smart condo conundrum: talk to appliances, or text them? - chinese appliance manufacturers
SINGAPORE (Reuters)-In today’s so-
Called Smart home, you can dim the lights by talking to small Wifi, order more toothpaste, or tell the kids to sleep
Like Amazon (AMZN. O)
Echo or Google (GOOGL. O)Home. This voice-first market -
Combination of voice and artificial intelligence (AI)-
Almost non-existent in 2014.
The consulting company voice lab is expected to have 24 this year.
5 million appliances to be shipped.
Other big technology companies also have their own plans: Apple (AAPL. O)
Bring Siri voice assistant from mobile device to PC, car and home; Baidu (BIDU. O)
Last month, it acquired billed, Amazon Alexa's smart personal assistant, claiming the answer from China;
Samsung Electronics (005930. KS)
Plans to integrate the newly acquired virtual assistant Viv into mobile phones and household appliances.
But not everyone believes that the future of communication with the internet of things needs to be heard. Facebook (FB. O)
For example, founder Mark Zuckerberg is working on Jarvis, his own voice --
He wrote that he found himself preferred to communicate through text because "most of the time, people around me feel less disturbing.
Several major appliance manufacturers have turned to a small company in Singapore, "Unified Inbox," which provides services that can handle and pass on ordinary text messages to appliances.
For example, when your home is added to the contact list of contacts, a quick text message can "start the coffee machine ";
"Turn on the vacuum cleaner at 5. m. ”;
Or "Preheat the oven at 6 to 200 degrees. 30 p. m.
"Imagine it as a universal translation between languages spoken by machines. . .
"And we are human beings," said Toby rudkett, former concert pianist in Germany and now CEO of unified inbox.
The company is just a small company funded by private investors, but Ruckert says the company's technology is a patent --
After several years of production, customers include half of the world's smart home appliance manufacturers, such as Bosch.
The Unified Inbox connects the device on behalf of the manufacturer, while the consumer can add the device by sending a serial number to a special user account or phone number.
So far, it supports more than 20 of the most popular messaging apps, as well as SMS and Twitter (TWTR. N)
Control the appliances from the oven to the kettle.
Other household appliances that are being tested include locks, garage opener, blinds, toaster and garden sprinkler, Ruckert said.
"People don't want different interfaces for all the different appliances in the home," said Jason Jameson of IBM (IBM. N)
It pairs Watson's AI supercomputer with a unified inbox to better understand user messages.
This week, they will showcase services that work with Samsung robot cleaners.
"What smart phones have in common is that information applications are more common," noted Jameson . ".
Another reason, Ruckert said, is that more than half of the world's smart home appliance manufacturers have signed up.
They worry about big tech companies. appliance-controls-
All methods will put them into the merchandise players, connect to Alexa or another dominant platform, or they will be abandoned if Amazon starts producing its own home appliances.
"Our customers are very scared of companies like Amazon," Ruckert said . "
"Having a Trojan in a client's home, like Echo, they have to fit in to stay competitive, which is a nightmare for them.
An Amazon spokesman said the company was "excited about the early response from smart home device manufacturers and more excited about the customer's response", but declined to speculate on plans for the future.
A spokesman for Bosch said that no company can organize the internet of things together, so it is "necessary to cooperate and build an ecosystem", such as using a unified inbox.
Competition to include other services in these home centres has begun.
Amazon allows third parties to develop apps or "skills" for Alexa ".
It has more than 10,000 such, and has increased a lot in the past three months.
Most of them are developed by companies that use Amazon software kits, from jokes to food.
Amazon has made it easy for other hardware manufacturers to integrate Alexa into their devices, increasing its reach.
Lenovo (China)0992. HK)
Alexa is embedded in the Speaker, while GE (GE. N)
It's in a lamp.
This means that users can control these devices via voice and use them to order products from Amazon.
LG Electronics (066570. KS)
Huawei is also developing Alexa-
Amazon said the device was enabled.
However, text messages may break these walls.
As Zuckerberg pointed out, the number of text messages has grown much faster than the number of voice calls.
"It shows that future AI products can't just focus on voice, but also need a private information interface," he said . ".
Some companies are already looking to the future and no longer need any human guidance --
Voice or text
By making machines smarter to learn our habits and predict them.
LG, for example, is using deep learning to make its device understand and avoid objects in the room, or fill up ice cubes
Tray according to the user's cold drink habits.
In the unified inbox, Ruckert looks forward to not only being able to communicate with its own devices, but also with machines elsewhere.
Bosch executives in Singapore, for example, have demonstrated how users can ask about smart CCTV cameras and how many people are in a specific room.
Ruckert also works with Nanyang Technological Institute of Singapore to send the latest information directly from hospital equipment affiliated to patients to family members or staff.
Smart appliance entrepreneur James Dyson said in a recent interview that the future lies in what he calls "highly intelligent automation ".
"For me, without your special involvement, everything will happen for you in the future.