updated 12:55 pm EDT, Mon August 6, 2012
Voice assistant includes voice biometrics for security
Nuance has released a software development kit for its previously announced virtual-assistant software, named Nina (Nuance Interactive Natural Assistant). The SDK will allow developers to add voice-based features to their apps, though Nuance suggests Nina is geared for businesses that want to automate their mobile product support, rather than providing the more general appointment scheduling and message composition services offered by Siri and Google Now.
Taking advantage of Nuance's Voice Assistant Cloud, Nina is claimed to understand complex application-specific phrases such as "What's the deductible on my house insurance?" which would usually require either a call to a customer care agent or deep navigation through an in-app menu system. Built-in vocal biometrics are also said to recognize the speaker, allowing the software to handle account security without passwords.
Developers can utilize the Nina Virtual Assistant SDK for both Android and iOS platforms, with initial support for US, British and Australian English—other languages are promised for later in the year. Nuance is also allowing organizations to brand their own virtual assistant persona, utilizing one from an existing range of Nuance text-to-speech voices or paying for a custom voice to be created. [via Engadget]