Q Actions power Moto Voice

Q Actions Platform now powers App Actions in Moto Voice. #HelloMoto

By | App Actions, Digital Assistants, Machine Learning, Voice | No Comments

Our first official day at Aiqudo was in April, 2017.  One year later, we are excited to announce that our Q Actions platform is now live and powering app actions in Moto Voice. The experience is being rolled out, as we speak, to millions of users using Motorola phones in 7 languages in 12 markets, with more to come. Watch the coverage of the always on voice capabilities during Motorola’s recent launch event. 

Most of the app actions we power are not currently available in other digital assistant platforms – actions in apps like Facebook, Whatsapp, Wechat, Netflix, Spotify, Hulu, Waze, to mention a few.  And we just got started …

On supported Motorola phones, you just say “Hello Moto” and issue simple commands – hands free.

Our solution provides high utility to users. You can get things done instantly within your favo(u)rite apps, privately and without having to register credentials. Check out the Voice-to-Action™ experience in the video below:

We’ve addressed several hard technical problems, including:

  • Command matching for simple, intuitive commands in multiple languages: You speak naturally – no need to learn a specific syntax. A single command can provide matching actions from multiple apps, providing user choice.
  • Action execution of personal app actions:  We execute actions in your favo(u)rite apps, including your private actions, without requiring registration or login credentials. We use several techniques for action execution, and can even execute tasks consisting of multiple actions in different apps.
  • Action on boarding operations: We support actions in multiple versions of apps simultaneously – in multiple locales. Our on boarding process takes minutes, does not mandate APIs, coding or developer engagement, enabling rapid scale. Our flexible Machine Learning systems are trained incrementally with simple exemplary commands.

We will be writing more about our contributions in these areas over the next few weeks.

For the most powerful, fully hands free experience, get a new phone with always on Moto Voice, and say “Hello Moto”!

Or, for other Android phones, you can download the Q Actions app from the Play Store.

Moto Voice - App Actions powered by Aiqudo

Aiqudo Announces Global Voice Assistant Agreement with Motorola

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

Aiqudo to Power Actions for Motorola’s Moto Voice Experience, Launch Globally in Seven Languages

BUSINESSWIRE. SAN JOSE, CALIFORNIA, APRIL 30, 2018

Aiqudo, a Voice AI pioneer that lets people use voice commands to execute actions in mobile apps, today announced that they have entered into an agreement for Aiqudo to work with Motorola’s Moto Voice experience globally. Aiqudo’s technology is now available in select Motorola smartphones in major markets around the world in English, Spanish, Portuguese, French, Italian, German and Russian. The technology will integrate seamlessly with the top apps in each market.

“With this agreement, Motorola brings Aiqudo’s unique virtual assistant capabilities to tens of millions of customers,” said John Foster, Aiqudo CEO and Co-Founder. “Motorola, who pioneered the mobile phone business, is now pioneering voice as the primary interface to our digital worlds and we are excited to work with them. At Aiqudo, we’ve solved issues with existing voice-assisted platforms to ensure an experience that offers ease of use and seamless integration with favorite apps without users needing to learn new syntax and running up against walled gardens that are so common with current solutions. This agreement brings to market far more powerful interactions than have ever before been enabled with voice on any device. We are thrilled to work with Motorola to bring what we believe is the next wave of voice to consumers.”

Aiqudo’s technology is now available in select Motorola smartphones in major markets around the world in English, Spanish, Portuguese, French, Italian, German and Russian.

 

Aiqudo’s powerful Voice-to-Action™ platform brings the ease and power of voice to the mobile app ecosystem. Mobile apps have become central to consumers’ lives, providing massive utility across entertainment, shopping, navigation, messaging, and more. With Aiqudo, Moto Voice allows instant access to these actions, enabling consumers to use their favorite mobile apps with simple, intuitive natural-language commands – hands free. Users get both verbal and visual results, which is essential for making quick decisions, and their private data stays private, within the apps they originally entered it in.

“Aiqudo helps users get things done quickly with the most ubiquitous assistant – the phone, meaning you don’t lose functionality when you walk out of your living room or home. And it’s easy to use because the Q Platform does not require the user to learn a new command syntax or specify an app by name. The Q platform learns from the user instead of requiring the user to learn new skills,” said Rajat Mukherjee, Aiqudo CTO and Co-Founder. “Our Voice AI, built by our team in Belfast, Northern Ireland, enables rapid scalability to multiple languages and localization for apps in each of the markets we will be expanding to with Motorola. Aiqudo voice enables users’ favorite apps in each market and supports regional language variations, for example between Spain and Mexico.”

About Aiqudo

Aiqudo (pronounced: “eye-cue-doe”) is a Voice AI pioneer that connects the nascent world of voice interfaces to the useful, mature world of mobile apps through its Voice-to-Action™ platform. It lets people use natural voice commands to execute actions in mobile apps across devices. Aiqudo’s SaaS platform uses machine learning (AI) to understand natural-language voice commands and then triggers instant actions via mobile apps, enabling consumers to get things done quickly and easily.

Aiqudo’s proprietary technology is covered by more than 30 granted patents and patent applications. Aiqudo’s technology is delivered in a scalable approach to creating voice-enabled actions without APIs or developer dependencies.

To view product demo videos, visit Aiqudo’s YouTube channel.

BUSINESSWIRE: Aiqudo Announces Global Voice Assistant Agreement with Motorola

Why Apps?

By | App Actions, Digital Assistants, Voice | No Comments

With all the hype around chatbots, skills, and other forms of custom voice UX, we’re often asked why we chose mobile apps as the first target domain for Q Actions – our voice AI platform.

The short answer is: apps are where the utility is – consumers spent a trillion hours using mobile apps last year. With voice, all those familiar apps are even easier to use.

We believe there is a critical gap in the voice assistant marketplace. The ideal assistant MUST:

  • Be ubiquitous – not just available in the kitchen or living room
  • Provide high utility – help us do useful things we do every day
  • Work intuitively – let users speak naturally, without the need to learn new syntax
  • Offer user choice – across platforms, applications and devices
  • Be private and secure – on device where possible

Mobile apps remain the best way to achieve these goals. Your phone is always with you, and mobile apps provide high utility for you wherever you are.

Venturebeat ran a survey last year asking 1000 people “Which of these (app, mobile website, or chatbot) would you prefer to use in order to engage with a brand?” There was a clear winner. Apps! It’s particularly interesting because these 1000 respondents were self-described “chatbot users”.

Users prefer Apps

Users prefer to use Apps

 

Are we at “Peak App” and does it even matter?

We often hear the concept of “Peak App”, which describes a general state of app fatigue. In this narrative, people already have all the apps they need, so they no longer download new apps. And for developers, this peak means creating new apps is no longer exciting, and breaking through as a new app is increasingly rare, so maybe develop a skill or a chatbot for one of the closed platforms and see how that goes (aka starting over with your customers).  

Global app download rates defy the idea of “Peak App”. We’ve seen 60% growth over the past three years, and this trend continues in 2018, with app downloads (and revenue) breaking records yet again in Q1.

app downloads

App Downloads continue to grow

 

People continue to spend more money in the app economy. Both iOS and Google Play saw 20% year-over-year growth in worldwide consumer spend in Q4 2017. The total app spend in 2017 was $17 billion.

App Spend

App Spend continues to grow

As noted by Mary Meeker in her 2017 Internet Trends report, Internet Usage (Engagement) continues to grow (+4% Y/Y), with mobile >3 Hours / Day per User vs. <1 Five Years Ago, USA

Mobile continues to dominate time spent

 

Peak is a moot point anyway, because…

People use 30 to 40 apps, and still have another 50+ apps installed on their phone.

More apps can be used

Many app are usable, but out of sight.

 

We want to bring easy-to-use voice AI to the apps people use, while also helping them make use of those apps installed but not used. Out of sight is out of mind, but if you could just ask, and if the right action in the right app is executed, you’re more likely to use those installed apps. Further, if I don’t have to know which app can execute my command, I can just say what I want and our Q Actions platform will:

  • Understand what you intend to do
  • Determine which apps can get it done
  • Execute the action using the most relevant app installed on your phone

It’s easier, more natural, and … faster! It reduces time to action.

Unlocking Utility

This approach unlocks the high utility of mobile apps by putting the effort of app discovery on the voice AI platform, not the consumer.

ComScore’s “2017 U.S. Mobile App Report” illustrates that many people have apps they consider “Hidden Gems”. These are gems because they are helpful and offer high utility when needed, but are not in the top 25 most used apps. We help people make use of these gems by simply issuing natural voice commands.

Hidden Gems

Hidden gems : apps that are not head apps, but provide huge utility

 

Most of these “hidden gems”, along with millions more – photo apps, payment apps, airline apps, etc. are just not available in existing voice platforms. Alexa Skills offer limited utility compared to mobile apps already installed on your phone.

Critical Gaps In The Big Voice Platforms

The big voice platforms don’t currently support many of the most popular, helpful, and engaging mobile apps. Here’s a look at top mobile apps vs apps currently supported through an Alexa Skill.

Apps on Assistants

Many popular apps are not available on Alexa or Google Assistant

 

Current voice platforms don’t support enough useful actions. Even those apps supported by Alexa, Google Assistant, Cortana, Siri, et al, often limit voice support to a small number of app functions. For example, with Alexa, I can order a Lyft, but I can’t schedule one, or look at my ride history. Voice should make using these familiar apps easier, not require you to remember what Lyft can do with Alexa.

Don’t Reinvent The Wheel

Current voice platforms require new, custom development, ongoing maintenance and support. Why would a developer reinvent the wheel just to offer voice support to their customers, expanding their maintenance and support requirements in the process?

Voice enabling your existing app gets developers and brands started on capturing customer voice search commands, a valuable asset that should be protected from competitors, some of which operate digital platforms eager to disintermediate brands from their customers.

Apps Are Useful, Personal, Private, and Secure

A compelling consumer voice experience is our goal, and apps are a great starting point. Further, because you already trust the apps you use, and we don’t require registration or any user credentials, we execute the right actions for you privately.  We can enable personal actions, like playing your personal playlists, viewing your photos, sending payments to friends, and messaging family – quickly and securely.

Through our Q Action Kit (developer SDK) or our Q Actions App, Aiqudo’s action intent AI connects voice computing to the mobile app ecosystem, helping you take action quickly and easily, wherever you go.

This Week In Voice Podcast March 15 2018

This Week in Voice – Podcast with Aiqudo

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

Season 2, Episode 8 of the “This Week In Voice” podcast features Aiqudo’s co-founders discussing the latest developments in the world of voice.

Hear CEO John and CTO Rajat provide their opinions and perspectives on several recent developments: Alexa’s new “follow-up mode”, Google’s recently announced multi-step routines, the availability of Alexa and Assistant on tablets, the current issues with these assistant platforms on phones, the challenges for banking, payments and other private activities using standalone voice assistants, and the potential proliferation of vertical and specialized voice applications.

You can listen to the podcast here.

Other options:

The Next Billion

By | User Interface, Voice | No Comments

When we started Aiqudo less than a year ago, we were focused on voice as the next big thing in tech, a UI that has the potential to be the most profound and disruptive change in consumer technology to date. Being a Silicon Valley company, we naturally focused on how voice could impact our world — savvy tech users who wanted the easiest, fastest way possible to use their technology, and the changes natural language voice could bring about for businesses serving us: voice search, voice commerce, hands free apps while driving, etc.

But as we work with partners who are focused on global deployments across multiple languages, we’re coming to realize that voice could have a much more far-reaching impact. When interacting with technology becomes completely seamless and intuitive, we will extend access to technology to billions of new users in emerging markets where mobile internet devices have arrived but where language or literacy issues may present barriers to usage.

Today, mobile carriers are pushing hard to capture new users in these frontier markets, offering inexpensive Android phones with unlimited data plans and putting internet connections into more hands than ever. Voice interfaces, localized for languages and for locale-specific apps, will unlock the final accessibility challenge for these users, allowing the benefits of the internet to reach far deeper into many societies that have until now been on the other side of the digital divide. Voice has the potential to become the universal interface to the digital world.

New users and a new user interface will certainly mean new entry points and new modalities of use for a broad range of established businesses. Industries that VCs would consider over with, done, un-investable in developed markets will be up for grabs again, and serving billions of users. We’ll see new business models, serving localized needs with localized solutions — this won’t be a walkover for the established incumbents. The next disruption is likely to have its roots far from Silicon Valley.

These are the next billion internet users, and voice is the interface that will power their digital experience.

Walled gardens

Open or Walled?

By | Artificial Intelligence, Digital Assistants, Machine Learning, Voice | No Comments

Voice has the promise to be the next disruption, upending massive, established business models and putting search, commerce, messaging, and navigation up for grabs again. But a walled garden mentality could stifle that disruption.

Even over its relatively short history, we see a pattern of behavior on the Internet: some innovator creates a marketplace for consumers, helping to organize information (Yahoo and AOL in their first iterations), commerce (Amazon), a place to keep in touch with our friends (Facebook), and they create huge consumer value in bringing us together, providing us with tools that make it easy to navigate, buy, message, etc. But as the audience grows, there is always a slide away from an open marketplace toward a walled garden, with the marketplace operators initially becoming toll takers and moving toward ever greater control (and monetization) of their users’ experience, and more recently, their data.

Mobile carriers in the US tried to erect walled gardens around their users in the 1.0 version of mobile content — the carriers thought they had captive users and captive vendors, and so created closed platforms that forced their subscribers to buy content from them. Predictably, monopoly providers offered narrow product offerings at high prices and squeezed their vendors so hard that there was no free cash flow for innovation. Mobile content stagnated, as the carriers failed to cultivate fertile ecosystems in which vendors could make money and in which consumers had a growing variety of new and interesting content. When the iPhone came along (thankfully Steve Jobs could wave his magic wand over the guys at AT&T), consumers could finally use their phones to get to the Internet for the content they wanted, and the carriers went back to being dumb pipes.

Will voice platforms become walled gardens?

If you want to enable your users to reach you through Alexa, you have to create a Skill. Then you have to train your users to invoke your Skill using a precise syntax. Likewise Google Assistant. For Siri, your business has to fit into one of the handful of domains that SiriKit recognizes. There’s a reason we refer to them as voice platforms — their owners are in control.

Initially, there are good QA reasons for this, making sure we get a good user experience. But pretty quickly, the walls will become constraints on who can be included in the garden (will Amazon and Facebook play nice together?), and ultimately, what will be the tax that must be paid in order to offer services in the garden. As users, this results in less openness, fewer choices, and constraints on our ability to quickly and easily do what we want to do, which typically includes using different services from all of the different platform providers (does Tencent really think that if you block people from Alipay inside WeChat that users will stop using Alipay?)

The carriers’ experience should be a cautionary tale — walled gardens, with their limited choices and monopolist pricing are bad for consumers; the Internet is a place of unlimited choice, the world of mobile apps is vast and diverse, again allowing for broad consumer choice — this is what we expect, and if our horizons are constrained by a platform’s policies, we’ll abandon it. The carriers fumbled Mobile Content 1.0; their walled gardens never met their promise to become massive businesses, and today they don’t even exist.

Voice interfaces should be our gateway to everything we want to do, whether it’s in Alexa, in our mobile apps, or in our connected cars or homes. So will voice platforms be these open gateways that make our lives easier, or will they be cramped walled gardens that try to make our choices for us, funneling us to a narrow selection of preferred vendors?

Assistant+Q Actions

Aiqudo Q Actions enhances Google Assistant

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Google Assistant is popular among Android users.   It is also integrated with Google Home, Google’s smart assistant device for the home. However, Google Assistant has only a a limited set of supported Actions. There are many actions that Assistant currently does not perform optimally for you, even on your phone. Instead of executing the right actions in the relevant app, Assistant offers web search results in many cases:  

  • “Show my boarding pass” (You want to pull up your boarding pass in your airline app when you are in the security line at the airport)
  • “I need a haircut” (You want to check in to your favorite salon)
  • “Who’s at the front door?” (You want to open up the video from your security device app)

We integrated the Q Actions Android app with Google Assistant. Now you can talk to Google Assistant and execute actions instantly in your favorite apps on your mobile device. You can do this on Google Assistant on your phone or in Google Home.

The first step is to open Q Actions with the command – “Talk to Q Actions”

Now you can talk natively to Q Actions voice application, for example:

  • “Play narcos” -> will open the Netflix app and start playing the TV show
  • “I’d like to board” -> will open the United Airlines app and take you right to your boarding pass
  • “Show hotels in Chicago” -> will open the HotelTonight app and show hotel deals in Chicago
  • “Show my photo albums” -> will allow  you to choose between Flickr and Google Photos apps (if you have both apps) and will show your albums

It’s easy and convenient to use Q Actions with Google Assistant. Simply say what you want to do. You don’t need to learn a specific syntax; you can speak naturally. Further, Q personalizes actions based on the apps installed on your device. If you have two apps that are a match you will get an option to choose, using voice. In the future the system will learn your preferences  and execute the best action for you. 

We would love your feedback on your experience with using Q Actions with Google Assistant. We are in the process of adding more features, so stay tuned!

Q Actions Alexa Skill

Aiqudo Q Actions enhances Amazon Alexa

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Amazon Alexa is currently the #1 smart assistant in the world.   It is also integrated with Alexa Dot and Echo – Amazon’s smart assistant device for the home. However, Amazon Alexa has only a a limited set of supported Skills. Further, because it hard to remember the specific command syntax, users only re-use about 3% of Alexa’s skills. Discovering new skills is difficult.

There are many actions that Alexa currently does not perform optimally for you:  

  • “Show my boarding pass” (You want to pull up your boarding pass in your airline app when you are in the security line at the airport)
  • “I need a haircut” (You want to check in to your favorite salon)
  • “How far can I drive?” (You want to see how many miles are on your Chevy Volt in the OnStar app)

We integrated the Q Actions Android app with Amazon Alexa. Now you can talk to Amazon Alexa and execute actions instantly in your favorite apps on your mobile device. You can do this on Amazon Alexa on your phone or on Alexa Echo device.

The first step is to install the Q Actions skill and open Q Actions with the command – “Talk to Q Actions” (Link to Alexa Skill)

Now you can talk natively to Q Actions voice application, for example:

  • “Play narcos” -> will open the Netflix app and start playing the TV show
  • “I’d like to board” -> will open the United Airlines app and take you right to your boarding pass
  • “Show Tesla stock” -> will open the ETrade app and show you a real-time stock quote for Tesla
  • “Show my photo albums” -> will allow  you to choose between Flickr and Google Photos apps (if you have both apps) and will show your albums

It’s easy and convenient to use Q Actions with Amazon Alexa. Simply say what you want to do. You don’t need to learn a specific syntax; you can speak naturally. Further, Q personalizes actions based on the apps installed on your device. If you have two apps that are a match you will get an option to choose, using voice. In the future the system will learn your preferences  and execute the best action for you. 

We would love your feedback on your experience with using Q Actions with Amazon Alexa. We are in the process of adding more features, so stay tuned!

Voice will be our interface to everything

By | User Interface, Voice | No Comments
Let’s face it, technology has not always been very user friendly. Sometimes that felt by design, so coders could keep their club small and exclusive. But usually there’s a step function innovation that totally changes how we interact with technology and, in so doing, disrupts the old paradigm. The mouse and graphical user interface launched the PC (if you’re old enough, you remember when saying GUI sounded cool). Touch screens were the brilliant innovation that enabled the whole new world of smartphones that we live in today.

Voice is the next disruption. Voice will change how we search, how we shop and manage our experiences with retailers, how we create and consume media. The big guys are placing big bets in the space, and we’re starting to see the payoff on some of those components now – voice recognition now has accuracy above 90%, which is good enough to be workable. With improvements in AI, we’ll have contextual understanding, maintain state, and get to conversational capabilities.

But today, voice doesn’t do very much. Alexa sets a mean timer, but if I want to order an Uber, I have to go to my Alexa app to sign in and register, and then I only get limited capabilities. Why wouldn’t I just go to my Uber app? My Uber app has Home, Work, SFO, already in it, plus my payment info, and I can share my ETA with my contacts. And if I want to check Surfline, forget it – there’s no Skill for that.

This is why we created Aiqudo. Our mobile apps do tons of things for us already – get rides, order food, check the surf, and loads of other interactions every day. But the touch screen interface has resulted in each app becoming an individual silo: you have to open the app, navigate your way down to the action you want, maybe tap through a few screens to select your size or color, checkout, and confirm, and then move to the next app and repeat. Aiqudo lets you use simple, intuitive voice commands to instantly get to the action you want, then seamlessly move on to the next action in another app. Do all the things you want to do in your favorite apps, but now at the speed of voice.

Voice will be our interface to everything, eventually. We’re starting with making voice the interface to the things we do every day with our mobile apps.

Q Actions -Voice to Action

Announcing Q Actions

By | Artificial Intelligence, Digital Assistants, Machine Learning, News, Voice | No Comments

It’s only been about 3 months since we formally started working @Aiqudo and we’re thrilled to announce the availability of Q Actions (Beta) on the Play Store.

You say it, we do it!

Q Actions allows you to use simple voice commands to instantly execute actions in your favorite Android apps.  Other voice assistants like Alexa or Google Assistant don’t do this!

We’ve solved a few hard problems:

  • Commands in natural language without specific syntax  – Unlike systems like Alexa, where you need to invoke a skill by name, and need to use a specific syntax for your command to be recognized, you can use natural commands with Q. You don’t have to mention an app in your command – we’ll automatically figure out the right action for your command. In fact, our AI Search (AIS) uses sophisticated Machine Learning algorithms to perform high-quality fuzzy matching across commands across multiple apps in multiple verticals.
  • Action invocation in apps without APIs or developer work –  The Q Platform does not require app developers to expose specific APIs just for voice. We can enable key actions in apps without any APIs or code. You execute actions just as you normally would in the app, with the additional benefit that it is faster, and you don’t need to remember where the function resides deep within the app. Easier and faster.
  • Personal actions without registration or loss of privacy –   Other assistant platforms only expose few personal actions, and even these require the user to register third party services on the platform. Since Q executes actions in apps directly, we don’t require registration, and you are using apps you already trust for messaging, banking, payments, stocks, etc.
  • Scalable Action on boarding  – We have figured out how to on board actions within apps directly. We on board and maintain actions at our end. So neither you, nor the app developer have to worry about making the actions available broadly.

All you have to do to get started with Q Actions is say “show my actions” – you’ll see a list of actions already available for your favorite apps out-of-the-box.

Download Q Actions now!

The Aiqudo Team