The company has yet to sign a pilot user for the technology in Australia but is targeting government, telecommunications companies, banks and airlines as being among the most likely early adopters. Nina can also make use of voice biometrics, which would allow someone to log on to, say, a banking application simply by speaking into their smartphone, and then check their balance or make a payment using simple voice commands.
Jason Stirling, senior vice president and general manager of Nuance Asia Pacific said interest in voice activated applications had been driven by the emergence of personal assistant technologies such as the iPhone’s Siri and Samsung’s S-Voice. Nina (an acronym for Nuance Interactive Natural Assistant) was intended as a “virtual assistant for business”.
The version that the company demonstrated in Australia today was however clunky and slow, which Mr Stirling attributed to the fact that it was being run from servers in the US. He said that Nuance was negotiating to host the system locally, although was not able to provide further details of when that might be available to clients.
Mr Stirling said that while the company expected most organisations which developed their own apps using the technology to make use of Nuance’s Nina cloud service, it was possible to install Nina on corporate systems.
For a fee the company will also develop a customised voice for the app.
A range of predesigned templates are available along with source APIs to allow developers to integrate Nina functionality with existing or developing enterprise applications.