Promoted: Freedom of speech

Speech recognition: despite its sci-fi promise, it’s only just gaining real public awareness. Can Dragon Anywhere carry on the revolution?

From ordering your smartphone to tell you a joke to getting navigation results on the road, voice recognition is hitting uncanny levels of accuracy. Part of the secret of its success is cloud-based: modern speech recognition software does the bulk of its work on servers connected to the internet, allowing it to be faster, more accurate and less frustrating.

It all sounds promising, but there is a fly in the ointment because the efficiency of speech recognition is often compromised when used on handheld devices. And as anyone who has experienced delays while their phone’s default speech recognition software tries to make sense of longer notes and dictations can verify, accuracy and performance remain issues.

Enter Dragon Anywhere. With a heritage that dates back to the mid 1970s, Dragon will be a familiar name to anyone who’s had a long-term interest in computerised dictation. Now, at the forefront of speech-to-text software, this product is the latest addition to an illustrious portfolio and is heading to an Android or iOS device near you.

You can talk to it normally

The advantages? Dragon Anywhere is for pros. It uses professional-grade speech recognition, which means better accuracy and better performance. Speak in complete sentences for as long as you want: unlike other products, Dragon Anywhere doesn’t need you to pause to process what you’ve just said. If you’re in a job where you make lots of notes on the move – or simply hate the touchscreen keyboards the future has saddled you with – Dragon Anywhere is the answer.

It’s customisable as well. Your smartphone’s voice recognition probably works pretty well if you’re talking about non-specialised subjects. Start trying to jot down a note about, say, the inner workings of a thermocoupler, or simply the name of any colleague not named “Smith”, and it’s not unusual to see your phone produce some startlingly inaccurate guesses as to what you’re talking about.

Dragon Anywhere lets you add custom words and – welcome to the future! – will become more accurate the more you use it. You can also add custom text: teach Dragon Anywhere your address and say “Insert my address”, and a big chunk of text will be entered without you needing to laboriously dictate the whole thing.

Edit without a keyboard

It also gives you the ability to edit your documents without needing to get fingers-on with your phone. Tell Dragon Anywhere to select an individual word, or a whole chunk of text, and you can cut it, move it, delete or add styles such as italics or bold, cutting down on the amount of editing you need to do later.

Dragon Anywhere doesn’t just offer better accuracy because of its cloud-based recognition: it offers cloud-based documents as well. Fill in a form, or make a note on your phone and it will be waiting for you later compliments of Evernote or Dropbox. It’s also compatible – naturally – with Dragon’s desktop products, so if you have Dragon installed on your Windows PC or Mac, you’ll be able to bag your notes later via the magic of the internet.

Dragon Anywhere is available as a £14.99-per-month subscription for Android and iOS devices. And you get a free seven-day trial, too. For more, visit the website here.