The U.S. Coast Guard has seen an uptick in the number of fake distress calls it has received in recent months and is looking to counter the problem with voice recognition technology, the Verge reported. Tasked with law enforcement and search and rescue missions in both domestic and international waters, fielding prank calls has become costly for the Coast Guard since it has to respond by deploying aircraft and clearing airspace for its mission. In response to the pranks, which have been happening nearly every day in recent months, the Coast Guard is planning to adopt voice recognition software to identify the phony callers. The fake calls come in through the Coast Guard's VHF radio channel, essentially the maritime version of 911. Unlike a typical phone call, the radio communications do not have any identifying information like a phone number -- and tracking the source of the transmission presents a number of challenges.
Nuance Communications has a new partner to help bring its voice recognition technology to more first responders. The conversational technology business is working with Nexgen, a Computer Aided Dispatch and Records Management Systems (CAD/RMS) provider, to bring AI-powered voice recognition to dispatch and public safety communications systems. Specifically, the companies will be combining Nuance's Dragon Law Enforcement speech recognition technology with Nexgen's set of software system offerings. Nuance's Dragon Law Enforcement is already used by thousands of law enforcement officers across the US, Mark Geremia, Nuance's general manager of Dragon, told ZDNet. By partnering with Nexgen, Nuance can expand its customer base beyond law enforcement to include fire departments, 911 call centers and EMT agencies.
Speech recognition tools are changing the way people work and live their lives, bringing assistants like Alexa into their daily routines and transcribing meetings more accurately than a human could. When it comes to policing, speech recognition tools can help uniformed officers and detectives with critical note-taking and even possibly help prevent life-threatening situations. ZDNet spoke with Mark Geremia of Nuance Communications and Chief Joseph Solomon of the Methuen, Mass. Police Department to talk about the way police work is evolving thanks to voice recognition, cloud computing and other new technologies. The Methuen PD is one of the police departments now using Dragon Law Enforcement, Nuance's voice recognition product designed specifically for first responders.