3.17 / It’s our weekly news roundup​

Image: Clique
Ingrid Fadelli

This week’s must-read tidbits for Voice Tech professionals

Shades and sunscreen in the Rockies, megaton blizzards on the east coast but nothing can beat the relentless tide of Voice Tech news coming our way.

Here’s a quick recap of our own news stories from the last seven days plus some juicy reports from right across the webosphere.

Intel vies for pole position in the auto tech space. This is getting serious

Clique: News has broken that chip manufacturer Intel is in the process of buying Mobileye, a company that develops autonomous vehicle technology and with which Intel had already been collaborating, for $15.3 billion in cash.

This is thought to be the biggest deal made in the field so far, and could further increase the value of startups that develop technology for self-driving vehicles.

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WebRTC summit, New York City; it’s looking good

Clique: The 2017 New York City edition of the WebRTC summit is approaching. Attendees will be offered a chance to learn how to build WebRTC applications from scratch and discuss business-oriented WebRTC developments with colleagues.

The summit will take place in New York City from the 6th to the 8th of June, and the two full days of technical sessions will be led by a “rock star conference faculty and the leading WebRTC industry players.”

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#myAndroid, your way, you got it

Clique: In a move that is deliciously simple, Google launched a new micro-site, #myAndroid, aimed at customizing Android users’ devices to the way they live their lives.

Google is positioning this as a “taste test”, promising that, “There are tons of way to make Android your own, but here’s a great place to start. Take a minute to answer these quick, fun questions and we’ll find the right home screen for you”.

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Still looking to join the Alexa Voice Tech hot-house this summer?

Clique: The clock is ticking on applications for the Alexa hot-house opportunity in the Seattle summer 2017 Accelerator Program. The deadline for voice-oriented startups, April 9th, is now less than a month away, and the program is scheduled to start on July 16, 2017.

The Alexa Accelerator fund is a joint initiative of web-retail giant Amazon and Techstars, a Boulder, CO-based VC and startup-mentoring firm.

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Stop / Start. California DMV finally gives green light for driverless car trials

Clique: In an attempt to keep itself at the forefront of the future of transportation, California has proposed changes to the rules and restrictions regarding the manufacture of driverless cars. It’s a move that is likely to bring cheer to much of Silicon Valley.

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Google says the voice ads on Google Home aren’t really ads

Business insider: Some Google Home users had noticed that the voice assistant was sometimes delivering ads for Disney’s re-make of “Beauty and the Beast”.

After they reported this online, Google removed the “Beauty and the Beast” mention from Google Home, and told Business Insider that the content was not intended to be an ad, as Disney did not pay Google to mention the movie.

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Incoming tech: the voice-controlled car-butler!

Car Magazine: Tech giants are helping auto manufacturers integrate voice assistants in cars so that their use is not frustratingly limited to basic requests. For instance, Microsoft is collaborating with Nissan and Amazon with VW. The aim is to achieve a broader range of functions, such as allowing users to switch on lights at home or add items to their shopping list.

Different automakers have different plans for what they would like their voice assistant to be able to do, but many are looking to introduce more features shortly.

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Smartphone voice and AI tech will outsmart many humans within 10 years

V3: A new report by the University of Massachusetts Amherst and Project Literacy forecasts that AI and Voice recognition technology will soon be able to ‘read and write’ better than 1 in 20 UK adults. The report says that while human literacy rates have stalled since 2000, AI and voice recognition are rapidly evolving.

It forecasts that smartphones powered by this new technology will “surpass the literacy level of over 1 in 20 British adults within the next 10 years”.

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Facebook adds speech recognition to Oculus Rift, Gear VR

Venture Beat: Facebook is launching a voice search feature for its Oculus Rift Virtual Reality (VR) headset and Samsung’s Gear VR headset. The feature allows users to search from Oculus Home using voice and to navigate through games, apps, and experiences.

Users can access it through the Home portion of the Oculus app, by simply saying the phrase “Hey, Oculus”, which should trigger an immediate response. The new feature is currently available in beta for users with English as their primary language.

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ST Collaborates with iFLYTEK for Chinese Voice Recognition Cloud Services

CTimes: STMicroelectronics and iFLYTEK, one of the leading voice-recognition cloud service providers in China, recently introduced the first IoT platform that enables voice-recognition cloud services in the local language.

The platform offers software designers a toolkit for the development of voice-enabled home, car and IoT-related robotic technologies that respond to commands spoken in Chinese.

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