The SCID’s are Coming!!!!

No, we’re not under attack from missiles and I’m not referring to results of the current financial crises. I’m talking about Speech Controlled Internet Devices. These are home consumer electronic devices that use a VUI (voice user interface) for the user to interact with the product. The products themselves are able to access data and information from the internet, and they use a client/server speech recognition system to obtain a higher recognition accuracy than possible with a lone client or lone server approach.

So what is Sensory’s role in this? Well, we originated the terminology, and we’re evangelizing the concept in advance of the release of our new chip in September. The new chip is designed to act as the main controller for SCID’s, although Sensory is looking for other partners on the chip side (like Intel or Phillips) for higher end/higher cost SCID’s. By the way, we’re also looking for server-based speech recognition partners (like Microsoft, Google, Vlingo, Novauris, etc.), and even hardware partners like Cisco that know the Wi-Fi and consumer electronics space.

Some of the press and analysts out there are starting to think about the potential for SCID’s. Troy Wolverton (my favorite Mercury News columnist) had a bit of a changed heart after seeing some of my demo’s. Earlier I had contacted him because he thought speech recognition never worked, so I was quite happy that his column was titled “Speech Recognition Technology is Rapidly Improving.”

I’m not going to say a whole lot about SCID’s here because Dan Miller from Opus Research has already done an EXCELLENT job of writing up a summary of our conversation. Dan highlights the HUGE volume opportunity that SCID’s will enable over the coming few years.

A really interesting angle on the SCID’s is the Voice Search opportunity they enable. Most people think of Voice Search as something for telephone handsets (the quick idea of “voice search” is that a multi-billion dollar ad/transaction business will emerge for voice search just like it has for conventional Google-like search, so all the major search players – Microsoft, Google, Yahoo, etc – are interested). The thing is, there will be billions of consumer electronic products hooked up to home internet, potentially with VOIP connections, so handsets won’t be the only devices enabling search opportunities – SCIDs could become a MAJOR driver for search revenues. Michael over at the Kelsey Group keyed off of the interesting opportunities that SCID’s bring to Voice Search and blogged a bit about that.

About the technology – It’s worth noting two very special things within the SCID’s:

  1. Sensory’s new Truly Hands-Free phrase spotting allows SCIDs to be always on always listening, so your voice becomes your remote control for accessing internet data through your SCID – no need to walk up and press buttons.
  2. Sensory will do really simple and accurate speech recognition on the client that provides standalone value when not connected to the internet, but ALSO ASSISTS THE SERVER RECOGNIZER by feeding categorized data along with the query.
    For example, if “Local News” (or time, weather, etc.) is requested from a news-oriented SCID, the client Sensory recognizer can recognize that and stream a local news report, and if “Other News” is requested we can prompt “Please say the location where you would like news reports”. Then Sensory can send a very targeted query to a server based recognizer identifying the recording as a location where recent news is requested. This simplifies the server task, and improves the accuracy of the “say anything” approach to speech queries.