We all remember playing playing the game Monopoly as kids right? Well I recently stumbled upon a version of the game that uses voice commands to control the game flow and act as the “bank” – a role most of us avoided so we wouldn’t have to deal with all the annoying transactions such as selling properties and buildings, collecting taxes, exchanging currency, and paying out people as they passed “GO”. Admittedly, it’s a novel use for voice commands in a classic game. But what about using voice to manage apps controlling our real money?
Voice to power more than games
Back in June of last year, we wrote a blog post that talked about the power of voice to perform activities in mobile banking apps. The post specifically referenced Bank of America’s Erica virtual voice assistant as a tool to help users accomplish common, often time-consuming banking activities without the need to memorize complex menus or worse, speak to the dreaded online customer service representative. The net result of this; a simple, pleasant, user experience that builds brand loyalty and customer retention.
Enter Aiqudo Voice to Action®
Well, that got me thinking. I’ve been an E*Trade banking customer for years and all this time I’ve never really used voice to make payments, transfer money or check balances.
Nonetheless, I decided to see if I could recreate and hopefully improve upon my previous experience – this time using our very own Q Actions app. The following video highlights some of my efforts.
But can I trust this new way of banking?
Yes. You may have noticed in the video that I am not providing credentials to access my account in E*Trade. That’s because I’m already authenticated. Previous to shooting the video, I had provided credentials, by way of fingerprint biometric, as part of the very first action execution. Note that Aiqudo did not manage this process; it was handled completely by the mobile app. And because of this, the data used to hold the credential, lives entirely in the app itself and is neither passed to nor processed by Aiqudo systems at all. This separation of duties maintains privacy of user data and hence increases trust in using the technology.
A personalized experience
Personalization is a word typically used to describe how an app or other system function adjusts to provide an experience tailored specifically to a user. It’s often used in conjunction with AI and machine learning systems as the end result of acquiring, processing and suggesting courses of action or data upon which to act. We enable personalization in the previous actions a couple of ways. If you have, say, more than one voice-enabled banking app on your mobile device (similar to what I have), our system can be configured to remember the user’s preferred app action. For instance, if I were to say the command “check my balances” Aiqudo suggests actions from both E*Trade AND Wells Fargo. If I choose the E*Trade action, the next time I say the command it will remember E*Trade and perform the action right away – no need to ask again. Likewise, whenever the action requires the user to provide input such as account number or payee, the system can store these away for subsequent use. These are simple examples but add a nice touch to an already-useful integration.
What if I don’t bank with E*Trade? What can I do with other apps and is it safe?
Aiqudo maintains similar actions for apps like Venmo and Paypal that allow “send money to <username>” type actions. In each of these cases, Aiqudo defers authentication to the app before completing the transaction and also ensures that the data used by the action in the app, e.g., the payee’s phone number or email address never leaves the device or the app. The following video illustrates this.
With the proper integration of our ActionKit SDK into a banking app such as E*Trade, the end user reaps the benefits of a trusted, highly- useful voice-powered interface that enables complex and often multi-step operations with ease and reduces Time to Action® for many activities within the app.
The recent release of Q Actions 2.4 emphasizes Aiqudo’s focus on productivity and utility through voice. As voice assistants are becoming an increasingly ubiquitous part of our daily lives, Aiqudo aims to empower users to get things done. Many of the improvements and enhancements are “under the hood” – we’ve increased personalization and expanded the knowledge that drives our Actions.
Our content-rich Q Cards leverage Actionable Knowledge to extend functionality into popular 3rd party apps. Start by asking about an artist, music group, sports athlete, or celebrity: “who is Tom Hanks”. Aiqudo’s Q Card not only presents information about the actor, but will ask “what next?”. You say “view his Twitter account”or “go to his Instagram”, Actionable Knowledge will drop you exactly where you want to go!
Sample Actionable Knowledge Flow:
Ask “who is Taylor Swift?”
Select one of the supported Actionable Knowledge apps
“listen to her on Spotify”
“go to her Facebook profile”
“check out her Instagram”
Personalization … with privacy
Q Actions is already personalized, showing you Action choices based on the apps you already trust. We can now leverage personal data as signals to personalize your experience, while still protecting your privacy. It’s another iteration of our continued focus and dedication to increase productivity and augment utility using voice. For example, if you checked in to your United Airlines flight, and then, the following day, say “show my boarding pass”, the United Airlines action is promoted to the top – exactly what you’d expect the system to do for you.
Our new Personal Data Manager allows secure optimization for specific apps. If you have a Spotify playlist called “Beach Vibes”, and you say “play Beach Vibes”, we understand what you want and we will promote your personal playlist over a random public channel by that name. Your playlists are not shipped off the device to our servers, but we can still use the relevant information to short-cut your day! If “Casimo Caputo” is a friend in Facebook Messenger, Messenger will trump WhatsApp for “tell Casimo Caputo let’s meet for lunch”. But “message Mark Smith let’s play Fifa tonight”brings up WhatsApp since Mark Smith is your WhatsApp buddy.
Simply do more with voice! Q Actions is now available on Google Play.
Will develop solutions that simplify the process of integrating voice assistants into a variety of devices
BUSINESSWIRE, LAS VEGAS, January 6, 2020
Aiqudo, a leading voice technology pioneer, today announced that it is collaborating with embedded voice and vision AI leader Sensory to bring to market comprehensive voice solutions that serve as white-label alternatives for voice services and assistants. The two companies are working on solutions targeting automotive, mobile app, smart home and wearable device applications.
Currently, companies and brands must piece together different technologies to fully implement a voice solution. With their technologies combined, Aiqudo and Sensory will deliver a fully integrated end-to-end solution that combines Sensory’s wake word, voice biometrics and natural language recognition technologies with Aiqudo’s multilingual intent understanding and action execution (Q Actions®) to provide the complete Voice to Action® experience consumers expect.
“Voice adoption continues to grow rapidly, and brands are always exploring ways to streamline the process of integrating a convenient voice UX into their products,” said Todd Mozer, Sensory’s CEO. “Working with Aiqudo allows our two companies to provide the industry a turn-key solution for integrating powerful voice assistants into their products that feature brand-specific wake words and are capable of recognizing who is speaking.”
“Users just need to enter the cabin with their smartphones. There’s no registration required, and the personalized wake word and voice biometrics allow users to instantly access their personal apps seamlessly and securely”.
With both Aiqudo and Sensory positioned as leaders in their respective fields, this collaboration is a natural fit as their technologies are highly complementary. The initial integration is focused on the automotive vertical that will be showcased at 2020 Consumer Electronics Show.
Aiqudo’s Auto Mode highlights a highly personalized user experience in the car using the Q Actions® platform. Enhanced with Sensory’s wake word (TrulyHandsfree™) and voice ID (TrulySecure™) functionality, multiple users seamlessly access their personal mobile devices just by using their voice to execute personal actions. “Users just need to enter the cabin with their smartphones,” said Rajat Mukherjee, Aiqudo CTO. “There’s no registration required, and the personalized wake word and voice biometrics allow users to instantly access their personal apps seamlessly and securely”.
“Brands increasingly want to create their own branded voice experiences for their customers,” said John Foster, CEO of Aiqudo. “Working with Sensory, we have created the easiest and fastest way for brands to bring the power and convenience of voice to their customers. We are excited to integrate our areas of practice and expertise to deliver a comprehensive solution.”
To view the demo onsite while at CES, please email Aiqudo at CES@aiqudo.com.
For over 25 years, Sensory has pioneered and developed groundbreaking applications for machine learning and embedded AI – turning those applications into household technologies. Pioneering the concept of always-listening speech recognition more than a decade ago, Sensory’s flexible wake word, small to large vocabulary speech recognition, and natural language understanding technologies are fueling today’s voice revolution. Additionally, its biometric recognition technologies are making everything from unlocking a device to authenticating users for digital transactions faster, safer and more convenient. Sensory’s technologies are widely deployed in numerous markets, including automotive, home appliances, home entertainment, IoT, mobile phones, wearables and more, and have shipped in over two billion units of leading consumer products and software applications.
For more information about this announcement, Sensory or its technologies, visit https://www.sensory.com/, contact email@example.com or for press inquiries contact firstname.lastname@example.org.
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 and cloud services through its Voice to Action® platform. It lets people use natural voice commands to execute actions in mobile apps and cloud services across devices. Aiqudo’s SaaS platform uses machine learning (AI) to understand natural-language voice commands and then triggers instant actions via mobile apps, cloud services, or device actions, 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 mandating APIs or developer dependencies.
Peter Mortensen, Solution Architect, BYTON, Santa Clara, California
BYTON is the automotive EV brand taking the lead in next generation infotainment experiences with a vision of giving vehicle occupants the best combination of safety and entertainment while on the road. The first BYTON is the M-BYTE SUV incorporating a groundbreaking infotainment system with an advanced Android Automotive app platform combined with BYTON’s unique user interface including the industry’s largest display and user control via touch, gesture and voice.
One of the key challenges when expanding the infotainment capabilities in a vehicle is to avoid unsafe distractions for the driver. By extensive support of voice control, the driver in a BYTON has safer operation of the vehicle allowing more visual focus on the driving itself. Another challenge is how well a vehicle’s infotainment system provides the frequently used features of popular apps and online services common on theoccupants’ smartphones.
Aiqudo’s Voice to Action® platform enables occupants of a BYTON vehicle a simple and seamless link between natural language voice interaction and their favorite personal apps. With this solution, the occupants of a BYTON can speak naturally to their favorite apps using the vehicle’s powerful microphone array system from any seat in the cabin. The apps can either be residing in the vehicle’s own infotainment system or on the Bluetooth-connected Android or iOS smartphones of the occupants. The Aiqudo solution interprets the spoken commands and automatically identifies which specific app to control. For example, this means the driver can easily send a message using voice through his favorite social networking app installed on his smartphone, hands-free, without picking up the device, thusstaying focused on safely driving the vehicle.
BYTON is committed to intelligently combine the best of voice control with the safe use of touch control, gesture control and display feedback. The Voice to Action® platform expands beyond voice interaction by allowing BYTON’s engineering to touch-enable relevant app controls and provide display feedback when relevant. Furthermore, BYTON’s voice interaction concept aims high by creating a truly intuitive voice interaction experience through integration of Aiqudo’s app control with vehicle control and online digital voice assistant services using Amazon’s Alexa and other digital voice assistant services, depending on country.
Aiqudo, a voice technology pioneer, announced ahead of CES 2020 a partnership with premium electric vehicle manufacturer BYTON, bringing the power of Aiqudo’s Voice AI platform to BYTON cars. Aiqudo’s Voice to Action® platform will enable interacting with your favorite apps on your mobile phone hands-free while driving, seamlessly integrating with BYTON’s unique Digital Experience.
Aiqudo’s industry-leading Voice AI platform will voice-enable actions in native apps within the BYTON ecosystem as well as intelligently launch app actions on personal mobile devices in the vehicle. BYTON drivers and passengers will be able to navigate, make calls, send messages, listen to music, shop, join meetings, make payments and more using simple voice commands with apps they use and love. In its integration with BYTON, Aiqudo incorporates the personalization and individual choice reflected by consumers’ favorite apps, as well as personal elements within apps such as preferred playlists, contacts, or favorites, all without user registration or setup. The BYTON experience powered by Aiqudo delivers the safest, easiest and most useful way to use a mobile device while in the car.
“A seamless voice experience is integral to BYTON’s groundbreaking user experience and Aiqudo Voice will make accessing your favorite apps convenient and safe,” said Jeff Chung, BYTON Vice President of Digital Engineering. “Aiqudo’s white label solution allows us to explore new possibilities with our expanding partnerships in the BYTON digital ecosystem.”
“BYTON’s vision of the car of the future, equipped for autonomous driving, will accelerate the need that users have to access their personal digital lives everywhere. Aiqudo makes this easy!”
Aiqudo’s voice platform comprises a semiotics-based intent engine that understands natural language commands in 7 languages currently, plus an action execution capability across thousands of applications that consumers rely on daily. The company’s white-label voice platform allows car manufacturers, phone and smart device OEMs and mobile app developers to define unique voice experiences for their customers.
“Byton has reimagined the relationship between cars and the people who drive or ride in them, placing voice-based interactions at the center of the in-car experience. We believe that voice will soon be the primary way people interact with their digital world. We’re partnering with BYTON to bring a high utility, personalized voice experience to their automobiles,” said John Foster, CEO of Aiqudo. “The in-car experience is a prime use case demonstrating the power of voice. Customers can now drive safely, undistracted and hands-free, and still use their favorite apps just by using their voice.”
Aiqudo’s Action Kit functionality will be offered to app developers through the BYTON developer portal.
“Action Kit enables BYTON app developers to easily and effortlessly enable voice within their applications for the company’s range of cars and expansive infotainment systems,” said Dr. Rajat Mukherjee, Aiqudo CTO. “BYTON’s vision of the car of the future, equipped for autonomous driving, will accelerate the need that users have to access their personal digital lives everywhere. Aiqudo makes this easy!”
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 and cloud services 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, cloud services, or device actions, 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 mandating APIs or developer dependencies.
BYTON is a global premium electric vehicle manufacturer that is creating the world’s first smart device on wheels. By integrating advanced digital technologies to offer a smart, connected, and comfortable mobility experience, the company is designing an EV that will meet the demands of an increasingly digital lifestyle now and into the future.
The company’s global headquarters and state-of-the-art manufacturing center are located in Nanjing, China. Its global R&D hub is located in the heart of Silicon Valley and devoted to the development of BYTON’s groundbreaking intelligent car experience, digital ecosystem, advanced connectivity, as well as other cutting-edge technologies. BYTON’s design and concept vehicle center is located in Munich, Germany.
BYTON’s core management team is made up of top innovators from leading-edge companies such as BMW, Tesla, Google, and Apple. This diverse group of leaders from China, Europe, and the US share the singular vision of creating an unprecedented automotive experience.
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 abetter voice experience in the car. We’ve also seen how voice can help usersengage 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.
The following transcript was taken from a casual conversation with my son.
Son: Dad, what are you working on?
Me: It’s a new feature in our product called “Auto Mode”. We just released it in version 2.1 of our Q Actions App for Android. We even made a video of it. We can watch it after dinner if you’re interested.
Son: The feature sounds cool. What’s it look like?
Me: Well, here. We have this special setting that switches our software to look like the screen in a car. See how the screen is wider than it is tall? Yeah, that’s because most car screens are like that too.
Son: Wait. How do you get your software into cars? Can’t you just stick the tablet on the dashboard?
Me: Humm, not quite. We develop the software so that car makers can combine it with their own software inside the car’s console. We’ll even make it look like they developed it by using their own colors and buttons. I’m showing you how this works on a tablet because it’s easier to demonstrate to other people – we just tell them to pretend it’s the car console. Until cars put our software into their consoles, we’ll make it easy for users to use “Auto Mode” directly on their phones. Just mount the phone on the car’s dash and say “turn on auto mode” – done!
Son: So how do you use it? And what does that blue button with a microphone in it do?
Me: Well, we want anyone in the car to be able to say a command like “navigate to Great America” or “what’s the weather like in San Jose?”or “who are Twenty One-Pilots?”. The button is simply a way to tell the car to listen. When we hear a command, our software figures out what to do and what to show on the console in the car. Sometimes it even speaks back the answer. Now we don’t always want people to have to press the button on the screen so we’ll work with the car makers to add a button on the steering wheel or even a microphone that is always listening for a special phrase such as “Ok, Q” to start.
Son: How does it do that? I mean, the command part.
Me: Good question. Since you’re smart and know a little about software, I’ll keep it short. Our software takes a command and tries to figure out what app or service can best provide the answer. For example, if the command is about showing the route to say, an amusement park like Great America, we’ll ask Google Maps to handle it, which it does really well. Lots of cars come installed with mapping software like Google Maps so it’s best to let them handle those. For other types of commands that ask for information, like “what’s the weather like in San Jose” or “who are Twenty One Pilots”, we’ll send it off to servers in the cloud. They then send us back answers and we format it and display it on the screen – in a pretty looking card like this one.
Me: Sometimes, apps running on our phones can best answer these commands and we use them to handle it.
Son: Wait. Phones? How are phones involved? I only see you using a tablet.
Me: Ahhh. You’ve discovered our coolest feature. We use Apps already installed on your phone. Do you see those rectangle-looking things in the upper right corner of the tablet? The ones with the pictures and names of people? Well, those are phone profiles. They appear when a person connects their phone, running our Q Actions app, to the car’s console through Bluetooth, sort of like you do with wireless earbuds. When connected, our software in the console sends the phone your commands and the phone in turn attempts to execute the command using one of the installed apps. Let me explain with an example. Let’s pretend you track your daily homework assignments using the Google Tasks app on your phone. Now you hop into the car and your phone automatically pairs with the console. Now I asked you to show me your homework assignments. You then press the mic button and say “show my homework tasks”. The software in the console would intelligently route the command to your phone (because Google Tasks is not on the console), open Google Tasks on your phone, grab all your homework assignments and send them back to the console to be displayed in a nice card. Oh, and it would also speak back your homework assignments as well. Let’s see what happens when I tell it to view my tasks.
Son: Big deal. I can just pick up my phone and do that. Why do I need to use voice for that?
Me: Because if you’re the driver, you don’t want to be fumbling around with your phone, possibly getting into an accident! Remember, this is supposed to help drivers with safe, “hands-free” operation. You put your phone in a safe place and our software figures out how to use it to get the answers.
Son:Why can’t the car makers put all these apps in the console so you don’t have to use your phone?
Me: Great question. Most people carry their phones on them at all times, especially when they drive. And these phones have all their favorite apps with all their important personal information stored in them. There’s no way the car makers could figure out which apps to include when you buy the car. And even if you could download these apps onto the console, all your personal information that’s on your phone would have to transferred over to the console, app by app. Clumsy if you ask me. I prefer to keep my information on my phone and private, thank you very much!
Son: Oh. Now I get it. So what else does the software do?
Me:The console can call a family member. If you say “call Dad”, the software looks for ‘dad’ in your phone’s address book and dials the number associated with it. But wait. You’re probably thinking ‘What’s so special about that? All the cool cars do it”. Well, we know that a bunch of apps can make phone calls so we show you which ones and let you decide. Also, If you have two numbers for ‘dad’, say a home and mobile number, the software will ask you to choose one to call. Let’s see how this works when I say “call Dad”.
Me: It asks you to pick an app. I say ‘phone’ and then it asks me to pick a number since my dad has both a home and mobile number. I say ‘mobile’ and it dials the number through my phone.
Son: Cool. But what if I have two people with the same name, like Julie?
Me: It will ask you to pick a ‘Julie’ when it finds more than one. And it will remember that choice next time you ask it to call Julie. See what happens when I want to call Jason. It shows me all the people in my address book who are named Jason along with their phone numbers. If a person has more than one number it will say ‘Multiple’
Son: Wow. What else?
Me: How about sending a message on WhatsApp? Or setting up a team meeting in the calendar. Or joining a meeting from the car if you are running late. Or even checking which one of your friends have birthdays today. All these actions are performed on your phone using the apps you are familiar with and use.
Son: Which app shows you your friends birthdays? That’s kind of neat.
Son: I don’t use Facebook. I use Instagram. It’s way better. Plus all the cool kids use it now.
Me: You get the picture though, right?
Son: So what if all of my friends are in the car with you and we connect to the console? How does the software know where to send the command?
Me: We use the person’s voice to identify who they are and route the command to the right person’s phone automatically.
Son: Really? That seems way too hard.
Me: Not really. Although we haven’t implemented it yet, the technology exists to do this sort of thing today.
Son: Going back to main screen, why does the list of actions under ‘Recent’ and ‘Favorites’ change when you change people?
Me:Oh, you noticed that! Whenever the software switches to a new profile, we grab the ‘Recent’ and ‘Favorites’ sections from that person’s phone and display it in the tablet, er, console. This is our way of making the experience more personalized or familiar to the way the app appears on your phone. In fact, the ‘Favorites’ are like handy shortcuts for frequently used actions, like “call Mom”.
Me: One more thing. Remember the other buttons on the home screen? One looked like a music note, the other a picture for messaging and so on. Well, when you press those, a series of icons appear across the screen, each showing an action that belongs to that group. If your phone had Spotify installed, we would show you a few Spotify actions. If Pandora was installed, we would show you Pandora actions and so on. Check out what happens when I activate my profile. Notice how Pandora appears? That’s because Pandora is on my phone and not on the tablet like Google Play Music and YouTube Music.
Me: Same is true for messaging and calling. Actions from apps installed on your phone would appear. You would simply tap on the icon to run the action. In fact, if you look carefully, you’ll notice that all the actions that show up on the console are also in the ‘My Actions’ screen in the Q Actions app on your Android Phone. Check out what’s on the tablet vs. my phone.
Me: Oh and before I forget, there’s one last item I’d like to tell you about.
Son: What’s that.
Me: Notifications. If you send me a message on WhatsApp, Messenger or WeChat, a screen will popup letting me know I have a message from you. I can listen to the message by pressing a button or respond to the message – by voice, of course, all while keeping my focus on the road. You’ll get the response just as if I had sent it while holding the phone.
Son: Cool. I’ll have fun sending you messages on your way home from work.
Son: Hey, can I try this out on my phone?
Me: Sure. Just download our latest app from the Google Play Store. After you get it installed, goto the Preferences section under Settings and check the box that says ‘Auto Mode’ (BETA). You’ll automatically be switched into Auto Mode on your phone. Now this becomes your console in the car.
Of course, things appear a bit smaller than on your phone than what I’ve shown you on the tablet. Oh, and since you’re not connected to another phone, all the commands you give it will be performed by apps on your phone. Try it out and let me know what you think.
Son: Ok. I’ll play around with it this week.
Me: Great. Now let’s go see what your mom’s made us for dinner.
Q Actions 2.0 is here. With this release, we wanted to focus on empowering users throughout their day. As voice is playing a more prevalent part in our everyday lives, we’re uncovering more use cases where Q Actions can be of help. In Q Actions 2.0, you’ll find new features and enhancements that are more conversational and useful.
Aiqudo believes the interaction with a voice assistant should be casual, intuitive, and conversational. Q Actions understands naturally spoken commands and is aware of the apps installed on your phone, so it will only return personalized actions that are relevant to you. When a bit more information is required from you to complete a task, Q Actions will guide the conversation until it fully understands what you want to do. Casually chat with Q Actions and get things done.
“create new event” (Google Calendar)
“message Mario” (WhatsApp, Messenger, SMS)
“watch a movie/tv show” (Netflix, Hulu)
“play some music” (Spotify, Pandora, Google Play Music, Deezer)
In addition to providing relevant app actions from personal apps that are installed on your phone, Q Actions will now display rich information through Q Cards™. Get up-to-date information from cloud services on many topics: flight status, stock pricing, restaurant info, and more. In addition to presenting the information in a simple and easy-to-read card, Q Cards™ support Talkback and will read aloud relevant information.
“What’s the flight status of United 875?”
“What’s the current price of AAPL?”
“Find Japanese food”
There are times when you need information but do not have the luxury of looking at a screen. Voice Talkback™ is a feature that reads aloud the critical snippets of information from an action. This enables you to continue to be productive, without the distraction of looking at a screen. Execute your actions safely and hands-free.
“What’s the stock price of Tesla?” (E*Trade)
Q: “Tesla is currently trading at $274.96”
“Whose birthday is it today?” (Facebook)
Q: “Nelson Wynn and J Boss are celebrating birthdays today”
“Where is the nearest gas station?”
Q: “Nearest gas at Shell on 2029 S Bascom Ave and 370 E Campbell Ave, 0.2 miles away, for $4.35”
An enhancement to our existing curated Actions Recipes, users can now create Action Recipes on the fly using Compound Command. Simply join two of your favorite actions using “and” into a single command. This allows the users the capability to create millions of Action Recipe combinations from our database of 4000+ actions.
“Play Migos on Spotify and set volume to max”
“Play NPR and navigate to work”
“Tell Monica I’m boarding the plane nowand view my boarding pass”
Simply do more with voice! Q Actions is now available on Google Play.
When an action or a set of actions require specific input parameters, Directed Dialogue™ allows the user to submit the required information through very simple, natural back-and-forth conversation. Enhanced with parameter validation, and user confirmation,Directed Dialogue™ allows complex tasks to be performed with confidence.Directed Dialogue™isnot about open-ended conversations, butit about getting things done, simply and efficiently.
With Q Actions, Directed Dialogue™ is automatically enabledfor every action in the system because we know the semantic requirements of each and every action’s parameters. It is not constrained, andapplies across all actions across all verticals.
Another application of Directed Dialogue™ is input refinement. Let’s say I want to purchase batteries. If I just say, “add batteries to my shopping cart” I can get the wrong product added to my cart, as on Alexa, which does the wrong thing for a new product order (the right thing happens on a reorder). In the case of Q Actions, I can provide the brand “Duracell” and the type “9V 4 pack” with very simpleDirected Dialogue™, and exactly the right product is added to my cart – in the Amazon or Walmart app.
As the usage model for cars continues to shift away from traditional ownership and leasing to on-demand, ridesharing, and in the future, autonomous vehicle (AV) scenarios, how we think about our personal, in-car experience will need to shift as well.
Unimaginable just a few short years ago, today, we think nothing of jumping into our car and streaming our favorite music through the built-in audio system using our Spotify or Pandora subscription. We also expect the factory-installed navigation system to instantly pull up our favorite or most-commonly used locations (after we’ve entered them) and present us with the best route to or from our current one. And once we pair our smartphone with the media system, we can have our text and email messages not only appear on the onboard screen but also read to us using built-in text-to-speech capabilities. It’s a highly personalized experience in our car.
When we use a pay-as-you-go service, such as Zipcar, we know we’re unlikely to have access to all of the tech comforts of our own vehicle, but we can usually find a way to get our smartphone paired for handsfree calling and streaming music using Bluetooth. If not, we end up using the navigation app on our phone and awkwardly holding it while driving, trying to multitask. It’s not pretty. And when we hail a rideshare, we don’t expect to have access to any of the creature comforts of our own car.
But what if we could?
Just as our relationship to media shifted from an ownership model–CDs or MP3 files on iPods–to subscription-based experiences that are untethered to a specific device but can be accessed anywhere at any time, it’s time to shift our thinking about in-car experiences in the same way.
It’s analogous to accessing your Amazon account and continuing to watch the new season of “True Detective” on the TV at your Airbnb–at the exact episode where you left off last week. Or listening to your favorite Spotify channel at your friend’s house through her speakers.
All your familiar apps (not just the limited Android Auto or Apple CarPlay versions) and your personalized in-car experience–music, navigation, messaging, even video (if you’re a passenger, of course)–will be transportable to any vehicle you happen to jump into, whether it’s a Zipcar, rental car or some version of a rideshare that’s yet to be developed. What’s more, you’ll be able to easily and safely access these apps using voice commands. Whereas today our personal driving environment is tied to our own vehicle, it will become something that’s portable, evolving as our relationship to cars changes over time.
Just on the horizon of this evolution in our relationship with automobiles? Autonomous vehicles, or AVs, in which we become strictly a passenger, perhaps one of several people sharing a ride. Automobile manufacturers today are thinking deeply about what this changing relationship means to them and to their brands. Will BMW become “The Ultimate Riding Machine?”(As a car guy, I personally hope not!) And if so, what will be the differentiators?
Many car companies see the automobile as a new digital platform, for which each manufacturer creates its own, branded, in-car digital experience. In time, when we hail a rideshare or an autonomous vehicle, we could request a Mercedes because we know that we love the Mercedes in-car digital experience, as well as the leather seats and the smooth ride.
What happens if we share the ride in the AV, because, well, they are rideshare applications after all? The challenge for the car companies becomes creating a common denominator of services that define that branded experience while still enabling a high degree of personalization. Clearly, automobile manufacturers don’t want to become dumb pipes on wheels, but if we all just plug in our headphones and live on our phones, comfy seats alone aren’t going to drive brand loyalty for Mercedes. On the other hand, we don’t all want to listen to that one guy’s death metal playlist all the way to the city.
The car manufacturers cannot create direct integrations to all services to accommodate infinite personalization. In the music app market alone there are at least 15 widely used apps, but what if you’re visiting from China? Does your rideshare support China’s favorite music app, QQ? We’ve already made our choices in the apps we have on our phones, so transporting that personalized experience into the shared in-car experience is the elegant way to solve that piece of the puzzle.
This vision of the car providing a unique digital experience is not that far-fetched, nor is it that far away from becoming reality. It’s not only going to change our personal ridesharing experience, but it’s also going to be a change-agent for differentiation in the automobile industry.
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