Enterprises slow to join voice-recognition surge

Analysts say Amazon's Yap and Apple's Siri could push companies to seek voice apps for workplace

Amazon's recent purchase of Yap, a maker of voice recognition technology, and the arrival of Siri speech software inside Apple's iPhone 4S smartphone have sparked heightened consumer interest in voice commands for smartphones and tablets.

Yet, questions remain about whether or when enterprises will start widely deploying voice recognition technology on mobile devices, partly because internally developed, specialized apps would have to be built to overcome issues like background noise that could corrupt its operation.

"Voice recognition technology has been around for years, but has failed to make a real breakthrough," wrote Declan Lonergan, an analyst at Yankee Group, in a recent blog post. "Nobody has found the secret sauce to create good user experiences centered on voice-based interaction with a personal device."

Lonergan and others do credit Apple with pushing the technology forward in the Siri beta speech-enabled personal assistant in the iPhone 4S. "Voice-enablement will be a hotbed of activity in the smartphone space during the next couple of years," Lonergan added.

Analysts said its apparent that Amazon bought Yap to add voice command capabilities to Kindle e-readers and future versions of the Kindle Fire, though they noted that the version of the tablet released this week doesn't even include a microphone. Amazon didn't respond to a request for an interview to discuss its plans for speech recognition technology. first disclosed Amazon's purchase of Yap on Nov. 9. The post cites a Delaware legal filing showing Yap Inc. was acquired by Yarmuth Dion Inc. on Sept. 8, and that the combined entity would be based at the address of Amazon's corporate headquarters in Seattle.

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