Analysis of China's speech recognition technology market from the current situation of Nuance

Nuance has been rushing into China a few years ago, and the road to development has been astounding. Apart from the seizure in the field of car voice navigation, there is almost no income in other fields such as finance, government, and call centers that were originally vowed to win. Until 2013, Nuance’s former Greater China President Zheng Yuqing left, and Nuance’s rumors of being the global voice leader in the Chinese market have been discussed in the industry.

Although Nuance's global performance is still bright, Nuance's financial report shows that revenue in fiscal 2013 is expected to reach $2.2 billion, while the company had only 232 million in 2005, a tenfold increase in 10 years. And on Nuance's official website, there are many Nuance's descriptions of global voice: more than two-thirds of Fortune 120 companies use Nuance solutions; Nuance voice solutions automatically handle more than 12 billion phone call-in interactive services each year; more than 8,000 Customer voice service solutions; voice support for more than 700 million mobile devices; the top 10 automakers are Nuance customers, and currently 100 million vehicles with Nuance voice solutions are on the road...

But as we have seen, these achievements are the sum of Nuance's global market, and the data in the Chinese market has not seen public data release. However, the main source of Nuance's performance in the Chinese market is the in-vehicle market. This is an indisputable fact.

Nuance has always stressed that in the past two years, the number of car speech recognition technology users has maintained a considerable increase. In 2012, 20 million new cars were equipped with Nuance's speech recognition technology. In 2013, this number has climbed to 28 million units. Increased by 40%. However, according to some information obtained by the author D1Net, Nuance's considerable growth in the automotive field is also due to the increase in global autos. The main customers are global car companies such as BMW, Audi and Mercedes-Benz. The car customers in the Chinese market are mainly BYD's new Si Rui series cars.

The Chinese voice market, which has intensified market competition, has long been the era of “one can beat the world”. The Chinese voice market has already had its own pattern.

Overall size

According to the "2013 China Intelligent Voice Industry Development White Paper" released by China Intelligent Voice Industry Alliance, intelligent voice has entered the stage of rapid application. Last year, the scale of China's intelligent voice industry was about 860 million yuan, driving the output value of related industries to 10 billion yuan. It is expected that by 2017, the scale of related industries will increase by 100 billion yuan, and the proportion of relevant global industry will increase from 5.6% last year. 17.1%.

The above data for the voice industry market is not particularly credible. Only the 2013 annual report released by Keda Xunfei shows that the total operating income is 1.25370.78 million yuan, a year-on-year increase of 59.92%, and the total profit is 3205.84 million yuan. I would like to ask how the content of the above white paper is convincing.

Judging from the various survey results of various voice vendors, the author estimates that the overall scale of China's intelligent voice industry should be around 2 billion. Of course, from the perspective of industrial scale, the voice industry is still on a small scale compared with other informatization construction.

Competitive landscape

1. From the perspective of market composition: it can be divided into two international and domestic camps.

International manufacturers mainly rely on Nuance, Google, and Microsoft, but these vendors have fundamental differences in their understanding and research of speech because of their different positioning. Nuance has always focused on the research of intelligent speech, which is more professional and focused than Google and Microsoft. Google and Microsoft are mainly their own voice applications.

The main advantage of foreign voice manufacturers is that the research on voice started very early, and the foundation accumulation is very deep. In addition, the acceptance of voice services by foreign customers is relatively high.

Compared with foreign countries, domestic voice technology providers started late, but they are developing rapidly. The earliest Keda Xunfei, followed by Jietong Huasheng followed closely, coupled with the addition of traditional rookie voice companies such as Zhongke Xinli and Yunzhisheng. Since last year, Baidu, Sogou, Tencent, etc. have also applied due to their business needs. Enter the voice market through capital acquisition or independent research and development.

Therefore, judging from the composition of the above-mentioned voice companies, the Chinese voice industry has formed an industrial structure focusing on other major traditional voice companies and the most peripheral voice applications.

Obviously: China's voice market is still dominated by China's own local enterprises, which is significantly different from other IT informatization fields from the beginning by international companies.

2, from the perspective of the industry market composition: can be divided into education industry, automotive industry, call center, Internet applications, mobile Internet applications, etc.;

Education: The University of Science and Technology has undoubtedly occupied the vast majority of the market share. The Putonghua test and listening tests of various education departments have introduced the voice technology of the University of Science and Technology.

Automotive field: The international brand of car-mounted voice is almost monopolized by Nuance. The global strategy of brands such as BMW, Audi and Mercedes-Benz makes Nuance's global voice recognition technology advantage fully reflected. Compared with Chinese local voice vendors who are still on the road to Chinese native languages, Nuance's global speech recognition technology is clearly unmatched.

Call Center: The author has always believed that voice recognition technology should be strongly applied to the call center, but the call center as an important mode of customer service has been stalled in the exploration of intelligent voice interaction, and there are very few large-scale promotion applications. When Nuance first entered the Chinese market, he was confident that he hoped to force the call center of the financial system, but the results were dangerous, so he changed his strategy.

Internet applications: Internet applications are a fast-growing market in recent years. Both smart voice search and map navigation are regarded as a key factor in future Internet competition. For example, Baidu and Sogou are competing, Baidu map, Baidu navigation has just opened the voice application, Sogou map navigation dog has fully used the functions of speech recognition, speech synthesis, semantic understanding, voice wake-up.

Mobile Internet Applications: If Internet applications are a fast-growing market in recent years, mobile Internet applications are the fastest-growing market. We have seen that major voice application vendors have made significant strides.

For example, Nuance has made plans for smart voice applications for the next generation of intelligent systems for mobile phones, personal computers, wearable devices, televisions, connected cars and mobile applications; the Lingyun platform created by Jietong Huasheng and the flexible platform of Keda Xunfei. Both provide voice access for mobile internet applications.

Obviously: the application field of China's voice industry is limited to a few relatively mature industries, and the service application model is still very simple, and has not yet formed a particularly representative product. Compared with foreign markets, an Apple Siri application makes Nuance famous all over the world, and China's representative products are hard to remember.

Just analyzed the current situation of the Chinese voice market, then we look for reasons.

Speech injury

One of the injuries: unconventional competition;

There is a very strange phenomenon in the Chinese voice market. The heads of the voice manufacturers are called "brothers and brothers" in the name of the competitors. Although this is related to the fact that everyone is famous, it will be discovered. There are quite a few secret doors.

The technical requirements of voice itself are relatively high, and it is necessary to have a long-term basic research as a background, and realize the real landing of scientific research productivity through market-oriented operation.

Chinese voice technology providers are indeed famous:

With the background of the University of Science and Technology of China and the Institute of Chinese Academy of Sciences, and the support of the Anhui Provincial Government, the University of Science and Technology has almost stood out in the forefront.

The founder of Jietong Huasheng came from Tsinghua University, but has always been a private enterprise. He is behind him. Last year, he finally took a strategic alliance with Baidu and Tsinghua University, hoping to compete with competitors in the voice market.

Although Yunzhisheng is a rising star, because of the background of China Automation Research Institute and the application experience in Shanda, it has also made a place in the Chinese voice market.

Zhongke Xinli was able to grow up quickly in the disorderly competition of the above-mentioned several manufacturers. In the view of the corporate network D1Net, the above-mentioned enterprises seem to want to cultivate their own confidants in various Balance strength in the game. In this game, Zhongke Xinli grew up independently.

Chinese voice manufacturers are also these few, competition is routine, but unconventional competition should be avoided.

Two of the pain: digging the corner

I also said earlier that the basic technology of the voice industry is profoundly studied. Therefore, voice talents are relatively scarce, and it is common for all competitors to dig each other. There is no news on the counter, and I know a few talent battles in the industry.

Of course, talent competition is not just a unique phenomenon in China. The competition of international big-name companies is actually more ruthless. As everyone knows, Nuance became famous because of Apple's Siri, but soon, Apple announced that it would no longer use Nuance's voice. At the same time, the battle for talent is also starting. According to foreign media reports: Apple has established a research center in Boston, only 15 miles from the Burlington headquarters in Nuance, and former Nuance employees are studying the non-Nuance version of Siri. The final result must be that, gradually, the iPhone can do Nuance.

Talent competition is always an important factor in the company's growth, but voice technology research needs a relatively stable research environment. Excessively digging the corners of the wall is very unfavorable for the growth of talents.

to sum up

Of course, Nuance has many injuries in the Chinese market. As a world-renowned voice company, Nuance has a transnational advantage, but after all, there will be differences in the understanding of Chinese local voice. This is one of them;

Second, Nuance's speech technology is based on statistical inference, which is identified by phonemes (syllables) and context. The technology itself is relatively complex. At the same time, Nuance's cooperation on voice requires a high license fee, which is not in line with China's national conditions.

Third, the collection and analysis of speech has become the most important part of a country's information security. Especially after the exposure of the US Prism program, voice information security has received enough attention. Under this background, Nuance is indeed in the Chinese market. Time. The injury is also expected.

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