Speech-to-Text Specialist Nuance Mobilizes Dragon App

Dragon Anywhere, a mobile application available this fall for iOS and Android, brings Nuance's voice dictation to mobile devices for the first time.

Nuance Communications, the Burlington, Mass.-based technology company behind the well-advertised Dragon speech-to-text application, announced a major multiproduct launch Aug 18.

Nuance specializes in several voice-related IT sectors, including interactive voice response (IVR), two-way messaging and natural language understanding (NLU) automation. IVR enables a computer to interact with humans through the use of voice and dual-tone multifrequency (TouchTone) tones input via keypad.

The marquee product of the launch was Dragon Anywhere, a cloud-based mobile application available this fall for iOS and Android that brings Dragon's voice dictation and documentation productivity capabilities to mobile devices for the first time.

It's All About Mobility

Also introduced were the new Dragon Professional Individual and enhanced Dragon for Mac desktop packages, along with an enterprise-ready management solution for multiuser corporate deployments.

The new products feature synchronization of Dragon features across PC, Mac, iOS and Android through cloud deployments. Dragon speech-to-text does have a limitation: It works with one voice only.

"This really is the biggest, most comprehensive set of new Dragon products that we've ever launched," Peter Mahoney, chief marketing officer, executive vice president and general manager, told eWEEK. "The focus is around providing Dragon to professional customers who are increasingly mobile and connected."

Dragon Anywhere brings professional-grade dictation functionality to iOS and Android smartphones and tablets, Mahoney said, enabling users to create and edit complete reports and documents and capture detailed notes from any location. The mobile app empowers field workers, lawyers, social workers, insurance adjusters, public safety officers and other professionals to keep up with documentation demands, even when they are away from their desks, Mahoney said.

Using Dragon Anywhere, professionals can finish a meeting, a site visit, an inspection, or other work in the field and begin documenting the interaction on their mobile device—while the information is still fresh in their mind–to produce accurate and detailed reports. Because dictation is captured immediately, they can review and make corrections on the spot, without having to transcribe a recording later or pay for costly transcription services, Mahoney said.

Top-of-the-Line Feature Set

Key features in Dragon Anywhere include:

–fast dictation and high recognition accuracy;

–continual learning of a person's unique voice for improved accuracy; the more Dragon Anywhere is used, the more accurate it becomes;

–no time or length limits on dictation; professionals can speak as long as they want, capturing all of the details needed for complete, accurate documentation;

–robust voice formatting and editing options, including the ability to select words and sentences for editing or deletion, navigate through fields of a report template, and apply common formatting such as underlining, bolding and italics; and

–support for simple importing and exporting to and from popular cloud document-sharing tools such as Dropbox, and saving to note-taking apps such as Evernote, so work can be continued from a mobile device or on a desktop.

Dragon Anywhere will be available in English in the United States and the United Kingdom via the App Store and Google Play in fall 2015 as a subscription-based application, Mahoney said.

Not Quite Ready for Multiple Voice Speech-to-Text

While many potential customers have asked for it, Nuance isn't yet prepared to launch a version of its app that can record any voice and transcribe it accurately into word form.

"There are a lot of use cases for that. It is something we are working toward, and there are pieces of that we can do now. But the multispeaker thing is really hard, for a bunch of different reasons," Mahoney said.

Nuance currently handles more than 14 billion customer engagements each year with 80 percent of Nuance OnDemand deployments utilizing natural language understanding (NLU) and 1.7 billion mobile and Web conversations processed via its virtual-assistant software.

Chris Preimesberger

Chris J. Preimesberger

Chris J. Preimesberger is Editor-in-Chief of eWEEK and responsible for all the publication's coverage. In his 13 years and more than 4,000 articles at eWEEK, he has distinguished himself in reporting...