Nuance has created a means to use voice input to turn on an electronic system, even if it’s powered off. Conexant Systems has integrated this technology, which Nuance calls Wake Up Word, into its voice input processors.

Consumers would be able to power up and control any smart appliance that includes the Conexant chip, potentially including TVs and set-tops, using voice commands.

Nuance Wake-Up-Word technology consists of speech recognition, natural language understanding and a content ecosystem of Nuance Cloud Services that enable manufacturers, service providers, carriers and developers to create unique mobile experiences across devices and platforms, and in more than 40 languages.  

The two companies say the technology is robust enough to enable voice input from distances of up to 16 feet (5 meters).

"It’s important to understand that when we talk about far-field 5 meter conditions, we mean that users can use their voice as a natural extension of the user interface from across the room – not just at arm’s length away," said Saleel Awsare, Conexant vice president and general manager. "In the future, Conexant's audio solutions will enable voice control of everything from tablets to home appliances, even at a distance."

Conexant audio processors, combined with Nuance Wake-Up-Word technology, create context-aware, voice-enabled devices. Additionally, the solution meets worldwide energy conservation requirements due to its low-power state, the companies said.

Current voice processing solutions are optimized for phones being held within a few inches of the user’s mouth (near-field conditions).

Many voice-input systems associated with TVs, for example, install microphones in the remote controls. One of the difficulties of enabling voice input for TVs is that users are competing with voices of the people speaking on their TVs.

Conexant maintains that its AudioSmart far-field voice processing solution mitigates the effects of ambient noise.