr. Ashwin Rao in a press release. "And now, mobile text input is answering this clarion call with more user-friendly technologies. TravellingWave was founded on the premise of revolutionizing the way people interface with their handsets."

The company boasts co-founders and software developers from companies such as Motorola, Microsoft, Nuance, AT&T/Bell-Labs, and Conversay.  

According to Dan Miller, lead analyst at Opus Research, the young company has a lot to prove, particularly since the market for embedded technologies, while not new, is largely niche, and small companies are prone to buy-outs from larger enterprises like Nuance or IBM. However, he expects TravellingWave developers to already know this. "If they’re Conversay folks," says Miller, "they’ve been at this a long time and they do understand the challenges of getting software or firmware embedded in mobile devices and consumer electronics. They’ve got a ways to go between launching their company and technology and having a viable product out there."

As text messaging service traffic increases every year, TravellingWave certainly operates within a market in transition. The trick with TravellingWave’s technology, as with all similar ones, is that it attempts "to do a lot of computation in a very small footprint," Miller says.  Consequently, compromises, in terms of limiting vocabulary, are generally made. So for a product like TravellingWave’s that implies it’s speaker-independent and efficient in making swift speech-to-text translations, there’s ample opportunity to revolutionize an industry in need of improvement.   

Still, Miller says there needs to be more.  TravellingWave "might solve a technology challenge, but what’s required in the marketplace right now are technologies that make things as convenient as possible for the end user," he states.

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