Hat tip to Ahmed Bouzid and his wonderful “Lingofest” event. Here is a presentation by Dr. Maria Aretoulaki in which she explains the Why, What and How of Explainable VUI Design and shows with specific examples how to use Linguistic knowledge and Speech Recognition limitations to design effective and affable voice and conversational interfaces.
Category Archives: Home Use
Here’s a note from the “Rain” agency:
In the last few months, Google has rolled out several features to position Google Assistant as your go-to for quickly completing tasks on mobile devices. Memory, which is in testing with employees, allows Android users to use voice commands to save anything from pictures and links to screenshots and reminders. April’s Assistant updates let users find their phones with their Nest speaker or smart displays, as well as automatically fill out payment information on the Google Android app for food pickup. Up until now, most of these voice experiences require users to invoke the wake word “Hey Google.”
But this week, the company has been testing a new feature where mobile users can manage alarms and timers without using a wake word — functionality that Google smart display owners have already been enjoying. By eliminating the traditional wake word in these instances, tech companies do open the door to questions about just how many phrases their assistants are passively listening for, and under what circumstances.
Here’s some commentary from the “Rain” agency:
To-date the voice assistant landscape has primarily been driven by smart speakers and mobile assistants, but new devices are quickly taking hold. Brands have always sought to connect with customers on-the-go, and assistant technologies are now enabling a new way to provide value in their everyday lives. Smart hearables and wearables, including earbuds, watches and even glasses have all been embedded with Alexa and Google Assistant so that customers can easily ask for information and perform tasks anytime, anywhere. The most recent example of this is Amazon’s new Echo Buds feature focused on collecting fitness data. However, this trend has been maturing for some time now.
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.
This voicebot.ai article notes that Apple has reduced its prices dramatically for smart speakers, coming out with a “HomePod Mini” for $99. As someone who spent a bundle a decade ago for a home stereo system from Sonos, it’s amazing to see how prices have dropped. Not to mention the dazzling array of features these smart speakers have. Love the intercom feature so that you can talk to others in another room. No more shouting upstairs for your partner…
Here’s the intro from this TechCrunch article:
Amazon wants to bring Alexa to property managers. The company this morning launched a new service, Alexa for Residential, that aims to make it easier for property managers to set up and maintain Alexa-powered smart home experiences in their buildings, like condos or apartment complexes. At launch, IOTAS, STRATIS and Sentient Property Services will be among the first smart home integrators to use the Alexa for Residential service.
The idea is to make Alexa a tool for smart home management, even for those without their own Amazon account. The way the service works, new residents won’t have to purchase their own device or set anything up to get started. Instead, they can just speak to Alexa to control the various smart home features available at their residence and use basic Alexa features. like timers, alarms or getting information like news and weather.
Property managers can choose to create custom Alexa skills for each unit, allowing the residents to submit maintenance requests, make amenity reservations or even pay their rent via Alexa.
Here’s a note from the “Rain” agency:
The more smart speakers, the merrier. Smart assistants such as Amazon Alexa and Google Assistant have become staples in our homes and apartments, individually bought by customers. However, as the adoption of voice technology accelerates, companies are looking to scale the presence of voice assistants to make them everyday necessities anywhere we go. Google and Volara’s new partnership is embedding Google Nest Hubs into hotel rooms, and Alexa for Hospitality is also placing smart speakers in chain hotels and vacation rentals. Meanwhile, Alexa for Business is upgrading the workplace to be more advanced and productive. These initiatives seek to boost the presence of these assistants on a larger scale, moving beyond smart homes to smart hotels, offices, apartment units, and more.
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”…
This C-Net article lists three ways that your Amazon Echo can help protect your house. Two involved the “Alexa Guard” feature and one uses “Away Lighting”…meanwhile, Amazon has made it easier for developers to develop skills for home use, per this Voicebot.ai article…
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.