Nuance Communications, the company rumored to be behind the voice recognition technology in Apple's Siri, is reportedly working with chip makers to help enable similar functionality in phones' sleep modes. Speaking to MIT's Technology Review, CEO Vlad Sejnoha explained that simply needing to turn on the devices is a barrier to using voice assistant software such as Siri and Nuance's own Dragon Go! app.

With chip makers apparently "thinking very actively" about how to let phones persistently listen for speech without excessive power drain, Sejnoha believes that we're a year or two away from solving the problem. The larger issue, however, may not be technical but social — it could prove difficult to convince people to feel relaxed with a permanently switched-on voice recorder hooked up to the internet.