CORRECTION (9.20am PT): This article originally stated that the valuation was €30-35 million ($40-47 million). It should have been a dollar figure.
Intel has bought a Spanish “intelligent dialog” firm called Indisys, in what appears to be the chipmaker’s latest foray into artificial intelligence and next-generation interface systems. The Spanish website Hemerotek said the deal was at a valuation of $30-35 million.
Seville-based Indisys has a variety of products ranging from e-learning to semantic search, though its core product is virtual assistant software that is used by customers such as the retailer El Corte Inglés. The virtual assistant can virtually assist people over the phone or in a slightly creepy avatar format for websites. Intel had previously invested €3.2 million ($4.24 million) in Indisys in November 2012.
Intel is doing a lot more work in this department than you may realise – as TechCrunch has pointed out, it recently bought the Israeli gesture tech company Omek for around $40 million. Upcoming interfaces – whatever form they will take – will require several elements, and advanced gesture and voice recognition are two of them.
Intel’s PC-manufacturing partners will start building Intel’s “perceptual computing” gesture-recognising camera systems into their machines from 2014 – think Kinect, but more tuned to short-range cases where the user might want to manipulate a virtual object, for example. The firm’s perceptual computing drive has also taken in collaboration with Nuance Communications, and Intel has also recently invested with others in another voice-analyzing “intelligent assistant” company, Expect Labs.
We’ll be discussing next-generation user experiences at our Roadmap conference in San Francisco this coming November.