VoiceReallyMatters.com

A layperson’s exploration of all things voice

Category Archives: Cool Stuff

December 1, 2020

Twitter Introducing Voice Chatrooms

Here’s the intro from this article from “The Verge”:

Twitter plans to take on Clubhouse, the invite-only social platform where users congregate in voice chat rooms, with a way for people to create “spaces” for voice-based conversations right on Twitter. In theory, these spaces could provide another avenue for users to have conversations on the platform — but without harassment and abuse from trolls or bad actors, thanks to tools that let creators of these spaces better control the conversation.

The company plans to start testing the feature this year, but notably, Twitter will be giving first access to some of the people who are most affected by abuse and harassment on the platform: women and people from marginalized backgrounds, the company says.

In one of these conversation spaces, you’ll be able to see who is a part of the room and who is talking at any given time. The person who makes the space will have moderation controls and can determine who can actually participate, too. Twitter says it will experiment with how these spaces are discovered on the platform, including ways to invite participants via direct messages or right from a public tweet.

October 28, 2020

Alexa Can Allow You to Print Stuff & Other Commands to Take Action…

Here’s the intro from this voicebot.ai article:

Amazon’s new Alexa Print feature extends the voice assistant into the physical realm with a slew of new commands that allow the AI to offer a physical response to a question or request. Alexa can print calendars, coloring books, recipes, and puzzles by voice command, a third dimension to the digital audio, and screen responses available on smart speakers and smart displays. The update also allows voice app developers to augment their Alexa skills with printing commands, first promised by Amazon a year ago.

September 29, 2020

IBM’s Watson Virtual Assistant Answers Voter Questions

Here’s the intro from this voicebot.ai article:

U.S. voters confused about the logistics for the November 3 election may get their answers from IBM’s Watson AI. IBM has created an election-focused version of its virtual assistant to handle questions of that nature using its natural language processing to understand and respond to voice and text queries about where and how to vote. IBM is offering a version of the virtual assistant to states for free until after the election.

July 29, 2020

How Artificial Intelligence Can Boost Marketing Efforts

This Forbes article is about artificial intelligence, not voice – but I found it compelling. And a little bit scary. Anytime I read about how you can so easily manipulate the content in videos – the “deep fake” – it frightens me. Although I guess that should be the least of my worries these days. Here’s the ending from the piece:

These examples show that artificial intelligence, when used creatively, can do more than the grunt work. It is a way to build relationships with customers on a personal level while at the same time scaling at large in a cost-effective way. It’s important to go beyond equating AI to only chatbots and have conversations around how AI can actually work in service of brands and, in turn, be used to better their customer’s experience.

We should continue to have meaningful discussions around deepfakes and setting up safeguards and ethics around synthetic media. But, we must also move the conversation beyond just focusing on that element of synthetic media. It’s also time for brands and businesses to better understand the broader trends that are on the horizon, so they are prepared for the future of marketing to come.

July 7, 2020

Have Alexa Pre-Announce Each Song You Hear…

This C-Net article provides five “music hacks” to better leverage music when you use Alexa to listen to it. My favorite is this one:

When you’re listening to a new song you’ve never heard, it can be annoying to interrupt the song by asking Alexa what it’s called or who sings it. However, with a feature called Song ID, Alexa will announce the artist and name of the track before playing the song. To enable, say, “Alexa, turn on Song ID.”

The article also suggests a dozen fun music-related questions to ask Alexa, such as “Alexa, who is Jessie’s girl”…

June 25, 2020

Smart Mirrors? Whoa…

There’s something freaky about this Forbes article that describes how a new set of smart mirrors work. Here’s an excerpt:

These smart mirrors feature varying luminosity levels ranging from cool light (optimal for makeup application) to warm light (perfect for winding down before bedtime), defogging features to reduce mirror steam in less than five seconds and memory function to save one’s ideal light settings for daily use. With a minimally designed icon panel, these mirrors are controlled by touching integrated icon buttons. With a luminosity of >300 Lux [unit of illumination] and gradual adjustments of light color ranging from warm candle light to cool light (2,700 – 6,500 kelvin light color), these mirrors afford illumination as required for the task on hand and time of day.

April 23, 2020

Spotify May Be Building Its Own Voice Assistant

I’m a big music lover – so I was excited to see this voicebot.ai piece indicating that Spotify might be building voice activation into their service. Here’s an excerpt:

The screenshot shared by Wong shows a new Voice sub-menu in the Spotify app where users grant permission for Spotify to use their microphone. Spotify will apparently only listen for the wake word when the app is open on the screen. That’s a big hint as to how Spotify might envision people using the voice service. The only time people are likely to keep Spotify open on their device is when they can’t hold it, such as when they are driving. The voice assistant may also be tied to the device for playing music and podcasts and cars that Spotify announced it was working on a year ago.

The extent of the voice assistant isn’t known, but presumably, it will include search and playback controls. Spotify has yet to share any information about its plans for a voice assistant publicly, so there’s no timeline either, but the foundation is there in the app.