March 17, 2014

Voice picking? There's an app for that

By DC Velocity Staff

Move over Siri, Jennifer is now in town. Voice system developer Lucas Systems Inc. today announced that its Jennifer VoicePlus applications will be certified on smartphones, starting with the Samsung Galaxy S4.

The new smartphone Jennifer solution is now being tested in the field and will be generally available in the second quarter of 2014.

While the company started by looking at the Android platform, plans are also on tap for iOS.

The benefits of using voice on a consumer device as opposed to an industrial-grade one are ease of use and economies of scale, said Jennifer Lachenman, vice president of product strategy and business alliances. The phones are designed to be user-friendly, and companies can take advantage of the large-scale manufacturing of the device for consumers to get the phones at a reasonable price point.

Lachenman also believes the move opens Lucas Systems up for greater application innovation, such as moving next into wearable accessories such as "smartwatches."

In the past, some companies have shied away from implementing smartphones in the warehouse due to concerns about durability and security. Lachenman says smartphone manufacturers are working to allay those fears with more rugged devices and accessories, such as cases, that protect the phone. Security measures such as malware protection, encryption, and remote locking and wiping are also improving.

Lucas will continue to support and add industrial devices. Lachenman sees smartphones as merely being one of a portfolio of products that Jennifer can be implemented on.

Lucas considers its development of a smartphone app to be the next logical step in the company's philosophy of focusing on the application side of voice as opposed to the actual hardware. The company is not tied to a particular hardware, and its technology was the first to be implemented with a multimodal device that incorporated such things as a scanner and a screen.

"It's not revolutionary; it's an evolution of things that we were already doing," said Lachenman.

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