Voice as an input will dramatically change the way we interact with devices. It will not only make it easier for the digital have nots to get online but also help other users interact in a seamless, touch-free way with all kinds of gadgets, from smartphones to Wi-Fi activated devices and so on. In an e-mail interaction, Anku Jain, managing director, MediaTek India discusses voice as an input and the impact it will have on users. Edited excerpts:
What is driving the use of voice as an input to access information online?
Voice technology is changing our world. Facilitated by advances in Artificial Intelligence (AI) and Machine Learning (ML) voice technology is changing the way we search for information and interact with our devices. This voice-activated world is likely to pick up speed with the advent of newer connected devices taking user hands–free experience to the next level.
According to Com-Score data analytics half of all online search will be voice-based by 2020 and voice will become the preferred mode of transaction in the near future.
Do you see a proliferation of Alexa, voice assistant kind of devices? If so, are you creating specific solutions for this market?
The emphasis is on user experience and automation is helping product companies and consumers interact with technology and each other. In 2019 the market will witness new AI voice assistant devices across segments but particularly in home, mobile and automotive industries. AI is moving beyond voice to vision, and from the cloud to the edge and MediaTek supports a range of AI capabilities on voice assistant devices (VAD), including smart devices with a display and camera.
We recently launched the MT8518 AI voice platform powered by edge AI for portable smart speakers bringing AI innovations to smart homes, wearables, smartphones, autonomous cars and other connected devices.
The new MT8518 AI voice SoC will empower VAD with low power voice wakeup and streaming playback along with edge AI capability, including longer standby time of low power voice wake up, low power far-field command, local speaker identification and local voice command. The edge in VAD will assist in bringing voice assistants to the portable speaker market as well.
The 500+ million people in India who are yet to get online are those who are probably not comfortable with English, touch as input and/or have never used a desktop/laptop and have low levels of literacy etc. Will voice be key to their getting online?
This is the era of ‘calm technology’ wherein people can use technology and solutions effortlessly without having to learn it. As gadgets and devices become less technical and yet more intuitive, intelligent and user-friendly voice assistants will go beyond conversational UI to become more interactive just like a friend or an assistant.
This is not only ideal for people on the move using mobile computing but also for people with accessibility or readability problems. Consumers are increasingly becoming dependant on voice activated devices to simplify and automate tasks in their daily lives.
The attention now is on AI-focused chips as they enable devices to run AI capabilities efficiently and a majority of voice activated products are powered by our SoCs.
Rich IoT and machine learning, will continue to grow in 2019. In India the potential is huge but we have our set of unique problems like multiple languages, accent, literacy and speed of technology adoption. Apart from this, other areas of concern, that companies need to take charge of, will be data security and privacy. The next level of adoption will also depend on the ability of smart devices in the local language powered by faster connectivity and smarter devices.
Source: Economic Times