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Nuance reveals cross-platform personal assistant

Alternative to Siri and Google Now which works across devices, codenamed Wintermute

By MARK JONES

Published: 11 January, 2013

READ MORE: US | Nuance | Applications | Android | iOS

Two names may currently dominate voice-controlled personal assistants, but one company with a successful history in voice recognition software is planning on making its mark in the mobile world. Nuance, well-known for its Dragon software, has appeared at CES this week to show off its cross-platform personal assistant currently codenamed Wintermute.

Where Wintermute stands out is that it's cloud-based, meaning users can flit between devices picking up where they left off. Music can be paused on one device, then on another device the user can tell the Dragon Assistant software to continue playing the song they were listening to. In another demonstration, the assistant is told to put "the game" on a TV, interpreting that "the game" means a sporting event and determining which one based on the user's preferences.


Nuance's aim is to create a highly personalised assistant, building on a large collection of information that will expand over time. This information will be entered by the user, in addition to the software learning from search terms and voice commands. The plan is to also gather information from applications so it can build up an even bigger database of personal preferences.

The results of a survey Nuance conducted suggests the company is on the right track. Over 80% of those questioned said they would want their personal assistant to be accessible across all their devices -including cars, TVs and cameras, in addition to smartphones, tablets and PCs.

While Google no doubt has the edge when it comes to learning an uncanny amount about a user's likes and dislikes, once Nuance's alternative catches up it's going to have a clear edge. Especially as more devices become "smart", such as the range of Android appliances that LG revealed at CES this year.

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