I was excited to hear the announcement about Microsoft’s new SDK that apparently comes with hardware for far field / handsfree voice interaction. Perhaps Microsoft is seeing the demand for ambient devices and realizes that, even as an underdog, there’s still a lot of room for a customizable voice service.
I’ve pounded my shoe on the podium a number of times on this with different players. There is a huge demand for an “Alexa that’s not Alexa” — a brand-able white label version of an AI assistant that has the ease of an Alexa integration but can be customized, either with a different wake word, voice, or custom services.
Yes, it’s possible to build such a tool with Houndify, Lex, Nuance, Google / DialogFlow but this requires a lot of handholding and work during implementation. A simple SDK that works the same but has some tuneable components could be a windfall.
Let’s hope this new Speech Devices SDK can offer this. Cortona is limited to Windows devices and, like Alexa and Google Assistant, can’t seem to be customized.