Q Actions on iOS

Announcing The New Q Actions For iOS

By | Digital Assistants, News, Voice, Voice Search | No Comments

For over 2 years Aiqudo has been leading the charge of deep app integration with voice assistants on Android phones.  Today, our Android platform continues to do many things that no other platform can. Now, we’re incredibly proud to announce the latest release of our Q Actions app for iOS.  We’ve been working on the latest iOS release for months, and it represents a full suite of actions functionality driven by the new ActionKit SDK for iOS. This new ActionKit is also what iOS developers can use to easily configure voice into their own apps.  

iOS is a more restrictive and closed ecosystem than Android.  Many of the platform capabilities that Android provides are not available to third-party developers in Apple’s ecosystem.  For instance, apps are not allowed to freely communicate with each other, and it’s difficult to determine what apps are installed.  Such restrictions challenge digital assistants like Q Actions, which rely on knowledge of a user’s apps to provide relevant results and the ability to communicate with apps in order to automate and execute actions in other apps.

Q Actions for iOS enables app developers to define their own voice experience for their users rather than being subject to the limitations of SiriKit or Siri Shortcuts. Currently, SiriKit limits developers’ ability to expose functionality in Siri, allowing only broad categories that dilute the differentiated app experiences that developers have built.  With Q Actions for iOS, brands and businesses will be able to maintain their differentiating features and brand recognition, rather than conform to a generalized category.

With this release, we took a hard look at what was needed to build a comparable experience to what we have on Android.  To make it more powerful for iOS app developers, we pushed most of the functionality into the ActionKit SDK. The result is that ActionKit powers all the actions available in the app, allowing developers to offer an equivalent experience in their iOS app.  The ActionKit SDK is available for embedding in any iOS app today.

Let’s take a look at what Q Actions and the Aiqudo platform offers right now:

Easily discover actions for your phone

Q Actions helpfully provides an Action Summary with a categorized list of apps and actions for your device.  Browse by category, tap on an app to view sample commands, or tap a command to execute the action.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Go beyond Siri

Q Actions supports hundreds of new actions!  Watch Netflix Originals or stream live video on Facebook with simple commands like “watch Narcos” or “stream live video”.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

True Natural Language

Q Actions for iOS leverages Aiqudo’s proprietary, semiotics-based language modeling system to power support for natural language commands. Rather than the exact match syntax required by Siri Shortcuts, Aiqudo understands the wide variations in commands that consumers use when interacting naturally with their voice. Plus, Aiqudo is multilingual, currently supporting commands in seven languages worldwide.

Content-rich Cards for informational queries

Get access to web results from Bing, translate phrases or look at stock quotes directly from Q Actions.  Get rich audio and visual feedback from cards.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

There’s still a lot to come!  We’ve already shown how Aiqudo can enable a better voice experience in the car.  We’ve also seen how voice can help users engage meaningfully with your app.  We’re working hard to build a ubiquitous voice assistant platform and this release on iOS gets us one step closer.  Stay tuned as we’ll be talking more about some of the challenges of bringing our voice platform to iOS and iOS app developers, and more importantly, how we’re aligned with Apple’s privacy-centric approach.

QTime: My Time as an Aiqudo Intern

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Jordan Knox

Intern Voice: Jordan Knox

When I started my internship at Aiqudo, I had next to no experience doing any of the things I was here to do. I came in to Aiqudo very scared that I was completely unqualified and that I would immediately make a fool of myself and get fired. But it was so much better than I had expected. As soon as I got here, I immediately felt welcome and like I was one of the team. I loved every bit of time I got to work here, and I’m so sad for it to end. While I was here, I learned more than I have throughout all of college so far. I learned an entirely new programming language and now feel more comfortable using that language than any of the others that I had been using for years! While I was here, I created a suite of useful Slack actions that went into production. 

We’ll write in more detail about Voice in Slack, but here are some examples of what’s now possible to do super-easily in Slack with simple voice commands:

  • “send a message to John”
  • “send a poll to the General channel asking what’s for lunch today”
  • “post a gif about bananas”

I don’t think I know anybody else who had a summer internship that led to them writing programs that actually went into production. Unlike all of them, I now have something that I can pull up on anybody’s phone and say “Hey look, I made that!” 

I got a ton of experience working with both backend stuff like RESTful APIs and data manipulation, but then I also got to do a lot with the frontend working with HTML/CSS and user interaction with computing systems. I learned more than just technical skills, like how startups function and how to work with over 15 people on a single project. All in all, this internship has been invaluable to me and I wouldn’t trade it for anything else. This opportunity has not only made me a better software engineer, but also made me a million times more confident in myself and my abilities. The people here are some of the best people that I have ever met and I cannot wait to start working here again part-time during the school year.

Interning at Aiqudo: A Summer Well Spent

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Dylan Hwang

Intern Voice: Dylan Hwang

As I was walking to the office of Aiqudo for the first time, I was not sure what to expect. A startup would surely provide more opportunities for me to grow and learn as a student. But a small and fast-paced environment could also result in a higher degree of disorganization, leading to aimless wandering, not sure of what to do next and where. However, this all changed as soon as I was greeted by my colleagues and mentors. They were friendly and warm heartedly opened themselves up to accepting me as part of the Aiqudo family.

Each week flew by as I learned to apply the plethora of knowledge that I have gained in a classroom setting to the industry. Whether it was applying the theory of databases to real-world use, or learning how to “google,” these experiences have all helped me learn more about the connection of school education to industry.

In an internship, one very important aspect is the mentor. Whether or not the mentor has a plan greatly influences the efficacy and productivity of an internship. The mentorship that Sunil, my mentor, provided was invaluable. In the startup environment, everything is very fast-paced and everyone always has a task at hand. Sunil was no exception. But despite all the work that he had, he didn’t just agree to help guide me, he had a desire to. He made time to guide me through the backend structure and answer any questions that I had. If I ever had questions about a specific topic, I would not be scared or worried to ask him. This was not something that was specific to just Sunil. All my other colleagues were very open and caring. They checked up on me and frequently made sure that I didn’t have any other questions that they could answer. They genuinely wanted for me to have a good time at Aiqudo and to learn as much as I could.

Another aspect of my internship that stood out was the freedom I had. Working at Aiqudo, I was given the freedom to work on a variety of different topics. If there was ever anything specific I wanted to work on, whether that was the backend data storage or a pipeline, I knew that I could ask and Sunil would find something that would fit what I wanted to do. This allowed great freedom to not only work in the backend, but also to design machine learning models in areas to further optimize the architectural pipelines.

From this internship, I have learned much more than I could have imagined. I was able to dabble with every aspect of a company.  Whether that was the backend, frontend, or even the business aspect of a startup, the ability to truly get a taste of everything is one that is hard to come by.