Nortek acquires voice recognition company Nuiku

Natural language platform will drive company’s home automation efforts
Wednesday, June 1, 2016

PROVIDENCE, R.I.—Nortek Inc., a global company with brands including 2GIG, NuTone and Elan for security and home automation applications, has acquired Nuiku, a natural language processing platform for use with home automation and other applications.

Terms of the transaction were not disclosed.

“This is very exciting for us because Nuiku is natural language, so it is not just voice activation, like with the system in your car,” Nortek president and CEO Michael J. Clarke told Security Systems News. “It remembers each family member’s voice, so you can speak in your natural language, and it controls data so we are linking this with home automation and security that we have been heavily involved in with some of our businesses.”

Founded by Sean Thomson and Bill Baker in Redmond, Wash. in 2012, Nuiku is a data-driven platform and cloud-based API that enables natural language processing (NLP) across applications and devices.

Nuiku’s patented integration engine connects voice commands with back-end user information to analyze commands and perform actions based on requests. The smart technology adapts to user behavior, prompting, reminding and suggesting actions to them based on frequency of use and historical actions.

Clarke said that the acquisition not only adds key software capabilities but also highly experienced engineers from Nuiki, who will help keep Nortek on the leading edge of home automation.

“We are in 18 million homes, and now with Nuiku it allows our customers to interact better and seamlessly with all of the home automation services and products that we have available,” said Clarke. “We also got a minority share of a company called MiOS, which is a home-installed hub for DIY home security and home automation. And we recently bought Numera, which is mobile PERS, so now you can see how all of these link to the complete life protection services that we offer.”

Clarke said that the goal is to make home automation more accessible and affordable, and have everything connected and linked, so all of the company’s products can talk to each other.

“It is voice control for all aspects of home automation,” he said. “If you picture our full range of security systems with that ability, from really high-end to home-installed security with MiOS on the NuTone brand, it really is phenomenal. So rather than having to go to a touch panel, or to your phone, Nuiku makes it all easier for not only the end user but the installer or dealer as well.”