Another choice for speech app developers: AT&T opens Watson API

Yes, here’s another high tech system dubbed Watson. There’s the IBM brainiac Watson which made its mark shaming human contestants in the game show Jeopardy. Then there’s AT&T’s Watson, a speech engine refined from years of the telecom giant’s research.

App developers rejoice, there’s another speech API in town.

We all know that the number of players in the speech recognition field has dwindled significantly. The market has been through numerous M&As and massive consolidation, and now it’s pretty much dominated by Nuance. Other tech giants have offered a glimpse of their speech projects — IBM Watson (more of a deep analytics system), Microsoft Tellme (not too promising?), and Google Voice Search (limited to search). But you know it’s going to be a tough nut to crack when you read that even Apple is relying on Nuance to power its Siri virtual assistant found on the iPhone 4S.

The Watson API is still only available on limited platforms, but I’m sure AT&T will quickly offer it for iOS, Android, etc. in order to attract mobile developers. Nowadays we’re more likely to speak to a smartphone than to a desktop computer, right?

A competitor to Nuance is good news. The better news? Nuance probably can’t buy out AT&T.

Bonus: An infographic to the evolution of speech recognition.


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