For those that are familiar with Siri and her ilk, you should be pleased to know that Nuance, the company responsible for the technology that drives these voice assistants, has changed the game. In a move that has pleased the mobile development world and many mobile developers, The Voice Assistant Nina SDK has become available today.
What does this mean?
Nina is not a typical voice assistant. Nina is not like Siri, instead Nina offers third-party applications such as banking Apps or the like access to speech recognition. The idea is to offer a high powered speech recognition option to mobile developers. This may be disappointing for those that are looking to use Nina to set up appointments, write text messages, and run web searches. However for mobile developers, Nina offers much excitement.
How Nina works
Nina offers the ability to automate mobile applications using its preset and designed persona and voices. However, for mobile developers looking to customize the experience offered by Nina, fear not. Readily available source code allows mobile developers to create their own custom persona.
For the convenience of the mobile developers, Nina has been broken down into three parts. The core binary APIs that allows access to the cloud services like speech recognition, text to speech, and NLU. The Nina personas APIs that enable mobile developers to alter, customize, and change the user experience. The third piece is the reference designs. This source code has the Nina apps and functions within it.
What can Nina do?
The idea is for Nina to automate applications in banks, insurance companies, and the like. In the video here, you can see the Virtual Assistant Nina being used in a bank application doing things like paying bills, checking balances and statements, and a large list of actions it can recognize and perform. In this other video, you see address changes, money transfers and bill payments, as well as flight info and booking. These are just a few examples of what Nina is capable of.
First in line
Nuance announced that the USAA, a banking service for the U.S. military, will have a pilot program ready in August and the full-fledged application ready in early 2013. Nina is aimed more towards large businesses more than anything else yet anyone can use it.
My Voice is my Password
Nina has some potent voice recognition software. Mobile developers can allow Nina to use sensitive commands, such as those related to banking, money, or bills, and not require a password. The technology is capable of recognizing your voice along with the given command. Nina can even recall that “my wife” is referring to your spouse.
What I Think
I believe that opening up a voice assistant for applications to use is a brilliant idea that could greatly impact the future of mobile applications and their function. It works in a different way than Siri. Siri is a great tool and offers a great service. Siri is not, however, capable of being embedded into applications and for the most part only functions with Apple based applications. I personally enjoy the interactions of a Siri-like assistant; however I understand why they did what they did.
I hope that applications start to adopt this spectacular piece of software. For the most part everything that mobile developers would need is included in the download. I do feel that mobile development companies may be better off creating new applications rather than add Nina into what they already have, but I hope that I am wrong.
Voice assistants have become very popular with large mobile development companies adopting their own such as Siri, Google Now, and S-Voice. This is a technology that we are familiar with and for some reason people really enjoy comparing them against each other. Innovation is the key to technological growth, and Nina is just that. The software from Nuance is a great upgrade from the existing software offering Mobile application developers the ability to incorporate the software into their own apps and even customize its function and sound. This is a huge step even if it is a step away from what we are used to.