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Dragon NaturallySpeaking 9.0 launches

Speech recognition moves into consumer space?

Nuance has today launched Dragon NaturallySpeaking 9.0, the latest version of its speech-recognition software.

Boasting support for Wi-Fi and Bluetooth devices such as headsets and microphones, Nuance claims NaturallySpeaking 9.0 will convert speech to text at a maximum rate of 160 words per minute, and is up to 99 percent accurate.

Nuance, formerly known as ScanSoft, asserts that the application supports nearly all 32bit Windows applications, and it has been demonstrated working with Word and Outlook.

Voice-recognition software has come a long way in recent years. Previous versions of NaturallySpeaking have required users to complete a lengthy training script so the program could deal with the distinctive accents and inflections of individual users. One of the main selling points of version 9.0, says Nuance, is that no training is required – it can be used straight away without any lengthy profile-creation procedures.

However, Simon Howard from Nuance's Dragon Professional and Healthcare Solutions division maintains that the basic technology hasn't changed that much. "The technology of the core concept has not changed since its [Dragon NaturallySpeaking's] inception," he told assembled members of the press last week.

It is possible that the fact that no training is required and its reasonable price tag of £80 including VAT for the Standard version could see a traditionally business-focused product move into the consumer space. The Preferred version of Dragon Naturally Speaking 9.0 will cost £150 including VAT.

More information can be found here.


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