With the new year comes the Consumer Electronics Show (CES). In geek land, that means new gadgets. It is amazing how quickly the rarefied air of ‘bleeding edge’ can become part of consumer electronics.
And with 2012, this is exactly what were seeing. Consumer electronics has a relative heavy (LG Electronics, Korea) teaming up with the BIG fish in a small pond of speech recognition, Nuance Communications.
Speech recognition may be a novelty to many, being introduced by Apple’s Seri voice recognition on the iPhone. Yes, any rational individual would admit this is the first mass-market product. In no stretch of the imagination does it make it the first product. This author has been looking at business cases for speech recognition for 25 years.
So what does this have to do with virtualization? Answer, pretty much every thing.
The reality is speech recognition is both resource intensive and until this point a highly niche market. Since most consumers are not yet up to using voice for commanding a computer, it makes complete sense to virtualize a heavy resource that not many people will (yet) utilize.
Virtualization allows with the magic of multi core processors to dedicate the specialized application (in this case Speech Recognition <SR>) to its own core. For the end-user that says SR?, That core is not consuming energy or perhaps more important, RAM. (A person can always plug into the cigarette lighter for more power. RAM is a considerably more precious commodity at this moment in time).
For the SR savvy person, virtualization, turning on and off a single (dedicated?) CPU core gives them quite snappy performance without going through energy as though it was coming from a hydroelectric plant in the trunk of the car.
While fully acknowledging the SR advances made on the Apple iPhone with Seri, let’s call a spade a spade. It requires the heavy lifting of SR to be done on Apple’s servers. And that means wireless connectivity. No connection, no SR.
Nuance Communications in a joint venture with LG Electronics is going to be directly competing with Windows 8 and its internally developed Speech program, which has used the same code since Vista, Windows.
Is it possible that Apple’s Siri will open the doors to these two competitors, that are seemingly hell-bent on not requiring wireless communications and saving resources by using virtualization?