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@SpeechGraphics Targets Global Customer Service Following £2M Investment from Archangels

@SpeechGraphics Targets Global Customer Service Following £2M Investment from Archangels | Language Tech Market News | Scoop.it

Speech Graphics is an Edinburgh and California based technology business which provides real-time audio based facial animation, featuring in productions from video games to music videos and now, with a £2m investment from Archangels, the prominent business angel syndicate, Par Equity and Scottish Investment Bank (SIB) the company is targeting the customer service sector’s Intelligent Virtual Assistant market from its base in the San Francisco Bay area of California.

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No More Roles for Friendly Home Robots? 

No More Roles for Friendly Home Robots?  | Language Tech Market News | Scoop.it

Kuri the cute Home Robot is to be discontinued. "My guess it that it’s going to be difficult for anyone with a social home robot idea to get funding in the near future, even if there was some clarity as to what might be necessary for these robots to become successful, and there isn’t. What might happen is that companies like Neato and iRobot will start very slowly moving into this space by adding more features to their vacuums, or companies like Amazon and Google will approach it from the other direction by adding more features to their smart speakers.

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Vivo NEX S Phone Includes Jovi #VA

Vivo NEX S Phone Includes Jovi #VA | Language Tech Market News | Scoop.it

Besides the AI camera capabilities, the Vivo NEX S comes with the Jovi AI assistant featuring emotion detection, ASR (Automatic Speech Recognition), NLU (Natural Language Understanding) and text to speech conversion among others. There is a dedicated button to launch the Jovi AI assistant.

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Intelligent Virtual Assistant Market to Reach US 20B at CAGR of 36% by 2025

Intelligent Virtual Assistant Market to Reach US 20B at CAGR of 36% by 2025 | Language Tech Market News | Scoop.it
In this report, the Global Intelligent Virtual Assistant market was valued at USD 1.20 Billion in 2016, and is projected to reach USD 19.9 billion by 2025, growing at a CAGR of 36% over the forecast period. 
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IBM’s Watson Assistant Lets Any Company Build Hub-like Voice Interfaces

IBM’s Watson Assistant Lets Any Company Build Hub-like Voice Interfaces | Language Tech Market News | Scoop.it

IBM is today launching Watson Assistant, a new service aimed at companies looking to build voice-activated virtual assistants for their own products. Want your hotel’s rooms to remember a guest’s preferences for air-con? Or your car’s dashboard to be controllable via voice interface? IBM’s message to companies is: we can help you build that. It’s an interesting pitch, especially as voice assistants like Amazon’s Alexa are being integrated into new arenas. (See, for example, the Wynn Las Vegas’s decision to install Echoes in every room.) IBM says this shows the popularity of conversational interfaces, and believes companies should chose Watson Assistant over Alexa or Siri for a number of reasons — namely: branding, personalization, and privacy.

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ixigo Launches TARA — Travel Agent of the Future

ixigo Launches TARA — Travel Agent of the Future | Language Tech Market News | Scoop.it

TARA (India) is a voice-enabled, 100 per cent AI-driven travel assistant of the future that helps users discover, plan, book and manage their travel. Features like emotive voice-based assistance, pre-emptive trip planning, automated frequent flyer programme management, seamless flight search and booking and automated web check-in make TARA first-of-its-kind in the world.

LT-Innovate's insight:

Beyond the chatbot level of dialogue apparently.

 

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LawDroid to Build First Voice-Activated US Legal Aid Bot

LawDroid to Build First Voice-Activated US Legal Aid Bot | Language Tech Market News | Scoop.it

Tom Martin (founder of legal bot maker LawDroid) has been awarded a contract to build a voice-activated legal aid bot in the US in a major ‘real world’ test of the technology and its access to justice (A2J) capabilities.
LawDroid will be making a hybrid voice and text-based chatbot that can engage users in guided interviews, provide vital legal information and generate custom legal documents,.

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How They Indianized Alexa 

How They Indianized Alexa  | Language Tech Market News | Scoop.it
It took us almost a year to localise Alexa for India. We needed to test Alexa’s Automatic Speech Recognition with multiple Indian accents and have evolved Alexa’s natural language understanding to understand full context and intent. For example, there are many words in English that sound the same but could have different intents when used by users in India and the US.
LT-Innovate's insight:

Indianized but not localized, as Indian English seems to be the only language used. 

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@Snips Helps You Build Your Own Voice Assistant

@Snips Helps You Build Your Own Voice Assistant | Language Tech Market News | Scoop.it

French startup Snips is now helping you build a custom voice assistant for your device. A voice assistant transcribes your voice into a text query. Popular home assistants usually send a small audio file with your voice and use servers to transcribe your query.
Snips can transcribe your voice into text on the device itself. It works on anything that is more powerful than a Raspberry Pi. For now, Snips is limited to English and French. You’ll have to use a third-party automatic speech recognition API for other languages.

LT-Innovate's insight:

Check out how Snips is solving the basic data problem (ie you need data to produce content) by using Data Generation here

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Meet Larissa, the Divorce Bot You Can Talk To

Meet Larissa, the Divorce Bot You Can Talk To | Language Tech Market News | Scoop.it

Canada-based legal bot developer, Tom Martin, has created an experimental divorce bot that you can talk to (video available), named Larissa.
Larissa is designed to allow a member of the public to ask a range of questions about divorce. For example: ‘What is the difference between divorce and separation?’ It can also provide help on how the divorce process works and what a couple can expect in terms of timelines. In short, it acts as a first port of call to people about to engage with a legal process.

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Seeing AI | Talking Camera App for Visual Impairment Users

Seeing AI | Talking Camera App for Visual Impairment Users | Language Tech Market News | Scoop.it

Seeing AI from Microsoft
A free app that narrates the world around you. Following features:

Speaks text as soon as it appears in front of the camera
Provides audio guidance to capture a printed page, and recognizes the text, along with its original formatting
Gives audio beeps to help locate barcodes and then scans them to identify products
Recognizes friends and describes people around you, including their emotions
An experimental feature to describe the scene around you
Identify currency bills when paying with cash.

LT-Innovate's insight:

Ingenious use of visual facts-to-speech language tech to deliver multiple media support.

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Cisco Introduces AI-Based Virtual Assistant for Business Meetings

Cisco Introduces AI-Based Virtual Assistant for Business Meetings | Language Tech Market News | Scoop.it

The Cisco Spark Assistant is an enterprise-class voice assistant that is designed to help companies facilitate more effective meetings and can be used not only in conference rooms but in meetings accessed via mobile devices,

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Intelligent VA Market Worth $17.72B by 2023

Re<port on market for chatbots, IVA smart speakers, User Interface (Text-based, Text-to-speech based, Automatic Speech Recognition), etc is expected to grow from USD 2.48 Billion in 2017 to USD 17.72 Billion by 2023, at a CAGR of 38.82% between 2017 and 2023. Driven by demand for automation in customer support services. Plus IVA smart speakers are in demand for smart home applications such as wireless-connected thermostats, air-conditioners, and others.

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Intelligent VA Market Growth to 2023

Intelligent VA Market Growth to 2023 | Language Tech Market News | Scoop.it

Top players including: Anboto Group, Apple, Artificial Solutions, Clara Labs, CodeBaby, Creative Virtual, CX, eGain Communications, Eidoserve, Existor, Google, IBM, Intel, Microsoft, Next IT, Nuance Communications, Oracle, Speaktoit, Synthetix, ViClone.

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Surprise News: Alexa Found it Hard to Master French Conversation

Surprise News: Alexa Found it Hard to Master French Conversation | Language Tech Market News | Scoop.it

Amazon announced its expansion into France  The first wave of Echo devices is now shipping. But the task of prepping Alexa for its debut there began much longer ago. And how it learned not just a new language but an entirely new set of perspectives and priorities can tell you a lot about how Amazon will translate its homegrown voice assistant into a global success.

LT-Innovate's insight:

Who expected otherwise? And why has French  been singled out? Every language/culture has its share of localisation problems seen from an English POV, and most of these are well known. Maybe best to work with seasoned experts.

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NICE Bot Wants Takes Over Employees' Most Tedious Tasks

NICE has debuted its NICE Employee Virtual Attendant, or NEVA, a process automation bot powered by the company's desktop automation technology. With chatbot capabilities, NEVA "is designed for both front- and back-office employees," said NICE VP Oded Karev, head of advanced process automation.
Employees can use NEVA either to execute a complex business process or inquire about a process, he told CRM Buyer. "The latter use is common in a dynamic compliance-driven environment where processes are highly influenced by changing laws, regulations and company policies."

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Wealth Wizards Developing a Talking Finance Robo-Adviser

Wealth Wizards Developing a Talking Finance Robo-Adviser | Language Tech Market News | Scoop.it

"What we want is an adviser we can speak to at any time of the day and is the best adviser in the UK, and there is no reason why we shouldn't be able to do that in the next couple of years.
Mr Denny said Wealth Wizards had been using the speech-to-text function of Google to listen to what happens when advisers talk to their clients to learn what words and phrases a talking robo-adviser would need.

He said the company is developing a computer programme that could listen to conversations between an adviser and a client and understand which product they were talking about and what issues they would have to discuss.

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@Snips Brings Privacy-focused Voice Assistant to Cars

@Snips Brings Privacy-focused Voice Assistant to Cars | Language Tech Market News | Scoop.it

French startup Snips is announcing two things for its voice assistant SDK. First, a Snips-powered voice assistant in a car. Second, you can now build voice assistants in German.
Snips lets you build a voice assistant that runs locally. While many hackers have been playing around with the SDK, Snips eventually wants to convince manufacturers that they should embed a Snips-powered assistant instead of Amazon Alexa or Google Assistant.

LT-Innovate's insight:

Your data does not go to the cloud with Snips.

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Over 1 Billion Enterprise Virtual Digital Assistant Users by 2025

Over 1 Billion Enterprise Virtual Digital Assistant Users by 2025 | Language Tech Market News | Scoop.it

Enterprise VDAs are controlled by an enterprise and deployed for interaction with a specific set of systems, using channels the organization typically controls, such as phone/interactive voice response (IVR), websites, mobile applications, or kiosks; and channels they do not control, such as messaging applications

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@ForceManager raises $12M for International Expansion of Its Sales-support Bot

@ForceManager raises $12M for International Expansion of Its Sales-support Bot | Language Tech Market News | Scoop.it

ForceManager, (ES), the first AI conversational sales assistant app for field sales teams, announced today a Series B investment worth $12 million led by AXA Strategic Ventures. Additional support will be provided from existing investors Nauta Capital, Sabadell, SIE and Histemi. The fresh capital will be used by the Barcelona-based company to drive international expansion and continued investment in field sales facing AI technology.

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@Trainline Launches New Voice App for Google Assistant

@Trainline Launches New Voice App for Google Assistant | Language Tech Market News | Scoop.it

Independent train ticket retailer Trainline has launched its latest voice app, which has been built for the Google Assistant.
Trainline’s voice app is expected to allow rail travellers to ‘talk to Trainline’ by asking everyday travel questions regarding their journey and receive real-time updates on details such as timetables and delays. The voice app includes various smart built-in features and combines Trainline’s travel technology experience with Google’s conversational platform to make accessing information on the move easier for commuters.

LT-Innovate's insight:

Example of how a given industry can enrich a generic-technology virtual assistant.

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Empathic - EC R&D Project for Expressive, Advanced Virtual Coach to Aid the Elderly

Empathic - EC R&D Project for Expressive, Advanced Virtual Coach to Aid the Elderly | Language Tech Market News | Scoop.it

The EMPATHIC Research & Innovation project will research, innovate, explore and validate new paradigms and platforms, laying the foundation for future generations of Personalised Virtual Coaches to assist elderly people living independently at and around their home. Innovative multimodal face analytics, adaptive spoken dialogue systems and natural language interfaces are part of what the project will research and innovate, in order to help dependent aging persons.

LT-Innovate's insight:

A topic that has been on the EU agenda for years now - a tech-driven carer to aid Europe's aging population. Maybe the AI boom will help speed up the exploration of different options and  test them more quickly.

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LG Unveils AI-based Smart Speaker

LG Unveils AI-based Smart Speaker | Language Tech Market News | Scoop.it
LG Electronics has introduced a smart speaker, dubbed 'the ThinQ Hub'. The smart speaker is based on the Clova AI virtual assistant or CLOud Virtual Assistant, developed by Naver, Yonhap press agency reports. Home appliances, including TVs, refrigerators and washers, can be activated through ThinQ Hub, the company said. Clova combines speech recognition and natural language understanding to respond to users' questions and to call up information, such as the weather and news.
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Intelligent Voice leads EU Conversational Health Project

Intelligent Voice leads EU Conversational Health Project | Language Tech Market News | Scoop.it
The award given to Intelligent Voice totals 4 million euros and the company will set out to develop an interactive ‘health bot’. This will be undertaken in partnership with several other companies and academia across seven European nations. Partners include Tunstall Healthcare and The University of Bilbao.
The project has been named EMPATHIC. The aim is to develop a conversational ‘Personalized Virtual Coach’, which will help elderly people to live independently within their home. The project is seen as important as the population of elderly people living within the European Union grows.
LT-Innovate's insight:

Good luck. Healthbot projects and apps are fighting for eyeball space.

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1987, Sculley's "Knowledge Navigator" Video from Apple

1987, Sculley's "Knowledge Navigator" Video from Apple | Language Tech Market News | Scoop.it

In 1987, Apple came out with a concept video that showed a hypothetical computer of the future.
The video touched upon numerous upcoming technological advances, including voice technology, tablets, and videoconferencing, to name a few.
But the public wasn't having it. "People said, 'Well, this is absurd,'" former Apple CEO John Sculley told Business Insider.

LT-Innovate's insight:

Alan Kay (Xerox etc) told Sculley to check out ideas at the MIT Media Lab. Steve Jobs had left. A virtual assistant was conceived, if not born.

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