Expect Labs' Anticipatory Computing Draws A-List Support
Expect Labs' research is focused on technology that knows what you want before you've finished asking a question on your device of choice. The Anticipatory Computing Technology is promising enough to attract funding from Intel and Samsung, which hope to eventually put Expect Labs' technologies inside their products. That could open up a new generation of predictive, voice-activated search that leaves Siri in its dust.
May 1, 2013 5:00 AM PT
The investment arms of Intel and Samsung have sunk money into Expect Labs, which has developed a new class of technologies that can understand the meaning of continuous conversations in real-time, and can leverage that to proactively serve up information users may need.
Details about the size of the investments were not disclosed.
The investments by Intel and Samsung, as well as Spanish communications giant Telefonica Digital, will be used to enable new types of context-aware, predictive intelligence in a variety of devices and applications. Some of those are expected to use voice-recognition technologies.
"This is the future of mobile because the phone is going to be learning about you based on context and your location," said Julien Blin, a directing analyst at Infonetics.
However, quite a bit of work may be needed because "This is a long-term, not a short-term challenge, and may have as much to do with the usability of the interface as with the recognition technology," Carl Howe, a vice president of research at the Yankee Group, told TechNewsWorld.
Expect Labs did not respond to our request to comment for this story.
Expect Labs' Technology
Expect Labs developed MindMeld, a voice and video-calling app for the iPad that can analyze a conversation and automatically display related content such as pictures, videos and articles in real-time. An Android version is in the works.
MindMeld is powered by the company's Anticipatory Computing Technology platform, which continuously analyzes conversations in real-time to extract their underlying meanings. It uses advanced language modeling and analysis on the previous 10 minutes of a conversation to predict the information the speakers may need in the next 10 seconds.
The platform then proactively finds and displays relevant information from the user's social graph or from across the Internet.
Expect Labs entered a partnership with Factual in February to expand the engine's knowledge base. Factual is a location platform offering data on more than 65 million local businesses and points of interest in 50 countries, and maintains that data with a real-time data stack.
Expect Labs is also integrating voice technology from Nuance Communications to expand the voice recognition capabilities of its Anticipatory Computing Technology engine.
MindMeld will initially streamline information discovery and sharing during a conversation on a touch-driven device. Over time, archiving and collaboration features may be added to the app. The goal is to build a general purpose assistant that can facilitate everything people do while they're having a conversation.
Expect Labs will soon open up the Anticipatory Computing Technology platform to developers.
Intel's and Samsung's Great Expectations
Intel will explore ways to create new types of voice, touch and gesture user interfaces with the Anticipatory Computing Engine, Expect Labs said. Samsung will work with the technology to integrate new types of context-aware behavior across multiple devices, including smartphones, tablets and smart TVs.
"The technology could potentially be integrated into an Intel system on a chip," Infonetics' Blin told TechNewsWorld. "If it's integrated at chip level, OEMs would be able to use it to make phones or tablets more context-aware if the chips are used in those devices."
Samsung "could use it for all kinds of applications to make their apps more context-aware and have more intelligence," he said.
An Intel Capital spokesperson was not immediately available to comment for this story. Samsung Ventures did not respond to our request to comment for this story.
Who's Behind Expect Labs
Expect Labs launched in 2011 and came out of stealth mode in late 2012. Investors include Google Ventures, Greylock Partners, Bessemer Venture Partners, IDG Ventures, KPG Ventures, Quest Venture Partners, and several prominent angel investors.
While that broad investor base gives the company a solid footing, it could complicate things in the future.
"The real proof of R&D investments is always in the eventual products they influence and lead to," the Yankee Group's Howe said. "Because Expect Labs will have to serve multiple investment masters, those multiple masters will make it even more difficult to get any product out of the lab and into user hands."