Nuance Communications, best known for its Dragon speech recognition software, announced Tuesday that it has signed an agreement to buy advanced voice processing solutions provider Ditech Networks. The acquisition will add Ditech's voice processing and voice mail-to-text technologies to the Burlington, Mass.-based Nuance's voice-based product lines for business Relevant Products/Services and consumer markets.

The price was $22.5 million, or $1.45 a share. Ditech's Voice Quality Assurance technology and PhoneTag voice mail-to-text services will be incorporated into Nuance's portfolio. Ditech has been struggling to regain its footing in the evolving voice market. For the quarter ending July 31, Ditech's revenues were $3.5 million, down from $5.6 million in the previous quarter and from $3.7 million in the same quarter in 2011.

'Revolution in Voice Recognition'

The acquisition will allow Nuance to rapidly add features to its products in this fast-moving market at the intersection of voice communications, voice mail, text, and multimedia messaging. The San Jose, Calif.-based Ditech provides advanced voice processing solutions for carriers, and for human speech-related products for enterprises and consumers.

Nuance said Ditech's PhoneTag service will expand its current Dragon Voice-to-Text Services by adding customers and complementary technology. Ditech's PhoneTag voice-to-text provides a carrier-grade solution that includes a fully automated service, a manual service, and a hybrid service, either on-premises or hosted. Applications for voice-to-text include visual voice mail, voice notes, live-conference-call transcription, post-conference-call transcription, and call-recording transcription.

John Pollard, vice president and general manager of Nuance Mobile's Voice-to-Text Services, said in a statement that the acquisition of Ditech Networks' voice technologies will help his company continue its drive for next-generation services, as it takes advantage of "the revolution in voice recognition."

Ditech's Voice Quality Assurance

Ditech's Voice Quality Assurance technology enhances voice transmissions, using a suite of algorithms that dynamically adapt to changing call conditions in order to improve voice clarity. The technology features noise reduction, enhanced voice intelligibility, voice level control, and echo control, all non-intrusively and in real time.

Ditech has been in business for more than 15 years, and its clients include Verizon, Sprint/Nextel, AT&T, China Unicom and Global Crossing.

Nuance offers a wide range of voice-based products and services for individuals and businesses, with market specializations in education, financial services, government and healthcare, among other industries.

In recent months, Nuance has been issuing a steady stream of announcements about product releases, such as a new version of Dragon Dictate for Mac, as well as a variety of integrations, including the use of its voice mail-to-text technology for Esnatech's Office-LinX Voice Enabled Services and for Siemens Enterprise Communications' OpenScape Xpressions Unified Messaging Solution.

In August, the company announced that its XT9 text prediction technology would be integrated into Sharp AQUOS TVs, and that its voice and natural language understanding technologies would be used in T-Mobile's myTouch smartphones.