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Ivee Voice Powered Alarm Clock, Voice Technology is Definetly Getting Better

Unless you’ve been living under a rock, I think you’d agree with me that even in today’s technology-driven world that a lot of the voice technology and recognition just flat out sucks. Many voice activated systems are getting better, but are still quite frustrating. For example, until Google last updated their voice quality in Ice Cream Sandwich, trying to search something with your voice instead of typing was very tedious. Now, you may be asking, “what brought this whole subject up?” Well, I’ve simply been playing with a lot of voice technology as of late and have had some interesting experiences with them in the past few days. In anticipation of the Knowledge base getting integrated with the Voice Search functions, I decided to play around with the current voice search functions that were implemented already. After that, I took it upon myself to head on over to Google Play and check out some other voice driven applications like Vlingo and another called iris. That said, with these experiences I have come to the conclusion that people are working very hard to get voice technology at a great level.

All that said, I’ve noticed that a lot of things have improved vastly since I was last using it. My first phone had terrible voice recognition and I had that around a year ago. It’s cool to see how much it’s actually improved and at the same time, it’s quite interesting. As of late, Google seems to have been really interested in the voice technology with their most recent addition to Jelly Bean, Google Now. In case you didn’t know, Google Now is essentially a completely revamped and better Siri.

Anyway, my old phone couldn’t translate voice into textat all. It was a smartphone made by LG (if that says anything) and actually was a pretty good one. That is, aside from the voice quality. On numerous occasions I tried to use speech-to-text to ultimately make my texting a bit faster. The result of that? It turned my English words and translated it into complete nonsense and blubber. It wasn’t in another language either, it was just a rather interesting experience. That said, I really discounted what voice technology had to offer and never played around with it again until I picked up my Motorola Atrix 2. I didn’t even use that extensively until recently.

Improvements:

Since I got my tablet (Transformer Pad TF300T) I have been playing with the Voice Search function on it a lot. Upon using it, I did three tests. One consisted of talking to it up close, the other a bit further and the other way across the room. On each test it performed fantastically well compared to my past experiences. Wow! Voice Technology came a long way since I had last used it. That said, I was encouraged to try some other voice applications on my tablet like Vlingo and iris off of Google Play. I waited a bit to do that though as I wanted to try it out on my phone because as I said, I hadn’t truly used my phone for speech-to-text purposes or voice recognition at all.

To make it short and sweet, I experienced close to the same results as my new tablet. It’s no surprise that my tablet would perform better than my phone since its a newer device with 10x better hardware. Still, I was expecting a huge difference, but there wasn’t a whole lot. The only thing that I noticed a difference with is that my phone couldn’t hear me correctly across the room while my tablet could.

Vlingo works similarly to the Google Search function in which I found that also works very well. The only thing is, it isn’t available for my tablet and only my phone. Using it, I enjoyed some of the features it had that the Google Search function didn’t (at least, until I get Jelly Bean). Vlingo makes sending and replying to text messages very easy. It also understands you very clearly and also inputs grammar into your message very accurately. Essentially Vlingo is another Siri for Android devices. Considering it wasn’t made by a huge corporation with lots of money, I was surprised at how well the quality was.

Ivee Alarm Clock:

Okay, Apps and Voice Recognition inside tablets and smartphones aside, I had decided to broaden my look into voice technologies and actually came across a really cool Alarm Clock. Yeah, it’s no Android or iOS powered alarm clock, but it is simply an alarm clock that functions with voice. It only has a few commands but responds to you extraordinarily well (it’s quite expensive too!). The Ivee Alarm Clock hears you most of the time, when you’re close to it that is. The point of it isn’t the voice range though, its more of the fact that it hears your voice clearly and follows the instructions that you gave it upon answering a few of Ivee’s questions.

With a simple “Hello Ivee,” the alarm clock responds to you with a couple of unique random lines. With the voice technology simple commands like “Set time to 0;00” will allow you to edit the clock without having to touch a single button. Amazing isn’t it? I’m sure a lot of you have seen some similar things like this, but I figured I would personally share my experiences with voice technology.

I’ve never had any good experiences with voice technology until now (aside from VoIP). The Ivee clock is probably one of the more really cool things that I have seen. I sort of thought that the whole voice activated technology wasn’t hugely important in today’s world due to how lacking my experiences with numerous devices and apps have been. As I said, recently I have been finding more and more that it has improved since I last used it, which was really about a year ago when I had my older phone. Either I was under a rock at the time (which, I probably was) or voice technology was just downright crappy.

Conclusion:

This was really meant to be a sort of discussion topic if anyone finds interest in it. With examples of the Ivee Alarm Clock I’ve come to realize that the Voice Technology is definitely getting better. Now, the real question is, when will it be good enough to rely on for our text messages, making correct phone calls, setting reminders and etc? From my experience(s), I can tell we’re headed there but I definitely do not think were quite there just yet. Relying on voice technology can be difficult due to its lack of accuracy in some areas.

Now, how do I know it’s getting there? Have you seen our review on the Obi202 that will allow you to make free phone calls and completely cut out your phone bill? It’s essentially a VoIP adapter/router that makes crisp and clear calls unlike some other devices that are out there. Standard Skype calls and sometimes even Google Voice is tedious, but the Obi202 is a technology that at its core was built to have crisp and clear calls. That’s an example of voice technology improving very heavily.

Another example would be the Google Now and the rise of numerous different applications on both Google Play and iOS that are voice driven. Some apps are a downright piece of crap while others, like Vlingo, are stunningly accurate and do as you want them too. Honestly, if we can get some people that would dedicate a company to developing voice technology, could you just imagine the results for a minute? How well would our phones perform with that sort of technology? Heck, we could even have voice driven house locks eventually (as in, it only unlocks your door if it hears the sound of your voice). Sure, that’s a crazy idea, but it’s very well possible.

So, here’s the question. What do you think about Voice Technology? Do you currently see it as reliable, or would you agree with me when I say it isn’t accurate? If someone were to dedicate a company to developing voice technology, if you could, would you back them on the idea and be interested in using that type of technology in your daily life? I think it sounds cool, and it would be pretty amazing if we got to that point. But for right now, it’s just a handy tool to use here and there.

Let me know your thoughts in the comments below!

Vlingo Labs: Better Voice Actions for Android

Most of the smartphone companies are venturing into voice recognition technology. It all started with Apple’s Siri on iPhone 4S, though people have always longed for ways they can make their device do tasks without them touching any buttons. In today’s time, voice command is a hot topic when it comes to mobile devices and tablets.

Companies like Blackberry and Microsoft are creating their own voice recognition softwares for their operating systems so that they can compete with Apple’s iOS, but in the meantime several apps have filled the Android landscape to bring such functionality to the open source operating system. Out of all such apps, Vlingo has proved to be the best. Vlingo has been considered the finest voice command software in Android, and may be that is why manufacturers like Samsung have partnered with Vlingo to create their own customized virtual assistant apps. In the recently launched Samsung Galaxy S III, the South Korean mobile giant has come up with something called S-Voice, a competitor for Apple’s Siri. S-Voice is officially available only on Samsung’s flagship phone for 2012, and is essentially based on Vlingo.

The current Vlingo app is very functional, and the only way forward is improvement. Folks at Vlingo have been very busy with experimenting ways to make Vlingo more functional & innovative, and Vlingo Labs (Beta) users can check out the hottest new features that can perhaps end up in the official final Vlingo Virtual Assistant app. Currently, the Vlingo Labs is restricted to Ice Cream Sandwich device users and it is strictly a “test kitchen” where shiny new ideas and test features are brought to life and may not end up in the final app itself. Apart from needing Android 4.0 to run, it also requires the user to be in the United States.

When you launch Vlingo Labs (beta) app, it becomes evident that several features that are present in other apps in the same niche, including Vlingo itself isn’t present in the beta app. Now, that’s not surprising at all since Vlingo Labs (beta) is essentially a way to fetch feedback from the general users, and it is definitely worth the download. The app in its current state allows the user to perform certain actions such as sending messages, scheduling appointments, navigation, placing calls, searching the web and looking up the weather forecast details.

Vlingo Labs has aimed to make a virtual voice assistant which never requires the user to even touch the device in order to order a task.

Creating a virtual assistant without requiring the user to tap any buttons is an ambitious goal as even Apple’s Siri requires the user to tap the mic button on the screen in order to have Siri hearing to you. So far, only Samsung has implemented this type of functionality on Galaxy SIII’s S-Voice, which is again powered by Vlingo. Samsung’s S-Voice requires the user to say “Hey, Galaxy” in order to have it hearing you. Like S-Voice, Vlingo Labs requires you to simply say “Hey, Vlingo” and the virtual voice assistant will be happy to take orders from you, and all this is done with no fingers involved.

In Vlingo Labs, the complete interface has undergone a major overhaul. The interface now is more intuitive and conversational. Vlingo has added more character to the app when compared with stable Vlingo app. Since Vlingo Labs is still in beta stage, it cannot handle certain question, and that’s pretty reasonable. When you ask stuff which it cannot handle or process, it actively asks you to provide feedback so that developers can work on the same in order to deliver a better final product.

Vlingo Labs in its current state is very usable, even though it can’t handle certain stuff which other apps of its kind can do, however, there are certain things which Vlingo Labs can do and its competitors cannot. One such feature is addition and modifications of calendar appointments. Siri is able to handle calendar tasks very well, but developers haven’t created something that will match Siri’s fluid reaction to commands. Some apps have attempted to integrate calendar functions, however they’re very buggy and not very usable. I had always thought Android won’t get that kind of functionality, but after taking a look at Vlingo Labs, I have been forced to rethink. Vlingo Labs makes it really easy to create a calendar appointment and even perform tasks like adding participants to the event whom you want to be notified by email. What’s more? It will even alert you any conflict in the schedule that should occur.
Vlingo Labs implements the conversational nature which makes things really work. In case of appointments, the app will walk you through various steps in order to successfully create an appointment. It will also allow to make changes before saving.

I’m very satisfied with Vlingo Labs, even though it is currently in beta. It’s really good and the fluid interface cannot be matched by any app out there in the Play Store, and the only app I found that’s close to what Vlingo Labs has to offer is S-Voice, which is proprietary for Samsung Galaxy S III. It’s excellent at recognizing most of the commands and will be able to execute most of the tasks that you would expect from virtual voice assistant. Vlingo Labs will also be an excellent companion for Vlingo (the stable release) and other various other voice command apps out there. Vlingo Labs has definitely managed to impress me, and its goal towards hands free voice assistance is admirable. It only remains to see which features will exactly make it to the final release. What are your thoughts on Vlingo Labs? Let us know using the comment form below.

Vlingo Labs (Beta) can be downloaded from here and requires the device to run Android 4.0 Ice Cream Sandwich.

You can also try Vlingo Virtual Assistant if you haven’t tried yet. It can be downloaded from here requires the device to run 2.0.1 and up.

CES 2012: Vlingo CEO Dave Grannan Talks About Vlingo For The Smart TV

Since the start of the Android company, Massachusetts based Vlingo has been making millions of Android device owners happy with a virtual assistant. Vlingo actually hit the market two years before Siri.

Now, Vlingo wants to take their personal virtual assistant technology from Android phones to connected TV’s. This is like the Xbox Kinnect tv controller on over drive.

Vlingo’s new Virtual Assistant For Smarter TV’s, allows the user to use their natural voice and simple commands to discover, and search for video content from multiple sources. As Dave Grannan, Vlingo’s CEO tells us in the video with the new virtual assistant can search a users Netflix account, home dvr, cable channels, over the air channels and other video content. Then it can play the content, pause, rewind, fast forward and so much more.

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Nuance: When You Can’t Sue It, Buy It

Nuance, probably the biggest name in voice to text, speech recognition technology on Android smartphones, had a hate hate relationship with competitor Vlingo for quite some time.  Over the years Nuance has sued Vlingo several times over patent infringement. In fact at one time Nuance had four lawsuits against Vlingo while at the same time Vlingo had one against Nuance.

Nuance has now announced that they’ve acquired Vlingo.

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