Predictive typing – where a computing device anticipates the word the user wants after entering a few letters – isn’t new.
It’s one of the touted features of the new BlackBerry Z10 smart phone, where words appear on the touchscreen that users can flick up into the text field.
But a Vancouver-based startup wants to take the idea directly to business users.
WordLogic Corp., a 10-year-old company which has several patents on predictive text, recently launched WordLogic for Business, a solution that puts the technology on almost any mobile devices.
One company that has been trying the technology is SAMsix of New York City, which builds software for the municipal, telecom and ultility sectors.
It has been testing WordLogic on its EM Suite, an emergency measures software used by field staff of electrical utilities to describe and catalogue equipment like downed trees and transformers.
Steve McMaster SAMsix’s managing partner, said using WordLogic enables staff to quickly enter information into the software using standardized terms so full reports can be quickly compiled when they get back to an office.
“Without that what we’d have is a set of phrases” available for staff to use, “with a clunky interface.”
His company will be buying WordLogic service, he said, which includes the Vancouver company building the custom dictionary. The first customer will be the New York-area electric utility ConEdison, which is already using EM Suite. WordLogic will be added as an update soon.
The service isn’t inexpensive: Dostie said pricing is still being finalized, but it will be around $15,000 for every server CPU, plus an annual maintenance fee. The dictionary building tool is also extra.
But he said WordLogic has intelligence that makes it worth it. It can offer users a predicted next letter, word or phrase, which pop up on a four-line screen above the keyboard.
It also offers what the company calls “wordchunking,” which means groups of similar words can be offered collapsed under a heading to save space. For example, “head” will include “headed” and “heading” without taking up three lines. There’s also an autocorrect feature.
WordLogic is available for Android smart phones as an app called iKnowU through Google Play for $2. WordLogic for Business is a service that includes a cloud-based custom dictionary that stores users’ commonly-used words and phrases so they can be accessed on any of the individuals’ mobile devices. That way the dictionaries can also be shared with an organization’s staff – for example, a law firm’s lawyers would share a dictionary of legal terms.
Dostie said WordLogic was started by a Canadian physician who wanted to use technology to help disabled people communicate. Initially it was designed for Palm and Compaq iPaq organizers, but more recently was overhauled with a Java-based interface so it can run on Windows, Mac, Linux and Android devices.
Last year the company signed a $5 million licence deal with RPX Corp., whose members include Google, Facebook and Microsoft, Dostie said. However, he couldn’t say what companies are using the technology.