Friday, October 26, 2007

Conversations 2007 conference

Just back from the Nuance Conversations 2007 conference in Boca Raton, Fla. I must say, as my first time at this conference it was quite different from the conferences I've attended in the past. There were several good presentations, some pretty modest presentations, and an overload of social events.

The keynote speech was by futurist James Canton. He gave a polished presentation that I thought was a little light on analysis. I heard a lot of buzzwords and some predictions I've been hearing for years, like the influence of artificial intelligence on our lives.

Many of the sessions were devoted to speech interfaces for mobile devices. The mobile keynote was very good. Scott Kliger, Jingle Networks, talked about free directory assistance, and how 800 FREE 411 has taken off. Most impressive was the amount of advertising money that will move from printed phone books-$14 billion-to somewhere else when the books are no longer printed. The free DA services will take a good portion of that. He noted that the most requested single number in the US is California Dept. of Motor Vehicles.

The big news was Nuance's purchase of Viecore. It was announced at one of the keynote talks. That generated some buzz.

One of the final sessions made reference to the keynote speaker, with a presentation on "Top 10 reasons you know your futurist missed the mark." Of the couple I remember, "Refers to 'accessing the Internets,' 'predicts that the Cleveland Indians will win the ALCS.'" I've never heard a conference speaker crack on the keynote speaker before.

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