Adobe acquires Sayspring in voice technology, AI push

The startup's voice technologies may be used for voice commands in digital creative products.

Adobe has acquired voice technologies startup Sayspring in a push to develop natural command solutions beyond the traditional mouse and keyboard.

Adobe revealed the acquisition in a blog post on Monday. The company has been "actively experimenting" with voice interfaces over the past few years and the purchase of Sayspring is what Adobe calls the "next step forward" in creating voice-based products and solutions.

Financial details have not been disclosed.

New York-based Sayspring assists developers in prototyping and creating voice-based applications for voice assistants, including Amazon Alexa and Google Assistant.

Voice interfaces are becoming increasingly popular as an alternative to the typical mouse, keyboard, or touchpad, and Adobe is exploring how the voice can be used in creative solutions products.

Juniper Research estimates that by 2022, over half of US households will own a smart voice-based device such as Amazon Echo, Google Home or Sonos One.

"The way we interact with our devices is at a significant inflection point," said Abhay Parasnis, executive vice president and CTO of Adobe. "We're moving beyond the keyboard and mouse and even our touch screens to using something that is even more natural -- our voice -- to interact with technology. Voice tech is growing fast, and we strongly believe it must become an integral part of Adobe's portfolio moving forward."

The key here is "natural." Adobe is well-known for products including Photoshop, Lightroom, and InDesign. When you are dealing with creative workflows, not having to remember long command lists and being able to simply tell the software what you require is a tantalizing one.

Adobe has already begun experimenting with artificial intelligence through the Sensei platform and it will be interesting to see if machine learning algorithms and voice technologies will merge to create new options for controlling the firm's products and workflows.

The Sayspring team is joining Adobe on Tuesday and the startup's technology will soon be integrated into the Adobe product portfolio.

Sayspring is dropping its paid plans and will offer a free alternative, but the latter will be invitation-only.

Adobe continues to report solid financial results, which is allowing the company to comfortably seal the deal on acquisitions which can be utilized to bolster future business revenue.

In March, Adobe reported solid Q1 2018 earnings of $583 million, or $1.17 a share.

See also: Adobe aims to connect data, content delivery in Experience Manager, clouds

Non-GAAP earnings in the quarter were $1.55 a share on revenue of $2.08 billion, up 24 percent year-over-year and beating analyst expectations.

Subscriptions are proving to be a success for the company and its digital creation portfolio, earning Adobe $1.79 billion in Q1, up 30 percent year over year.

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