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In A World of Cookie-Cutter Voice Assistants – Sensory Helps Companies Stand Out

March 11, 2020

For many years Sensory has been considered the de-facto standard for embedded wake words and voice control. In fact, our low power, small footprint TrulyHandsfree has shipped in billions of devices and apps around the globe. Sensory’s best in class accuracy has enabled us to be the only company offering wake word solutions approved by Amazon, Apple, Google, Microsoft, Samsung and LG, as well as international partners like Alibaba, Baidu and Tencent. With global smart speaker sales breaking records year over year, people are definitely getting more comfortable speaking to technology and this creates new opportunities. Savvy voice-first users now want the next wave of use cases that are more compelling than the typical smart speaker trivia, weather and music. While smart speakers are handy and for introducing the convenience afforded by a voice user interface, they aren’t good for actually getting things done. To really accomplish meaningful tasks, the entire Sensory team is excited to charge into the next phase of the voice user interface. A charge that is led by custom branded wake words and domain specific voice assistants.

Your Brand, Your Wake Word

Most voice industry insiders are familiar with the Sonos/Alexa story. Mom brings home a new Sonos One speaker and sets it up with Alexa for voice control. Every time the kids use it to check the weather, play some music, or hear the news, the conversation starts with “Alexa.” After a few weeks Mom asks, “how do you like that new Sonos speaker?” The kids answer in unison, “what Sonos speaker? Oh, you mean the Alexa speaker!” Enabling Alexa or Google to highjack your brand might seem like a good idea to sell a few more units, but it is not a good long-term strategy for building a brand. Unfortunately, Sonos learned the hard way, but your company doesn’t don’t have to. Sensory’s TrulyHandsfree provides companies with the means to create custom branded wake words that deliver accuracy and performance that is equal to or better than anything offered by the digital giants. Very soon you will hear about several high-profile brands, rolling out their custom wake words. Stay tuned for more on that!

Another business case to consider, what if Amazon and Google don’t want to support your specific use case? For example, a recent article in the Boston Globe explains how Amazon decided not to support LifePod and their quest to create a smart speaker tailored to the elderly. At first glance this may have seemed like a showstopper for LifePod, but actually it enabled them to create their own smart speaker solution, and they turned to Sensory to create the “Hello LifePod” branded wake word.
“LifePod is a domain-specific, purpose-driven voice assistant and our mission is to put proactive-voice caregiving to work for caregivers worldwide. Proactive-voice means the user does not have to wake up the smart speaker – it just talks to them according to a schedule setup by their caregiver! But the care recipient will need to wake LifePod up and ask for general purpose, voice-first services like music or the weather. And they will also need to wake it up to “call for help!” when they’ve fallen or hurt themselves. In all these “reactive-voice” cases, we needed the best the best custom wake word on the market – and that comes from Sensory. They’ve been leading the wake-word, specialized voice processing market since its inception!” said Stu Patterson, CEO of LifePod.

Using Voice to Get It Done

More than just a custom wake word, Sensory is also supporting clients to create domain specific voice assistants. How does this compare to the typical smart speaker? Consider the smart speaker as a generalist. It can do many, many things, but doesn’t excel at any particular task. A domain specific assistant focuses on one task or a collection of tasks and is specifically designed to accomplish these tasks. To drive the point home, a smart speaker is a mile wide and an inch deep. A domain specific voice assistant is a mile deep and an inch wide. For example, when Midea MCA, a global leader in microwave appliances, wanted a voice-controlled microwave, they didn’t need it to play music or talk about the weather. The Sensory team leveraged our TrulyNatural embedded speech recognition and created a custom language model to support microwave cooking tasks. The end product is a specialist. A voice-controlled microwave oven that knows how to cook potatoes, pop popcorn, reheat coffee, melt butter, soften ice cream, defrost vegetables and much more. All by voice. By being a specialist, this voice enabled microwave provides users with advanced features that are usually hidden behind confusing menus and semi-secret button press sequences.

“We firmly believe in ‘consumer-first technology’ and strive to maintain a technological advantage through teamwork and innovation. By teaming up with Sensory we are able to not only modernize the consumer experience offered by our products but do so in a way that addresses the increasingly alarming privacy issue that concerns many consumers worldwide,” said Dr. Scott Sun, Deputy Director of Midea MCA.
View a video demo of Sensory’s Domain Specific Voice Assistant for Smart Appliances embedded in a Midea MCA microwave oven here.

Does Your Brand Have A Voice?

Sensory’s embedded AI enables companies to own and control their voice experiences. Pairing a custom branded wake word with domain specific voice assistant creates a voice user experience that is unique to your brand. Every interaction reinforces the brand-customer bond while also effectively completing the task at hand. Products such as smart appliances, remote controls, wireless headsets, hearables, and wearables can all benefit from this next wave of voice user interface.

If you would like to learn more about Sensory, then please contact us here. We would be happy to discuss how we can best support your company’s custom voice strategy.