Reimund Schmald – Voice User Interface: History, Status, Future

In 1996 Philips introduced the first mobile phone with speech recognition used specifically for dialing. At the time it was an outstanding development. Today, most smartphones offer voice control. And since the introduction of Siri, we know that this field has changed dramatically. Chatting with machines suddenly seems like a real possibility. But it’s not only mobile phones, the technology has also been increasingly integrated into TVs and cars.

At NEXT Berlin 2012 Reimund Schmald gave us a glimpse into the future of speech recognition. The Manager of Nuance especially highlighted the challenges confronting the industry. One of the biggest problems is the use of command words: in order to control your device via voice, you need to know specific commands for each brand. Therefore, Schmald reasons, in the future speech recognition will not be enough. The next step will be to understand natural language: transforming spoken words into text and analysing it in order to recognise what was said.

In his talk Schmald also presented another vision of the future: a device that does not only understand your natural language, but also the logic of the Internet; it will enable you to voice control mobile searches. He expects these developments within the next 3 to 5 years – we’ll see if he’s right.