Here at Josh.ai, we’re interested in the experience of human machine interaction, whether that is in the home or beyond. The annual InfoComm conference, which is focused on the commercial integration channel, was held last week in Orlando, Florida. Given the large presence that Amazon Alexa had at the CEDIA 2016 conference, we were interested to see what sort of role voice control and AI would play at InfoComm 2017.
From what we saw, voice control and AI have yet penetrate the commercial integration space.
When it came to voice assistants and control, there wasn’t much to be seen or experienced. The only place we came across anything voice related was an Amazon Alexa display in the Crestron booth.
This brings up the question: what problem does voice control in a commercial space solve? In the home, voice allows for a natural control experience, especially when it comes to media content (check out some examples here).
For example, let’s say you want to watch the latest episode of Game of Thrones on HBO through a streaming device such as Roku. Typically, the steps involved would be picking up the remote control (or finding the right one if you have multiple), figuring out which button to push to switch sources, picking the HBO Now app on Roku, and then scrolling through HBO to find the show and episode. With voice control, your control system can be setup so that all this happens magically in the background. All the user would need to say is, “Watch the latest episode of Game of Thrones.”
How would something like this fit in the commercial world? Crestron thinks one application is preparing for a meeting, per the video below.
Indeed, natural voice control can be valuable when needing to perform multiple complicated tasks or scenes. This could include video input / output switching as well as media / audio distribution. For example, you could say something like “Bring up Customer Presentation on the TVs in conference rooms 3 and 4,” which would then bring up some sort of media titled “Customer Presentation” and distribute it to two different conference rooms.
Voice Assistants / Machine Learning
Voice technology and NLP did show up in other places, with products such as Watson from IBM. As seen in the video below, some companies are starting to integrate voice processing technology to act as assistants during meetings to transcribe conversations and schedule follow ups.
Though not exhibited, there could also be applications of machine learning that would fit into commercial installations, such as using sensors to auto adjust environmental and media settings. For example, a restaurant / bar that has music playing as ambiance could use sensors to detect the noise level in the room based on the crowd, and auto adjust the music volume accordingly based on previous actions taken by administrators. This would help to automate the environment and produce a better experience for the consumer.
Voice control and AI technologies have yet to make an impact in the commercial integration channel. Maybe the reason for this is that the technology is still developing, and it is not yet good enough to stand up to the rigors of a commercial environment. Or maybe the reason is that integrators still do not see value in installing voice control in their projects. One thing is for sure, with the proliferation of and interest in voice control in the mass market, we will start to see this technology eventually show up in commercial installations. What exactly that will look like — and how exactly that will be implemented — is still yet to be determined.
This was written by Nader who heads Business Development at Josh.ai. Previously, Nader was managing partner at GenYrator and before that he was Vice President / Supervising Execution Trader at Bank of America Merrill Lynch. Nader has an MBA from USC and a BS in Electrical Engineering from UT Austin. He likes to play volleyball, travel, and rock out to pop music.