Calorie Count, owned by The New York Times, Taps Technology from Startup iSpeech
When New York-based website Calorie Count wanted a way to set its app apart from the competition, co-founder and vice president Igor Lebovic literally talked up its latest feature. Calorie Count’s iPhone app uses speech-recognition technology supplied by iSpeech, a startup in Newark, NJ, to help dieters keep track of what they eat.
While demonstrating Calorie Count’s new feature at the NY Tech Meetup on Sept. 6, Lebovic described a meal aloud, and the app counted the calories. He says Calorie Count leveraged iSpeech’s technology to distinguish itself from rivals, who also provide calorie tracking apps and websites. “We believe that voice is a vastly underrated way of interacting with the Internet,” Lebovic says. He believes voice technology will find its way into more Web-based activities such as posting comments or drafting blog entries.
Heath Ahrens, CEO of four-year-old iSpeech, says his company is one of the few independents left in the speech-technology market, and he’s always looking for innovative ways to collaborate with others. Ahrens is out to make his mark in an industry dominated by the likes of giant Nuance Communications in Burlington, MA, which acquired smaller rivals Loquendo in Italy in August and Switzerland’s SVOX in June.
Lebovic says tapping iSpeech’s technology was part of an overall effort to shorten the steps necessary to use the Calorie Count app. Lebovic says counting calories can be work-intensive and finding ways to speed up the process may keep dieters committed to his service. “Whenever we made a feature that … Next Page »