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A voice command device (VCD) is a device controlled by means of the human voice. By removing the need to use buttons, dials and switches, consumers can easily operate appliances with their hands full or while doing other tasks. Some of the first examples of VCDs can be found in home appliances with washing machines that allow consumers to operate washing controls through vocal commands and mobile phones with voice-activated dialing.
Newer VCDs are speaker-independent, so they can respond to multiple voices, regardless of accent or dialectal influences. They are also capable of responding to several commands at once, separating vocal messages, and providing appropriate feedback, accurately imitating a natural conversation. They can understand around 50 different commands and retain up to 2 minutes of vocal messages. VCDs can be found in computer operating systems, commercial software for computers, mobile phones, cars, call centers, and internet search engines such as Google.
In 2007, a CNN business article reported that voice command was over a billion dollar industry and that companies like Google and Apple were trying to create speech recognition features. It has been years since the article was published, and since then the world has witnessed a variety of voice command devices. In addition, Google created a speech recognition engine called Pico TTS and Apple has released Siri. Voice command devices are becoming more widely available, and innovative ways for using the human voice are always being created. For example, Business Week suggests that the future remote controller is going to be the human voice. Currently Xbox Live allows such features and Jobs hinted at such a feature on the new Apple TV.