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Apple acquires Novauris speech recognition firm to work on Siri


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While work on the development of the iPhone 6 might currently be in overdrive, Apple had quietly in the fall of last year gone on to purchase an automatic speech recognition technology company called Novauris Technologies.
Born out of Dragon Systems R&D UK Ltd, Novauris currently has Yoon Kim (CEO), Melvyn Hunt (co-founder) and John Bridle (co-founder) at the helm of affairs. After being acquired last year by Apple, it now has offices in both the UK and the US.
According to a report by Techcrunch, the team now works on helping improve Siri. On being contacted by Techcrunch, Apple gave further proof to the acquisition by saying that it 'buys smaller companies from time to time.' Of course it refused to give out any terms or details of the actual deal.
Novauris has been around since 2002 when the team from the erstwhile British voice and dictation software firm, Dragon Systems regrouped under Jim Baker to found Novauris Technologies. It was only after being purchased out by Bridle and Hunt, in 2004, that Kim came on board as CEO.
Why is Novauris important to Apple? For starters it has a huge database of automatic speech recognition (ASR) technology. Apple had also tried to acquire Nuance, the technology that beats at the heart of Siri. While the partnership with Nuance continues, the acquisition of Novauris will ensure that Apple will have more in house tech and research to improve its voice assistant Siri.
Novauris itself has quite an impressive customer sheet that includes the likes of Verizon Wireless, Panasonic, Samsung, BMW amongst others. Its products are supported on the iOS and the iPhone, it has operated in the embedded space ASR (NovaSearch Compact) as well as the server space ASR (NovaSearch Server).
Some of its apps include a London guide 'Speak&Go London', and also the ASR software-developed in partnership with Panasonic - Novalite. In 2012, it collaborated with Existor, to build a Siri-esque device. The languages supported on its voice recognition products, include US, UK and Singapore English, German, Canadian French, Japanese, Korean, French, Spanish, Mexican amongst others.
Given its impressive profile Novauris' ASR technology will be a huge boost for Apple especially since the latest variant of the iPhone is scheduled to release later this year. Will new changes be incorporated into Siri, or is Apple planning something different? How will the team from Novauris fit into Apple's plans? These are all questions that would make for interesting discussions regarding Apple's future
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