Different Smart Home Assistant Form Factors

The Virtual Assistants you’re hearing about on the news and in tech articles are a direct result of artificial intelligence. The earliest examples of these pseudo personalities didn’t even have a cozy electronic processor to inhabit. These were the chatbots that represented the first generations of consumer-friendly smart interfaces. Regarded as simple computer programs, a chatbot can still create a dialogue with you and make you wonder whether there might be a real person at the other end of the conversation.

AI Bots and Smart Home Speakers

AI bots win online poker tournaments. They gain conversational aptitude and talk to you on Skype and Facebook Messenger. In fact, and this is the point we were herding you towards, one of the virtual assistants we’ve been recruiting as a bleeding-edge AI example during this discourse, well, she has a presence inside one of these messenger Apps. More than a chatbot, though, Google Assistant exists inside Google Allo as a prime example of how this technology operates. Google’s inbuilt chat interface interacts with you in amazing ways. Ask her where she lives, if you dare. She’ll likely tell you she’s “Stuck inside a device. Help!” Don’t worry, for she quickly follows up that shout for aid with a “Just Kidding.” text. It’s hard not to like this simulated persona, especially when her smart character includes a keen sense of simulated humor.

Stylish Smart Assistants!

The first Bots and their chatbot cousins live on the internet, in messenger Apps, and in computer programs. But this isn’t a proper form factor, not one that you can touch and place on a table for the kids to play with after they’ve done their homework. A proper smart home assistant has stylish unibody housing. There’s a pulsing light and a Bluetooth-connected speaker inside the tidy little package. If you purchase an Amazon Echo, it comes with an Alexa AI. Likewise, Google’s smart assistant is hosted by a Google Home, which is also a wireless speaker with a strong talented for product connectivity and audio streaming. Still, there are other form factors on the horizon, products that are gaining the ability to listen and respond to your requests. There’s nothing quite like a little feedback just after you’ve made your request, after all, so let’s see what other gadgets are unmuting their device profiles.

What’s in a Smart home assitant reference module?

Intel is getting in on the action, so the theoretical stuff is sure to be short-lived as real-world products exit the production line. Intel’s Form Factor Reference Designs (FFRD) bridge any potential manufacturing gaps by providing a modular design architecture that’s loaded with standardized components. In other words, a full seventy-percent of the hardware is already in-situ thanks to Intel’s Modular Board Design (MBD) solutions. Embedded computing is the natural upshot of this design approach, with the product manufacturing method serving as the building blocks for many Smart Home products, including the hundreds of networked IoT (Internet of Things) devices that could just be the next-big-thing. Whatever that “thing” is, your personalized AI will know how to interact with it as far-field voice modules bond with the reference designs to create new and exciting (And fun!) devices.

  • A far-field voice interaction module.
  • A wireless speaker.
  • Wifi and Bluetooth connectivity systems
  • Software development platform for adding services
  • A reference processor architecture for hosting an AI
  • Expandible voice, video, audio, and sensory capabilities

Smart building blocks assemble rapidly. Intel’s renowned product enablement methodology is certainly one path to creating an accelerated product development cycle. The finished devices are quality-assured and bound to exude high-performance features. Then it’s up to the individual manufacturer to put the personalized touches on their voice-activated smart speakers. Meanwhile, the bigger electronic manufacturers are using licensed AI presences to stretch their product lines and give them a voice. The LG SmartThinQ Hub has adopted this mindset by boosting its IQ with some of Alexa’s friendly demeanor, plus they’ve added her gifts for carrying out tasks. In addition to the attractive hub and its suspiciously Amazon Echo-like form factor, LG has also added Amazon’s intelligent assistant to its high-end Instaview Refrigerator line, so shopping lists and fresh food considerations are also entering the jurisdiction of your AI-enhanced appliances.

Smart Assistant AI is built into everything!

Take a rest for a moment as you realize just how deeply ingrained the artificial intelligence market has become. Yes, the most popular form factor is one that can fit in the palm of your hand. The brains and voice-activated processors then occupy a small but dense portion of an attractive metal and plastic container. A speaker grille shows where a wireless speaker fits into the popular products. At heart, they’re smart speakers, very smart speakers. But that’s only the beginning. AI circuitry is being incorporated within third-party devices. Although many of these products stick with the tried-and-trusted speaker profile, some of them are veering sharply away from this architecture so that other appliances can get in on the voice-triggered fun. LG refrigerators are early adopters of the technology, as are Samsungs’ own Family Hub refrigerators. Next, Onelink Smoke and CO Alarm systems have cleverly chosen to embed an AI within their alarm casings (Alexa, yet again) so that their Smart Home credentials gain a modicum of hands-free proficiency. In short, it’s an interactive smoke and carbon monoxide solution, one that promises a bright and safe future for your home. Imagine additional downloadable services (Skills) that enable the AI to truly act as a home sentinel. It’s fascinating, and maybe a little fun, to picture an AI wearing a metaphorical fire fighter’s hat, but that’s the talent your already gifted virtual assistant gains when she’s infused with a specialist skillset.

2020 Round up of Smart Assitant Form Factors Goings-On

Bodiless bots and chatbots live on the internet and inside popular messaging Apps. Even Google’s Allo App follows “botting” etiquette by packing Google Assistant within the confines of a conversational App. From here, solid products have become little islands of hands-free interactivity. Their small frames look like smart speakers, which they are, but this plain identity masks a larger presence. That persona can do pretty much anything. As long as a smart appliance or member of the IoT family is networked into the smart home, you can ask, demand, or command, and the AI will manage the surrounding parts while telling you which task is done.

Beyond the connected smart speaker, the Intel-designed third-party options, and the other smart hubs entering the consumer domain, there are other products experiencing a voice-activated makeover. LG and Samsung refrigerators accommodate the hands-free tech in your kitchen. Your smart alarm systems follow suit by embedding AI talents within a Onelink Smoke and CO alarm system. ADT and Scout Security design engineers have also seen the light by upgrading their wares to incorporate an IQ boosted AI system. Meanwhile, back in the living room, the Samsung POWERbot VR7000 is a robotic vacuum cleaner that uses AI voice commands to control house cleaning. Whirlpool washers and dryers adopt a similar control method, although their functions align with the IoT, not true AI integration. Finally, your four-wheeled family member isn’t about to be left dumb and mute, not when Ford, perhaps the world’s largest automobile manufacturer, is embracing smart system functionality by incorporating Alexa into its expanding hardware ecosystem. Possible vehicle-only applications include but are not limited to remote engine starting, support for security system arming and disarming, and a hands-free navigational feature that sports an enhanced intelligence quotient. The Ford SYNC® 3 AppLink™ even reverses this operational model, so the Smart Home can be controlled from inside the vehicle. Interestingly, Volkswagen engineers are expected to follow swiftly in the trendsetting tracks of Ford.

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ICT professional, author, serial Internet entrepreneur, investor, and of course, a smart home enthusiast!

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