US-based tech giant Amazon has announced a new Voice Interoperability Initiative – a programme to let users access multiple virtual assistants from a single device. The Voice Interoperability initiative is built on the idea that major voice services should work seamlessly with each other on a single device and that voice-enabled products should be designed to support multiple simultaneous wake words.
Over 30 companies, including Baidu, BMW, Bose, Cerence, ecobee, Harman, Logitech, Microsoft, Salesforce, Sonos, Sound United, Sony Audio Group, Spotify and Tencent, Free, Orange, SFR, Verizon, Amlogic, InnoMedia, Intel, MediaTek, NXP Semiconductors, Qualcomm Technologies, Inc., SGW Global and Tonly, CommScope, DiscVision, Libre, Linkplay, MyBox, Sagemcom, StreamUnlimited and Sugr, are supporting this initiative.
‘Multiple simultaneous wake words provide the best option for customers. Utterance by utterance, customers can choose which voice service will best support a particular interaction. It’s exciting to see these companies come together in pursuit of that vision,’ said Jeff Bezos, Amazon founder and CEO.
All mentioned companies will work in collaboration with each other to ensure that customers have the freedom to interact with multiple voice services on a single device. With products now supporting multiple voice services, Amazon believes that the best way to promote customers choice is through multiple simultaneous wake words, so customers can access each service simply by saying the corresponding wake word.
Developers and device manufacturers will also work together to protect the security and privacy of customers interacting with multiple voice services. Alexa’s ML (machine learning) and speech science technology has been designed to support multiple, simultaneous wake words, thus, any smart device maker can make use of the Alexa Voice Service (AVS) to create powerful products that can support other voice services alongside Alexa.
To help device makers tackle higher development costs and increased memory load on their devices to access simultaneous wake words from a single device, the Voice Interoperability Initiative will be supported by hardware providers. These include Amlogic, Intel, MediaTek, NXP Semiconductors and Qualcomm Technologies, Inc.; original design manufacturers (ODMs) like InnoMedia, Tonly and SGW Global; and systems integrators like CommScope, DiscVision, Libre, Linkplay, MyBox, Sagemcom, StreamUnlimited and Sugr.