Nine Great Innovations, Opportunities and Challenges for 2012 - Slide 6

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While voice recognition technologies gained significant attention in 2011, GP Bullhound believes that broad market utility and adoption will again fail to materialize due to remaining technical constraints.

The launch of Siri on the iPhone 4S was one of the key selling points for the new iPhone 4S in 2011, but after the early attention, reviews and feedback are turning increasingly negative. Siri also spawned a number of imitators and followers (for example, Amazon acquired Zap), and GP Bullhound expects further disappointments ahead.

A primary complaint about Siri is that it only understands U.S. English, and has trouble understanding people who speak English with an accent. Even those people who are native English speakers have reported that Siri frequently misunderstands commands. Also, Siri can only search for businesses, maps and traffic in the U.S.

Other recent voice recognition app lunches include Dragon GO! and Cluzee. Dragon GO!, the offering from Nuance (who licenses their voice recognition technology to Apple) is widely used by both Android users and iPhone users who haven’t upgraded to the 4S. While Iris has taken steps towards legitimacy, such as tying their answers into the database for question-and-answer website ChaCha, this service has to date received lukewarm reviews. Cluzee has also been widely criticized for its inability to interpret natural speech. Google is also rumored to be developing a Siri competitor that could be built into the native Android OS, but we doubt that this will change the general picture. Despite the innovation in the space and progress that voice recognition technology has experienced recently, GP Bullhound believes that the technologies have a long way to go before they displace mobile search.

Companies to Watch: Nuance

As technology analysts and advisors, GP Bullhound expects a volatile 2012 with pockets of great innovation, opportunity and new successes, but also continued challenges as commoditization will wreak havoc to some industries, and hype will remain in others creating near-term opportunity and in some cases long-term issues.

We are entering the new year under rather unusual circumstances. The macroeconomic outlook remains cloudier than ever due to unprecedented uncertainty around a number of major global economic and political situations including the fate of the Euro and the European economies, the status of the U.S. recovery and the role of the U.S. dollar, nervousness in recently outperforming emerging markets, like Brazil, and the global impact of a slowdown in China just to mention a few.

Some things do remain the same however such as the continued global Internet trend, the rapid mobilization of users and applications and the inevitable trend of increased online social interaction.

In 2012, GP Bullhound expects Internet to continue its inevitable shift from being an information and content channel to a trusted platform for socializing, sharing, communicating and most importantly for 2012, consuming. Furthermore, they expect a lot of opportunity to come out of the rapid adoption of mobile online activities, particularly in emerging markets. They also expect to see some much needed innovation in the enterprise software arena, which is now well behind the consumer technology curve.

The macroeconomic outlook however remains cloudier with unprecedented levels of uncertainty on a global scale. In an ever-more connected and competitive global technology world, there will be little room to hide without differentiated products or services. The value of IP will continue to rise, while commoditization will punish the me-too players. As a consequence, they are seeing investors and acquirers becoming increasingly willing to travel far to find best-of-breed companies, supporting an anticipated rise in cross-border acquisitions and investment activities. All in all, they look forward to an interesting 2012.

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