Dragon NaturallySpeaking is the most widely known program for voice activation of a computer. It is used in call centers, automotive shops, offices, and in many homes around the world.
Dragon NaturallySpeaking currently come in several versions, including several for the healthcare field (ranging from simple dictation through analytics – including a special module for radiology), several business applications (such as utilities and energy, legal offices, insurance, retail and journalism) and many, many choices for individual use.
They have versions for the iphone, for blackberry, for car application, and for reading, or creating PDFs. The standard version will work for most people if they correctly choose the MAC or the PC version. It’s a good program that generally works. For specific applications (interface with some specialized programs) it may require expert configuration. This can be found through many consultants around the nation.
I first used the standard Dragon NaturallySpeaking about 15 years ago, when I had a bout of tenosynovitis (inflammation of muscle sheath) in my forearms and wrists. The program was a little difficult to get going, but once it learned my voice and I learned a few tricks, it allowed me to work effectively to complete my Master’s degree. Since that time I have also used it successfully in work modification for injured employees - even in jobs or settings where I thought it would not work well.
Today’s product is better at understanding local pronunciation, quicker at learning your voice, and more flexible. Many shortcuts are available and it works easily with many more programs. The learning time and energy required, both on the person and the machine side, has been shortened and made less painful.
Dragon NaturallySpeaking comes with a palette of features and shows good accuracy in translating your voice to commands and text. With practice, it’s excellent.
One parameter to consider in voice recognition software selection is how well the program responds to verbal commands - and how quickly it recognizes those commands. Most people have experienced delays in software response at some point in your computer experience. If so, you know how irritating and frustrating they can be. Dragon software is quickly and smoothly responsive. This is a major plus(in the settings area, there is an adjustment for delay period in case you have a reason to desire a delay).
Working within a program and making button, tab, or link selections can be an issue with many voice recognition software programs. Dragon seems to have solved this program. Where others may require you to create your own customized commands for operations, Dragon can often choose them using your verbal selection.
Dragon NaturallySpeaking Home Edition comes with all the basic features. Dragon NaturallySpeaking Premium Edition comes with added features such as customizable commands and blue tooth compatibility.
Basic features include
- Improved accuracy – tested 90% accuracy out of the box
- Fast performance - With multi-core processors and more than 4 GB of RAM, Dragon 12 automatically selects the BestMatch V speech model for you when you create your user profile in order to deliver faster performance
- Better performance than previous version - Dragon 12 delivers easier correction and editing options. Dragon 12 also learns faster, so that fewer corrections are needed.
- Faster Processors give faster performance: If you use Dragon on a computer with multi-core processors and more than 4 GB of RAM, Dragon 12 automatically selects the BestMatch V speech model for you when you create your user profile in order to deliver faster performance
- Enhanced Experience with Gmail and Hotmail: Full Text Control and commands are present for the most frequent actions in Internet Explorer 9, Mozilla Firefox 12 or higher, and Google Chrome 16 or higher, including Gmail and Hotmail.
- Text to Speech: Dragon 12’s natural-sounding Text-To-Speech reads editable text—with fast-forward, rewind and speed and volume control—for easy proofing and multi-tasking. (Available in Home Edition and Above).
- Wireless capability: Dragon Remote Microphone App for iOS and Android: Dragon 12 lets you go wireless with an iOS or Android device and the free Dragon Remote Microphone App. Turn your compatible iPhone, iPod touch (4th gen), iPad or Android device into a wireless microphone for use with Dragon over a WiFi network. Use the camera on your device to scan the barcode that Dragon 12 provides on-screen. (Available in Home Edition and above).
I recommend Dragon Naturally Speaking to anyone who wishes to attempt using speech recognition. The software is intuitive, easy to install, and easy to use. It works with word documents, spreadsheets, e-mail and surfing the web. The Home and the Premium editions are flexible and easy to learn programs. For more specialized needs, other versions are available.