From Amazon Echo to DingDong Smart Speaker, Voice Control Is on Display at CES 2016

Voice control will be center stage at CES 2016 controlling home automation, loudspeakers, robots, light bulbs and more as the technology replaces other user interfaces versus supplementing them.

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Voice control will certainly be something to listen for at the CES 2016. Indeed one year ago in a conversation with CE Pro, Saleel Awsare of chipmaker Conexant Systems predicted that the future role of voice control would be restricted as a supplemental user interface for home automation. But what a difference one year makes.

“In one year, it is a world of difference,” he says. “The Amazon Echo was the highest selling product on Amazon on Cyber Monday. At CES, you will see six to seven vendors with smart speakers … big brands … companies that consumers are used to buying from already. So one year ago I said that voice control would never replace other user interfaces. Today, I now believe it will. We already see smart speakers being sold without remotes. Voice control is becoming easier and easier. If it works, people will use it.”

Awsare’s new opinion is not only based no greater user acceptance, but also on the rapid advance of the technology while keeping costs in check. He says new technology can not only understand a wider range of commands than ever before, but it can even tell the difference between the individuals who are issuing the commands.

CE Pro was a bit premature when Julie Jacobson predicted that 2012 might be the year of voice control, but the technology has finally caught up to the expectations.

“We are starting to see voice as the only UI for some products. Voice control had issues but it is a lot better now,” he adds.

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Among those “big brands” at CES will be Harman. The company will be showcasing three different JBL speakers that accept a limited set of voice commands. Another is JD.com, often dubbed as the “Amazon of China” selling $50 billion in merchandise annually. The company’s DingDong Speaker is for sale on the website with voice as the interface. Conexant already supplies the silicon for Honeywell’s Lyric voice control.

Sengled will also be at CES with its voice control LED light bulbs. Awsare says the show will also have TVs, set-top boxes and the “XiaoU” U03S Family Intelligent Service Robot from CANBOT will be on display using voice control.

Conexant Systems’ AudioSmart technology will be debuting at the show (and ship in Q1). The company’s CX20924 is a high-performance 4 microphone far-field voice input digital signal processor (DSP) featuring its new Smart Source Locator (SSL) that brings 360-degree voice location capabilities and speech recognition hit rates to smart voice applications – even in far-field conditions of up to five meters away from the target device. The low-power technology can also filter out background noise and automatically turn to face the user that is speaking – no matter where the voice is coming from in the room.

In terms of costs, the chips can be added for as little as $6.21 each for 100,000 quantities.

About the Author

Jason Knott
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Jason Knott:

Jason Knott is Chief Content Officer for Emerald's Connected Brands. Jason has covered low-voltage electronics as an editor since 1990, serving as editor and publisher of Security Sales & Integration. He joined CE Pro in 2000 and serves as Editor-in-Chief of that brand. He served as chairman of the Security Industry Association’s Education Committee from 2000-2004 and sat on the board of that association from 1998-2002. He is also a former board member of the Alarm Industry Research and Educational Foundation. He has been a member of the CEDIA Business Working Group since 2010. Jason graduated from the University of Southern California.

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