While Nuance's involvement in Apple's Siri virtual assistant has never been confirmed, the company is owning up to another enterprise-focused assistant with today's launch of Nina.
Nina aims to do for enterprise apps what Siri does for iPhone users. Nina will allow companies to add speech-based virtual assistant capabilities to their existing iOS and Android mobile apps via an SDK.
Nina combines speech recognition, text-to-speech, voice biometrics and natural language understanding technology in a cloud-hosted environment that will allow applications to not only understand what is said, but also identify who is saying it.
Robert Gary, vice president and general manager at Nuance, said he believes Nina is significant because it is the first virtual assistant customer service app to incorporate both speech recognition and voice biometrics into a single integrated solution that is also paired with an SDK to make customization easier for enterprises wanting to add the voice interface to their existing apps.
The voice biometrics portion of Nina is particularly impressive. The feature allows end users to employ their own voice, which is as unique as a fingerprint, as a means for logging into any given app.
Gary says that while the company is not limiting potential implementations of the technology, Nina is currently aimed at industry verticals, such as banking, finance, insurance, travel, carrier customer service and retail.
The Nina SDK and cloud service is available now from Nuance in U.S., U.K. and Australian English, with additional languages to be made available later this year.