Microsoft acquires Nuance—makers of Dragon speech rec—for $16 billion

Microsoft acquires Nuance—makers of Dragon speech rec—for $16 billion

Enlarge / In this 2011 picture, Dr. Michael A. Lee utilizes Dragon Health-related voice-recognition computer software to enter his notes just after looking at a affected individual.

Before right now, Microsoft declared its ideas to acquire Nuance for $56 for every share—23 percent previously mentioned Nuance’s closing price tag past Friday. The deal adds up to a $16 billion money outlay and a complete valuation for Nuance of about $19.7 billion, which includes that firm’s assumed financial debt.

Who is Nuance?

In this 2006 photo, Rollie Berg—who has extremely limited use of his hands due to multiple sclerosis—uses Dragon NaturallySpeaking 8 to interact directly with his PC.
Enlarge / In this 2006 picture, Rollie Berg—who has incredibly limited use of his arms because of to various sclerosis—uses Dragon NaturallySpeaking 8 to interact specifically with his Pc.

Nuance is a well-acknowledged player in the discipline of natural language recognition. The company’s know-how is the main of Apple’s Siri own assistant. Nuance also sells very well-recognized own speech-recognition program Dragon NaturallySpeaking, which is invaluable to many men and women with a huge selection of actual physical disabilities.

Dragon NaturallySpeaking, initially introduced in 1997, was one of the 1st commercially accessible continual dictation products—meaning program that did not demand the user to pause briefly among words and phrases. In 2000, Dragon Techniques was acquired by ScanSoft, which acquired Nuance Communications in 2005 and rebranded alone as Nuance.

Earlier variations of Dragon program utilised hidden Markov models to puzzle out the this means of human speech, but this system had major constraints in contrast to modern AI algorithms. In 2009, Stanford researcher Fei-Fei Li developed ImageNet—a substantial teaching facts set that spawned a boom in deep-finding out algorithms made use of for modern-day, core AI tech.

Following Microsoft researchers Dong Yu and Frank Seide properly used deep-finding out strategies to true-time automatic speech recognition in 2010, Dragon—now Nuance—applied the similar procedures to its personal speech-recognition software program.

Rapidly ahead to right now, and according to the two Microsoft and Nuance, medically specific variations of Dragon are in use by 77 per cent of hospitals, 75 p.c of radiologists, and 55 percent of doctors in the United States.

Microsoft’s acquisition perform

Microsoft and Nuance commenced a partnership in 2019 to supply ambient clinical intelligence (ACI) technologies to health care companies. ACI know-how is meant to minimize physician burnout and improve performance by offloading administrative responsibilities on to computer systems. (A 2017 research printed in the Annals of Spouse and children Medicine documented physicians typically spending two several hours of file-preserving for every solitary hour of true affected person care.)

Attaining Nuance presents Microsoft immediate obtain to the company’s complete wellbeing treatment client listing. It also gives Microsoft the option to drive Nuance technology—currently, generally made use of in the US—to Microsoft’s own massive intercontinental sector. Nuance chief government Mark Benjamin—who will carry on to operate Nuance as a Microsoft division after the acquisition—describes it as an possibility to “superscale how we change an business.”

The transfer doubles Microsoft’s full addressable market place in the health and fitness treatment vertical to practically $500 billion. It also marries what Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella describes as “the AI layer at the healthcare place of shipping and delivery” with Microsoft’s own large cloud infrastructure, which includes Azure, Groups, and Dynamics 365.

The acquisition has been unanimously authorized by the boards of administrators of the two Nuance and Microsoft and it is predicted to near by the finish of 2021.

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