Scott Kirsner of the Boston Globe published an interesting article this week on “Forging new frontiers in voice recognition software.” The gist of the article is that speech recognition technologies, and the technical experts behind them, are hot. There’s been a rapid increase in the evolution of speech recognition systems over the past decade and powerhouse tech giants like Apple, Amazon, Microsoft, and Nuance are vying for talent and supremacy in the race to master voice recognition and to integrate it into the products of the future.
Kirsner quotes Dan Miller of Opus Research as saying that the killer app is a personal digital assistant that can not only understand what we’re saying, but that can provide us with information based on its knowledge of us, our preferences, and our current situation and location. The example question that an intelligent virtual assistant should be able to respond to appropriately is something complex like “what’s the best place for dinner near my next meeting?” To give a great answer to that question, the assistant would have to know and access a range of inputs: the time and place of your next meeting, the type of food and dining experiences you enjoy, the location, menus, and hours of operation of restaurants close to the meeting venue, etc.
Creating the winning products of the future requires more than just integrating great voice recognition software. It also means building intelligent applications that use speech-based inputs to do amazing things. Kirsner says that competition for speech recognition experts is fierce and that salaries keep rising. So if you’re a student wondering what field to concentrate on, the areas of voice recognition, natural language processing, and virtual agent technologies may be worth consideration. They certainly have a bright future!