Technology

THE WORLD OF VOICE RECOGNITION ASSISTANTS AND CONSUMER ELECTRONICS

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Experience is everything. Simplicity has become the hallmark of all industrial design efforts today, thanks to radical technology leaders like Steve Jobs. Every day, brands all over the world are pushing to give their brands better sensory experiences. Visual appeals are no longer enough, and consumers are yearning for better encounters aside pixels and design elements. To order for Pizza on a five seconds command is the new thirst. 

At the height of this new tech bustle are the big five industry leaders: Amazon, Apple, Microsoft, Google, and Facebook. Amazon’s Alexa, Apple’s Siri, Microsoft’s Cortana, Google’s Assistant, and Facebook’s Wit and Oculus. All these products have their own uniqueness and capabilities. Most of these assistants can, however, be incorporated into consumer electronics, appliances, and websites.

Image Credits: geeksfi.com

Voice assistant technology is a subset of speech recognition. While speech recognition assistant can discern the speech being made, voice recognition assistant will discern the voice to improve precision and accuracy. This ability is made possible by machine learning. It uses ML to understand the user’s voice and, in the future, will be able to analyze accents. 

Collaboration is a major ingredient currently driving this area of the industry. Amazon, for instance, has made the voice assistant available to other companies, as reported by EmerJ. It created a strategy known as Alexa Everywhere in order to make Alexa ubiquitous. This means companies can now integrate Alexa into their products and drive customer satisfaction forward. Among the collaborations include TV voice control technology by Sony and Hisense, and Air conditioning voice control technology by Haier. According to Amazon, over 7,400 brands are now connected to the Alexa fountain bringing virgin experiences through 60,000 different smart home appliances and electronics. 

An unexpected announcement was the integration of Alexa with Cortana. The latter recognized the trailblazing capabilities of the other and so is refusing to compete but create a niche of seeing Cortana as an app that can be used everywhere, says Microsoft’s CEO.

Google has stayed true to its open source culture and has publicly made available the software development kit for Assistant. This will allow developers to integrate freely and easily. But Google has gone way ahead to create an investment program for startups that seek to advance voice assistant technologies through their products.

Google Home Mini
Image Credits: harveynorman.com.au

Apple licensed Siri to ClaraLabs and the voice assistant (rebranded Clara) is a master at writing and scheduling emails using its speech-to-text capability. But according to EmerJ, although Siri was the first of the five sisters to get to market, many feel its accuracy is not totally impressive. 

Facebook bought wit.ai to drive its own version of voice recognition. It has been boasted to help over 150, 000 developers. Wit is finding wide applications in robotics and is helping to add subtitles to Facebook Video Ads. Facebook also acquired Oculus, a VR technology to drive more immersive experiences for homes.

One general similarity in the industry is the open source culture. Startups in developing countries can begin to think along the lines of leveraging these tools, to crush simple local problems across emergencies and security because what smart leaders know how to do is to leverage existing technologies.

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