Vocalize.ai Acquired by Sensory
Vocalize.ai, a speech recognition benchmarking company, announced today it has been acquired by Sensory, a company known for on-device speech recognition, biometric security, and natural language understanding technology. Joe Murphy, the founder and CEO of Vocalize.ai, formerly worked at UL and saw an opportunity in the summer of 2017 to launch an independent testing and benchmarking company focused on the performance of voice assistants. Sensory was a customer of Vocalize.ai before the acquisition and the companies had discussed building out and sharing a testing studio. That consideration along with other synergies led to the acquisition discussions. Todd Mozer, CEO of Sensory Inc., commented:
“Sensory has always done in-house technology testing through simulations. However, we saw a growing need for an independent testing source that wasn’t influenced by our data or testing methods, that could also provide more real world, black-box testing. Vocalize.ai offers exactly what we needed and was in fact tremendously helpful in shaping our new TrulyHandsfree 6.0 release.”
Creating Common Evaluation Criteria for Voice Technologies
Since its founding, Vocalize.ai has conducted private studies for hardware and software makers as well as issued public reports on voice assistant performance. The company reported in September 2018 that Google Assistant was outpacing its peers in understanding accented speech and in June 2018 that SonosOne and the Amazon Echo Dot exhibited performance that audiologists would characterize as hearing loss. More recently, Vocalize.ai has focused on privately commissioned benchmarks but did collaborate with Voicebot.ai in the fall of 2018 on a study related to wake word “false positives” where voice assistants wake-up and start listening by accident.
The Vocalize.ai announcement says it will remain an independent company serving clients beyond Sensory. Deal terms were not disclosed and there is no record of previous investors. The company’s core asset is a testing software suite that automates numerous test protocols, most of them based on standards developed by audiologists. However, Mr. Murphy is also conducting tests beyond speech recognition performance that assess other capabilities of leading voice assistants.