Voice is a natural way to interact and communicate to people and things. Communicating with technological devices by voice is becoming more powerful and widely used. We use our voice on our smartphone, smart home device and in the vehicle. On July 25, CloudCar’s Vice President of Products Letha McLaren joined a panel of experts giving insights on the future of voice technology in vehicles at the inaugural VOICE Summit in Newark, New Jersey.
VOICE Summit, an Amazon-sponsored event, was the largest voice technology conference bringing together developers, product managers, sales & marketing in the industry on the campus of New Jersey Institute of Technology. The attendance was expected to be 1,500, but it had exceeded over 2,700!
Voice technology in cars is nothing new (do you remember the 1982 TV series Knight Rider?), but it’s starting to change the way we operate and communicate in the vehicle. Today, if you want to play music or navigate to a new destination in your car, you pick up your cell phone, press a button or the touchscreen of your infotainment head unit. As drivers, we want to avoid distracted driving and keep our eyes on the road and hands on the wheel. CloudCar provides solutions for car manufacturers to help their customers with this approach.
“We are the technology layer that enables these services in the vehicle,” said Letha. “With our cloud-based architecture, in-vehicle SDK (software development kit) and machine learning capabilities, CloudCar creates an intuitive experience for infotainment solutions in the vehicle. The flexibility of our platform provides an easy interface for automotive OEMs to deliver voice-enabled services for their drivers – delivering not only a safe, but convenient experiences.”
Letha McLaren gives use-cases on personalizing the driver’s experience during the “Talking Transportation” panel
Letha also gave insights of various use-cases for personalizing the in-vehicle driving experience. One example was a personalized productivity experience. Imagine using your voice to tell your vehicle to notify meeting attendees of a meeting for which you are expecting to arrive late. Based on the current location of your car, the next event on your calendar and the ETA of your arrival to the meeting location, this use-case is possible. You no longer have to fumble with your phone to accomplish this. Simply tell your car to take this action for a better (and safer) experience on the road.
Other use-cases mentioned during the panel were on predictive navigation and media personalization. Letha pointed out that using CloudCar’s platform offers a wide range of regionally relevant services across multiple categories and the importance of the content (versus a more app-centric approach). CloudCar’s application identifies the relevant intent, takes in other contextual information from the vehicle to map to the relevant content. You don’t have to tell your vehicle to play a song on a specific app. This solution offers automakers the ability to bring cloud-based services into the vehicle head-unit in a very flexible way.
The three-day conference covered a wide range of voice technologies in various industries and use-cases around healthcare, education, retail, chatbots, digital assistants and more.
Some of our takeaways we gathered were from speakers like Dave Isbitski, Chief Evangelist for Alexa and Echo at Amazon. He delivered an opening keynote on “Learning to Talk Again in a Voice-First World” which provided insights on how AI and NLU technology has moved towards “voice-first’ and touch is no longer the primary user interface. Dave sees voice technology providing companies an opportunity to improve our experience as a customer by predicting our needs and making our lives easier.
Cathy Pearl, Head of Conversation Design Outreach at Google, gave an overview on how virtual assistants help get things done, knows about you and interacts with you (she even used JARVIS, Just A Rather Very Intelligent System created by Tony Stark, from the Marvel movie Iron Man as an example). Her viewpoint on voice is it empowers us to move freely between different devices – smart speakers, mobile phones, cars and offices.
Matt Quinn, a senior executive at Audible, provided an interesting perspective on enabling voice technologies through the lens of audio books. It was fascinating to hear about Audible’s history and the lessons learned when transitioning audio book content services into the Amazon Alexa interface and framework.
It’s amazing on how voice technology has a huge impact on our lives and how it’s becoming the user interface of the future. We look forward to how voice technology will develop in the next year and can’t wait to hear about it at VOICE Summit in 2019.
Tell us. How are you using voice technology today?