How Speech Technologies Will Transform Mobile Use

by Phil Hendrix

 Jul. 7, 2009

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Mobile is enjoying what may be called a virtuous spiral, driven by compelling new devices, innovative new applications and faster networks that are making mobile broadband a reality. At the center of this phenomenon are user-friendly interfaces, especially the touch screen, which have fueled adoption and use of mobile apps. While much improved, mobile use still demands considerable attention — for example, viewing displays, entering text, navigating through the UI, etc. Advances in speech technologies will fundamentally alter the way in which users experience mobile devices and apps: devices secured with voice authentication; individuals — including the sighted and visually impaired — enjoying mobile content and apps without ever having to touch or view a device; new applications, from search to language translation and others, enabled by speech recognition; and in many other ways. Despite these advances, no OEM or operator to date has delivered a functional, easy-to-use, well-integrated speech solution, or ensured that users are aware of, understand how to use, and benefit from speech functionality — current devices are merely “speech equipped.” This briefing describes these important developments and outlines opportunities for operators and developers to introduce and capitalize on innovative new, speech- optimized solutions.