New Dragon NaturallySpeaking Version Beefs Up Accuracy

Version 9 of the software is very accurate straight out of the box and improves with usage. The new version also eliminates the need for users to train the software before using it.
Nuance Communications says its Dragon NaturallySpeaking Version 9, announced Tuesday, tackles two of the chief hurdles to the adoption of speech recognition -- accuracy problems and training requirements.

"This release makes speech recognition a benefit for everybody," said Robert Weideman, senior vice president of marketing and product strategy for Nuance.

Version 9 is targeted at first-time users, he said. The company is claiming accuracy of up to 99 percent in the new release.

Nuance said high accuracy levels are achieved from the start of usage, although users will find that accuracy will still continue to improve with usage. "We've combined the elimination of voice training and the ability of the product to improve," said Weideman.

He said that 10 years ago the training period for speech recognition required an hour of a user's time. In Version 8, users need just four minutes of training, but Weideman said that even "was an annoying requirement for many."

Dragon NaturallySpeaking 9 operates with "nearly any computing task," said Weideman. In addition to augmenting Microsoft Office programs like Word, Excel, and Powerpoint, the speech recognition solution enables users to give commands like "start Word" and the word processing program starts up.

Version 9 also comes with specific links and integration with Microsoft Outlook and Internet Explorer in addition to Corel WordPerfect, and Mozilla Firefox and Thunderbird.

The new version improves mobility for users, who have access to new support via Nuance-approved Bluetooth headsets, enabling users to dictate wirelessly. New enterprise features provide users with the ability to access the technology from anywhere on an enterprise network. New tools allow administrators to manage Dragon NaturallySpeaking deployments over a network to multiple clients.

The new version is Section 508-certified to allow disabled persons and others with repetitive stress injuries to have hands-free use of their PCs.

Prices for product series range from $99 for Dragon NaturallySpeaking 9 Standard to $899 for the Professional version. Specialized medical and legal versions retail for $1199 each.

Editor's Choice
James M. Connolly, Contributing Editor and Writer
Carrie Pallardy, Contributing Reporter
Roger Burkhardt, Capital Markets Chief Technology Officer, Broadridge Financial Solutions
Shane Snider, Senior Writer, InformationWeek
Sara Peters, Editor-in-Chief, InformationWeek / Network Computing
Brandon Taylor, Digital Editorial Program Manager
Jessica Davis, Senior Editor
John Edwards, Technology Journalist & Author