Jingle markets a free telephone lookup service known as 1-800-FREE411 and Nuance provides the speech recognition utilized by Jingle. Nuance noted that Jingle currently attracts more than 20 million calls a month and market research analysts predict its growth rate is expanding more than 200% a year.
"The use of traditional directory assistance service is declining," said Peter Mahoney, director of worldwide marketing at Nuance, in an interview. "People sit at their computers and look up numbers. But you don't have that option presented to you using a cell phone in a car."
Noting that Nuance already works with Jingle to help users with cell phones equipped with GPS technology, Mahoney said the new partnership will push the companies to improve both accuracy and automation of the directory assistance service.
The deal between the two companies calls for Nuance to refer and market Jingle's Ad Platform to its customers.
Scott Kliger, Jingle's founder and chief technology officer, said Jingle's service has successfully scaled to the point it now supplies more than 1.5 million speech enabled audio ads a day.
Helping to drive free mobile DA service, Nuance noted, are the relatively high prices of DA calls -- up to as much as $3.49 per call. Suggesting that the planets are aligning for the service's growth, Nuance noted also that the U.S. population is increasingly mobile and it needs easy-to-obtain category searches. For example, think finding a Starbucks or a hospital.
"At the same time, the advertising community is increasingly searching for new channels that enable custom, highly targeted messages," Nuance stated in a release. "The result of this convergence is a new DA business model where services are free to consumers and supported by personalized advertisements." The company observed that consumers using a free DA service often make a quick purchase decision when using the service.