In a bid to further improve Siri, Apple reportedly acquired Novauris Technologies – a company specializing in speech recognition technology – back in 2013, according to a recent report.

The news comes from TechCrunch, which explains that a recent phone call to Novauris’s offices in Britain was answered “Apple” by the company’s co-founder, Melvyn Hunt. “He confirmed that he and the team now work for Apple, and that Novauris itself is no longer an active entity,” the publication explains.

Novauris is – or was – an interesting company, since its speech recognition technology worked by recognizing complete phrases rather than individual words. Concerning Novauris’s NovaSearch product, the company’s website explains:

NovaSearch doesn’t carry out recognition at the word or sequence-of-words level, but rather identifies complete phrases from start to finish by matching them against a potentially huge inventory of possible utterances. This enables it to assemble information about what has been spoken over utterances of virtually any length and take near-optimal decisions.

The technology has been used by the likes of Verizon, Samsung, and BMW, and it’s featured in Garmin’s mapping software, too. Apple’s acquisition of the company is said to have taken place in 2013, and since then the team has been working on Siri – Cupertino’s iOS voice recognition assistant software.

Naturally, we’re expecting the fruits of this acquisition to appear in iOS 8, the next major release of Apple’s mobile OS which is due to be previewed at the company’s recently announced WWDC conference.

Siri indeed received enhancements in iOS 7.1, and I’ve personally noticed a big difference in how the software recognizes spoken commands. There’s still work to be done, however, and better integrating Siri with third-party iOS applications seems to be the next challenge facing Cupertino.

Here’s hoping its Novauris acquisition can help.

We’ll keep you updated with further information as we receive it. In the meantime, see: A Transport Tycoon Update Has Just Rolled Into The App Store, What Does Apple’s WWDC 2014 Logo Really Mean?, and Scanbot Hopes To Become Your New Favorite Scanner App.