Nuance Communications, best known for its Dragon NaturallySpeaking software, has agreed to buy Tweddle Connect for about $80 million in cash, the companies announced. The acquisition will take place in the third quarter and will broaden Nuance’s foray into the growing market for voice-recognition technologies in automotive.
Tweddle Connect is an in-car infotainment system application and content service delivery platform which is used in Toyota products (Toyota Entune, Lexus Enform) which competes with Nuance’s Dragon Drive, which is in many cars made by BMW, Chrysler and Ford.
Although Nuance hasn’t said, it’s very likely that the company will meld the two together, or at least make them cross-compatible, in order to simplify the software updating and proliferation process. The company explained it this way in a press release:
“Tweddle Connect’s end-to-end service delivery platform will be combined with Dragon Drive’s hybrid embedded-connected voice platform to provide automakers a single, turn-key solution that offers voice, natural language understanding, dialog management, expressive text-to-speech, in-car connectivity, apps, content, and dynamic application user authentication – all integrated as part of one holistic offering.”
While this might sound like monopolization, it’s actually good for the industry as it melds two of the most common in-vehicle voice recognition systems and will make it less expensive in the longer run for automakers to include the tech in their vehicles. This will speed adoption in the same way designs in the past have melded to become commonplace. From the air conditioning in your car to the way cruise control works, this has been the automotive norm for decades. From this point forward, the chief competition to Nuance will be free-floating smart phone apps rather than in-car solutions, but that will still spell a lot of rapid change through competitive development.