Forget the necktie -- give Dad something he can really use this year. We're serving up plenty of Foolish ideas to help you out.
Imagine a Father's Day present that unwraps itself. Just push a button and presto! Out pops the golf shirt. Better yet, what if you didn't even have to lift a finger, and could simply command that shirt out of the box. Now that would be impressive.
And what if this technology could be applied to other things you want to control -- maybe your front door, your cell phone, your spouse? Oh, the possibilities are endless.
Actually, there is a company already giving dads, grads, and everyone in between the ability to command and control a variety of devices with the spoken word: Motley Fool Hidden Gems recommendation Nuance Communications
What can be done with speech today is only a fraction of what will be done in the coming years. Speech interfaces for the wide array of consumer devices and appliances out there are still immature. We've only scratched the surface on the usefulness of speech in making these products more efficient. Witness the mad scramble of companies -- from Google
The reason many companies are clamoring to get into speech applications relates to the mobile element of many business models. With more than a billion cellular phones sold each year around the globe, there's a huge customer base desiring quick access to relevant information while on the move. With the tiny phone or PDA offering a less-than-desirable interface compared to a large screen, mouse, and keyboard, speech has popped up as a preferred method of control.
And this is the sweet spot for application of Nuance's speech technology. Customers of carriers such as Verizon
Nuance's depth of intellectual talent in speech recognition, dictation, and optical character recognition applications across a broad range of industries makes the company an attractive -- though risky -- consideration for investors. Since Nuance has built its position largely through acquisitions, many of them bought recently, there's considerable operational risk in integrating the variety of businesses. And the company has yet to turn a profit, so this is certainly not a stock for dads focused on stable income in retirement. But for those looking to add a long-term growth story to the risky portion of their portfolio, Nuance is a great way to play the bright future of speech recognition.
For dad-related Foolishness, check out:
Nuance has returned Motley Fool Hidden Gems subscribers more than 150% since being recommended in January 2006. Take a free 30-day trial to see what other recommended stocks are beating the pants off the market.
Fool contributor Dave Mock hopes that devices will take voice commands, but refrain from talking back. He owns no shares of companies mentioned here. Dave is the author of The Qualcomm Equation. The Fool's disclosure policy doesn't have to speak to be in full control.