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Back in October, 2015, word originally broke that Apple acquired the U.K.-based Natural Voice technology firm, VocalIQ — all but fueling rumors and speculation that the Silicon Valley tech-giant may be honing in it’s efforts to enhance the accuracy and effectiveness of Siri — the company’s own, home-brewed natural voice assistant software.
And, well, here we are today — over 7 months later, and it appears that like many of those spectators envisioned, we’re getting our first glimpses of what Apple’s objective and intent behind the multi-million dollar acquisition of Vocal IQ might entail. As a matter of fact, according to the latest report, Vocal IQ’s technology could vastly enhance Siri’s rate of accuracy and awareness of certain search-based criteria in particular.
Vocal IQ, for its part, didn’t even have the chance to launch so much as an app, let alone, get off the ground, prior to Apple going in there and making them a buyout offer they simply couldn’t refuse.
“But why?” you’re likely wondering. “What’s so special about Vocal IQ, anyways?” Great question.
According to a ‘reliable source’ who spoke directly with Business Insider, prior to Apple’s buy-out of Vocal IQ, the U.K.-based startup’s technology had been clocking in at an impressive 90% accuracy rating — when exposed to a slew of difficult, real-world tests. And while 90%, in and of itself, might not seem all that substantial to the average user, the A- grade on an academic scale is night-and-day to the alleged 20% accuracy rate that Microsoft’s virtual assistant, Cortana, Google’s ‘Now’, and even Siri had been garnering.
In particular, the Business Insider report added, Vocal IQ’s high accuracy rate pertains to interpreting more complex, detailed commands — such as, the source provided, when you’re trying to find a nearby Italian restaurant with “open parking and Wi-Fi that’s kid-friendly” — which Siri (and others) are prone to having trouble processing.
A few of Vocal IQ’s most noteworthy features include the following:
For starters, the firm’s technology has been reported to remember the contextual details about previous searches and commands. So, for instance, in the case of our search for an Italian restaurant, a user could easily pull up the same information at a later time when searching for a different eatery (such as Japanese food). Additionally, not only is the Vocal IQ technology said to be better at filtering peripheral, environmental noises, but the system is also said to work so well, with such accuracy, that the average user is likely to be in shock of just how affable the technology really is.
All that said, it’ll certainly be interesting to see how Apple ultimately utilizes its newly acquired Vocal IQ tech to enhance Siri moving forward. At the company’s Worldwide Developers Conference (WWDC) next month Apple is said to be introducing an all-new Siri SDK — which will likely open the door for a swath of app development and integration possibilities. Additionally, as we previously reported, Siri will be making her way into the next installment of Mac OS X v10.12, as well!
I suppose we’ll see soon enough what the Silicon Valley tech-giant has in store and, that said, be sure to check back with us for extensive coverage of WWDC beginning in just a few, short weeks!
What do you think about Apple’s future plans for Siri? Are you excited to see what the company has in store for us at WWDC next month? Let s know in the comments!