If you love innovation, read on - it’s going to be one hell of a year.

Speech Recognition

Computer speech recognition started at Bell Labs in the early 1930s. Emerging technologies such as deep learning and complex use of big data have helped increase the accuracy and speed of this technology. Other than Siri, Android and Microsoft - there are a large number of players tackling the speech recognition challenge.

Speechmatics logo


Uses state of the art language and acoustic models to understand speech.

We've personally found Speechmatics to be one of the most accurate systems out there. We routinely see 70% plus accuracy on British & American accents, and they are currently working on an improved Australian speech model too.

Whats cool? Near instant turnaround and an awesome free trial. Their head of sales also has a degree in medieval languages medieval languages

Google translate logo

Google translate apps

Speak, scan, type or draw to translate in 90 languages.

We had to include Google at least once, given their investment into deep learning and NLP. We chose the translate smartphone app - which if you haven’t used it in a while is well worth a second look.

What's cool: Take a photo of a sign and have it translate the content live.

Talkitt Logo


Translates unintelligible speech of people with learning disabilities into understandable speech.

Impressively Talkitt is actually an Indiegogo-funded project, originally raising $87k to get started. It works by calibrating every user’s speech pattern into a personal dictionary, which is then used to translate into understandable speech.

What's cool: They are after people to "donate" their voices to help train the technology in exchange for free accounts.



Mandarin speech recognition and mobile search with smartwatch capabilities.

The first Chinese smartwatch, which operates audio-visually, “since it is easier to control smartwatch through voice and motion than keyboard because of the limited size of watch face” - Sixuan Gong of Mobvoi’s Corporate Development.

What's cool: Not only are they creating great technology, but beautiful watches created by Frog too.

Vocal Intonation Analysis

Babies learn to identify differences in vocal intonation (pitch) as a means to interpret the emotions of their parents far earlier than they start to comprehend words. This communication technique is now being exploited to extract data & insight from large voice banks for customer service, law enforcement and the government.

Beyond Verbal

Beyond Verbal

Extracts emotions through analysis of voice intonation.

Built upon 20 years of research and their CEO, Yuval Mor says the company "envisions a world in which personal devices understand our emotions and wellbeing, enabling us to become more in tune with ourselves and the messages we communicate."

What's cool:Full Api suites to cater to any technical demand.



Using voice analysis for emotion detection, personality and risk assessment

Focused on analysing emotional and cognitive reactions of individuals in interviews. This way, says Amir Liberman, Nemesysco’s CEO, “our users can better assess personality traits, learn about their clients, potential employees and even suspects.

What's cool? Pretty much Bladerunners Voight-Kampff test made real?

Facial Recognition

We’re all familiar with Facebooks ability to recognise us, and friends from images, and the facial recognition teams are now chasing the “Holy grail” of user authentication system such as those starting to appear in mobile phones, laptops and airport security systems.
KeyLemon logo


Two-factor facial and voice recognition technology built for security identification and user authentication.

The company has libraries for developers to build out applications and licenses its proprietary SDKs. Use their face recognition systems in your technology super easily.

What’s cool: Definitely check out their live facial authentication trial online.

Facebook deepface logo

Facebook deepface

Can identify obscured faces through partial facial views and body poses.

A deep learning facial recognition system created by Facebook research. It employs a nine-layer neural net with over 120 million connection weights. The system is said to be 97% accurate.

What's cool: One of the creators is from the original Face.com Take a look here.

Human recognition systems (Mflow) & Vison Box logo

Human recognition systems (Mflow) & Vison Box

All that cool recognition stuff you do, and don’t see in airports around the world.

Where HRS Passively & activeley captures passengers’ facial features as they enter the airport and then tracks them through their journey, Vision Box powers the new epassport gates you may be familiar with.

What's cool: Have you used an epassport gate yet? Goodbye airport queues.

Facial Emotional & Sentiment Analysis

Different from facial recognition, this is the bit where we detect emotions through facial expression (see our post on the evolution of facial expression) - estimates put facial expression at around 40% - 60% of human communication.

Kairos logo


Face analysis algorithms to recognize and understand how people feel in video, photos and the real-world.

Stefanie Genauer told us that “We love to see customers use our tech in ways that really help people -- and not to sound cliche, but in ways that change peoples lives for the better. Whether it's using facial recognition for patients with Alzheimers, or providing a platform for parents and teachers to more accurately interpret the emotional responses of an Autistic child".

What's cool: Its all about the API's and SDK's Friendly team too!

Affectiva logo


Analysis of isolated facial regions to assess emotional impact.

Gabi Zijderveld, Affective's VP Marketing and Product Strategy says "Affectiva will expand into new markets such as gaming. Using our emotion sensing and analytics technology game developers can not only measure player engagement to test usability, they can also integrate our technology into games so that these adapt in real time to the players' emotions"

What's cool: Try their live demo for ad testing here

Emotient logo


Cloud web service that discerns attention, engagement and sentiment through machine-learning technology.

Emotient drives a number of the emotive analysis tool out there focused primarily around advertising such as MB’s facial coding tools. The system works via webcam video uploads and is highly customisable for different industry use cases.

What's cool: Apple just bought Emotient early this year

Object & Image Recognition

Imagine scanning your fridge with your smartphone and being able to re-order all the contents at the click of a button - thats object recognition at its simplest. Probably the area i’m personally most excited about because when we solve this, every image and video becomes 100% interactive.

MetaMind logo


Categorize images quickly with exceptionally accurate artificial intelligence.

Just awesome - Metamind performs object and image recognition through deep learning technology and is completely customisable. The focus of the company in 2016 is to continue to make AI available for both visual and textual understanding, according to Richard Socher, Metamind’s CEO.

What's cool: Their online image demo

ArcSoft logo


Photo and imaging processing technologies.

Arcsoft has a wide range of commercial applications across recognition technologies from simple object tracking and photo capture technology all the way to gesture recognition.

What's cool: Arcsoft are exploring a lot.

Cortextia logo


Create apps and mobile websites that can find items within a similar database just by taking a photo.

Cortexica have created sophisticated algorithms that mimic the way the human visual cortex within the brain interprets images that we see everyday. to identify users’ image uploads and link them with retailers’ inventory for purchase.

What's cool: Starting with fashion, Cortexica’s will transform internet shopping!

Text Sentiment & Content Analysis

This is where that NLP that everyone keeps talking about comes into play - there are a heap of companies stepping into the space, so we’ve just picked out a few (Google are super interested in this space as it has huge impact for search capabilities - but lets ignore Google for now, they had their moment!).

MonkeyLearn logo


Get actionable data from text & integrate with your app in minutes.

Federico Pascual from MonkeyLearn tells us they are working on new features "that will make you go bananas for machine learning and text analysis!”, including a renewed UX, state of the art algorithms and a community of developers building public machine learning models.

What's cool: Free data scientist sprint to get your own custom modules set up.

AlchemyAPI logo


Semantic text analysis and text mining APIs, combined with facial recognition technology.

Alongside Google and Facebook’s, IBM is the other giant in the NLP industry stemming from its AI Watson. Alchemy allows developers to connect to its cloud-based API to create smart apps that will drive business and customer insights.

What's cool: Totally set up for developers to experiment and play with

Dato logo


Machine learning used for recommendation engines, customer churn/segmentation, fraud detection and sentiment analysis.

Dato’s Product Marketing Director Pablo Serrano describes the company “as a provider of a platform to build machine learning functionality into applications across a variety of categories”.

What's cool:Just check out their customer list - its outstanding

Gesture & touch Recognition

Have you ever found yourself on the phone, waving your arms around to no-one whilst illustrating a point? Or reaching out to touch someone’s shoulder whilst assuring them? Gestures for a subtle, but significant element of human communication.

Leap motion logo

Leap motion

3D motion control and sensing hardware and software which enable users to control objects on screen and in virtual worlds, as if using their own hand.

You may have heard of Leap motion, as a platform there are some amazing things being built with the technology. Whilst most of these are associated with Gameplay there are huge applications for the communication space.

What's cool: Used to build a gesture recognition system for sign language.

Nayi Disha Studios logo

Nayi Disha Studios

Utilises Microsoft’s Kinect for gesture-based games that combine kinaesthetic participation from children with educational content for schools.

Education at its heart comes down to communicating in ways that best engage & stimulate the audience and the Nayid Disha team from Banglore are using motion to achieve this.

What's cool: Check out their video here

Myo logo


Gesture control armband used in everything from sports, virtual reality, gaming to presentations in corporates and schools.

Myo’s programmable armband lets developers and designerscreate their own experiences and innovation’s incorporating gesture control. This could be the step to turning passive gestures into a much more active communication tool

What's cool: Has SDKs for developers to build all kinds of apps using its technology.

Elliptic labs logo

Elliptic labs

Elliptic Labs software suite delivers gesture and proximity functions by re-using the existing earpiece and microphone, previously used only for audio

We've added in Elliptic labs as though early, this technology enables gestures to be received, and translated through existing smartphone devices opening up the ability to transfer motion during existing calls.

What's cool: This is echolocation, the same "technology" that bats use.

Virtual & Augmented Reality - the next big step

Here’s the fun bit. VR & AR have taken giant leaps over the last few years, and it will not be long before you will be able to talk to your global customers, face to face in a VR environment (whilst potentially analysing their body language and entire communication “suite” too).We’re not quite there, but the below technologies are starting to point in the right direction.

Girpotic - HD 3D Camera logo

Girpotic - HD 3D Camera

360° cameras.

The girpotic is the latest in a stream of 360°cameras now out on the market (alongside technologies to produce the video). The latest immersive filming, taking you another step beyond video to step into the worlds of others.

What's cool: Check out their Necker Island 360° kitesurfing videos

Matterport logo


Drop into any environment and get the feeling of what it’s like to really be there.

Matterport goes one step beyond simply capturing video by scanning the situation to generate 3D models of physical spaces using its high-tech camera. Explore physical locations, rather than simply watching someone’s viewpoint.

What’s cool: Try it out here

Movidius logo


Always-on vision processor that delivers high-performance computational imaging and visual awareness in devices where battery power counts.

Jack Dashwood, Movidius' Marketing Communications Director predicts "2016 is going to be a year where we see hardware finally catching up to what so many talented people are envisioning for artificial intelligence. The year we understand the true value of visually aware devices, assistant devices and personal robots."

What's cool: Making VR and AR technologies accessible to smartphones.

Magic Leap logo

Magic Leap

Uses "biomimetic" technology that can safely augment virtual images onto reality without any side effects like nausea and headaches.

Has the largest investment into augmented reality technology from Google and Microsoft so far. In other words, this is going to be big. Rather than talking to consumers in real environments, why not fabricate test environments instead?

What's cool: Watch this and all will be explained