Intelligent Personal Assistants are a new emerging technology that seems to be the battleground for various vendors.
Since the computers came into existence the main mode of interaction has been the keyboard, punched cards, mouse, Graphical User interface, and touch. Keyboard itself has seen many variations from mechanical to non-mechanical. It is the non-mechanical version, also the touch that is being currently used on mobile devices.
Hence all interactions with a device(laptops, desktop, kiosks, mobile devices) has been with us physically touching the device.
Voice is emerging as an alternate User Interface (UI) to interact with our devices, and an attempt to liberate us from the need to physically interact with the device.
In order for the voice commands to be interpreted, there needed to be an interface that would capture the voice commands and translate them to instructions for the device to execute and when required, instead of displaying the results visually, communicate them to you via audio.
Following vendors are considered the leaders of the pack, with Amazon clearly taking the lead:
|Vendor||Intelligent Personal Assistant||Initial Release||User Interfaces|
|Apple||Siri||4th October, 2011||Apple mobile devices, released for MAC OS in 2014|
|Google Now||9th July, 2012||Full functionality: Android devices running Jelly Bean and above, Chrome OS
Limited functionality: Microsoft Windows, OS X, Linux via Google Chrome and Google App
|Microsoft||Cortana||2nd April, 2014||Any device using Windows 10. Only available in US on Android and IOS|
|Amazon||Alexa||6th November, 2014||In works since 2010, the product was released as Amazon Echo. Two additional speaker products were introduced and also an integration with new Fire Tablet.|
|Viv||Viv||9th May, 2016||Built by original creators of Siri, which was acquired by Apple on 28th April, 2010. It was supposed to be an open platform to accommodate external plug-ins. In October 2016, Samsung Electronics acquired it, let’s see what the future holds.|
|Google Assistant (upgrade to Google Now)||May, 2016||Google Home and Android devices running Nougat|
There were also attempt by Blackberry, which introduced Blackberry Control with its Blackberry 10 OS release in January 2013. It did not get much traction due to the dwindling Blackberry user base.
Amazon was the first to release a single function device to interact with its Intelligent Personal Assistant, Alexa, and it was called Echo. It is a smart speaker with integrated microphones to allow two way communications.
Google announced Google Home in response to Amazon Echo, and Apple is apparently also working on Siri Speaker.
Smart Speakers on market today
|Vendor||Release Date||Intelligent Personal Assistant||Product||Price|
|Fabriq||30th October, 2016||Alexa||Fabriq||US$49.99|
|Nucleus||3rd August, 2016||Alexa||Nucleus Anywhere Intercom with Alexa Voice Service||US$214.55|
- Google Now: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Google_Now
- Cortana: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Siri
- Viv: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Viv_(software)
- Amazon Echo: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Amazon_Echo
- Blackberry Voice Control: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/BlackBerry_10#Voice_control
- Around The Coin: http://www.aroundthecoin.com/