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CES: New tech to give appliances voice interface

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A new domain-specific assistant for smart appliances, to be demonstrated at CES in Las Vegas next week, will help appliance manufacturers create a new wave of smart kitchen appliances that don’t need to relay voice requests to the cloud.

Released by Sensory, a Silicon Valley company pioneering AI at the edge, it is a specialised model of TrulyNatural, the company’s large-vocabulary speech recognition and natural language understanding platform.

Voice adoption in consumer electronics continues to gain significant traction, but as more voice-enabled products powered by cloud-based voice services enter the market, more privacy concerns are uncovered. TrulyNatural is the perfect solution for addressing these consumer concerns, because it enhances products with an extremely intelligent natural language user interface, while keeping voice data private and secure; voice requests never leave the device, nor are they ever stored. 

“There are certain products where having a cloud-connected voice assistant capable of playing music, checking the weather and telling you a joke makes sense, but there are countless products where it would be unnecessary,” says Todd Mozer, CEO at Sensory. “TrulyNatural is the perfect solution for device makers that want to create powerful products capable of understanding and responding to spoken commands, but don’t need the added complexity, component costs and potential privacy risks associated with leveraging a cloud-based voice services platform.”

TrulyNatural provides a flexible voice UI that can be integrated into devices of all shapes and sizes. It delivers an ideal user experience for domain-specific applications, such as home/kitchen appliances, vehicle infotainment systems, set-top boxes, home automation, industrial and enterprise applications, mobile apps and more. Designed to run completely on an application processor, all TrulyNatural speech processing is done natively (at the edge), not in the cloud. It enables a safe, secure, consistent, reliable and easy to implement experience for the end-user, free of requiring any extra apps or WIFI to be setup or operational. It can also be paired with Sensory’s TrulyHandsfree wake word technology, giving device makers the ability to use their own desired wake words instead of having to use another company’s or potential competitor’s branded wake word. Sensory’s TrulySecure technology can also be integrated to provide biometric-based security and user control features, allowing homeowners to limit who can use the appliances and/or certain features based on whose speaking to the device.

TrulyNatural currently supports US English, with UK English, French, German, Italian, Japanese, Korean, Mandarin Chinese, Portuguese, Russian and Spanish planned for release in 2020. SDK’s are available for Android, iOS, Windows, Linux and other leading platforms.

Midea MCA, a global leader in home microwave appliances, is the first customer to adopt this technology into their products. The fruits of this relationship can be experienced at CES 2020, where both companies will be showcasing a new microwave oven capable of understanding naturally spoken requests, without sending a single Bit of data over the internet.

“When it comes to scientific and technological innovation in the home appliances industry Midea is committed to play a leadership role. 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.

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