Nuance unveils virtual voice assistant service for mobile app developers


Nuance Communications has launched a virtual assistant service to help bolster the appeal of customer service-type mobile apps by making them respond to users' voices.

The Nina service uses speech recognition and voice biometrics, and Nuance claims it is the first product of its type to understand what users say, as well as who said it.

The cloud-hosted service is aimed at people who make customer service apps, who can embed Nina in their products using Nuance's open software development kit.

App designers can also customise the look and feel of Nina to suit their own branding, regardless of whether they work with the Android or iOS mobile operating system.

The offering has already reportedly been adopted by US financial services provider USAA. The firm plans to pilot the service within its mobile app this month before rolling it out to customers early next year.

Robert Weideman, executive vice president and general manager of Nuance's Enterprise Division, said Nina will allow developers to introduce another level of interactivity into their apps.

"Nina provides our customers [with] a major competitive differentiator by enabling more successful self-service through their mobile apps," he added.

The product is available now in the UK.

Caroline Donnelly is the news and analysis editor of IT Pro and its sister site Cloud Pro, and covers general news, as well as the storage, security, public sector, cloud and Microsoft beats. Caroline has been a member of the IT Pro/Cloud Pro team since March 2012, and has previously worked as a reporter at several B2B publications, including UK channel magazine CRN, and as features writer for local weekly newspaper, The Slough and Windsor Observer. She studied Medical Biochemistry at the University of Leicester and completed a Postgraduate Diploma in Magazine Journalism at PMA Training in 2006.