Dialogic Blog

DialogicONE – Working with Smart Speakers

by Peter Kuciak

Nov 2, 2018 11:30:00 AM

smartspeaker-office (002)We now live in a time where most of us have heard of smart speakers and quite a few of us have one (or two or more). According to our friends at Gartner, Ovum, and Voicebot.ai who specialize in smart speaker research, the world has adopted these tiny devices into their homes at an incredible rate. Living rooms and kitchens are the most popular locations to place them, and Amazon has over 70% of the market. Looking at recent reports, 1 in 5 U.S. adults have a smart speaker, for a total of over 48M in the U.S. alone.

Some of us, myself included, have quite of few of these devices as they allow us to automate our homes and cottages, as well as provide timely information and hands-free communication with friends and family. Amazon Echo Show has been great for video calls with my kids away in University. Smart speakers also assist with simple tasks like boiling the perfect egg, or the highly complex task of figuring out who was the second-to-last president of [fill in the country] to win that round of a trivia game.

Some of the initial “skills,” “intents,” and “capabilities” of smart speakers have been pretty simple. However, as the features and applications that run on smart speakers continue to grow, the interactions are getting more complex.

Let’s have a peak at the challenges a service provider might run into in order not only to cover the Amazon and Google camps of smart speakers, but also to have that conversational user interface behave the same on all smart phones. What if a service provider wanted to create an excellent (read - excellent user experience) solution that would allow you to ask any relevant question from your CSP, such as Verizon, TELUS, Vodafone, BT, or Softbank? What if your question was not static, which you could easily google or find in an FAQ, but contained ever changing details? What if the question was specifically connected to YOU, for example: “How much data has my family used this month?” Or what if it was even more complex: “Can you tell me when I can upgrade to the new iPhone XS?” Or try an even harder request: “Setup a voice conference tomorrow at noon with my kids.” I would fully expect this to dial my family’s respective 5 phones and put us into an HD conference call as a service available from my CSP.

Ah yes and I also want this smart speaker/smart phone solution to:

  • work more or less the same on Google and Amazon smart speaker devices
  • be context-aware of our conversation so I do not have to make requests in fully qualified statements, but rather to ask in a natural manner
  • behave the same on my mobile phone as well so I can get the same user experience while on the road
  • last but not least, I DO NOT want this to be just a first step that will end up sending me to call center “Mike” in a far-away location … if this solution is not able to take concrete actions, and I get transferred to a human (unless I ask specifically) because the system is unable to help me, then it is a total failure!

Oh and one last thing: as a developer of implementing such a beautiful solution for smart speakers and mobile phones, I want to do the work once – not twice, not three times - once!

As I mentioned in my previous blog, here at Dialogic we have been helping customers develop solutions that include smart speakers and conversational user interfaces. We got quite tired of doing the same things two and three times – plus maintaining three different sets of code to make it all happen. So instead, we developed a few new services within DialogicONE to make it all better :-)

There are a couple of different ways to do this. To begin, CSPs can certainly start by using DialogicONE as the data model repository of the conversational user interface for smart speakers (Google and Amazon) and for mobile apps. Or, they can import one of the smart speaker solutions into DialogicONE and manage it in DialogicONE. From that point forward they’ll be able to push it out to both sides of the smart speaker world (Amazon and Google) and to mobile apps as well.

Ah much better now. Rest assured that if we have to do things twice, just because there is fragmentation out there, we’ll put our smart hats on and develop a solution so that CSPs do not have to. DialogicONE servers are also utilized to perform cache functionality that reduces the latency of going to AI engines to figure out what the user is asking – but that is a much deeper subject that I can discuss another time.

In my next blog post, I’ll talk about one of the coolest recent technologies - Artificial Intelligence! I’ll do a quick primer to show you the state of the industry, and then describe HOW CSPs can leverage AI to create incredible applications and services with DialogicONE.

Topics: Internet of Things, Communications Application Development