In The Center Ring…Alexa vs Google Assistant

The rise of personal virtual assistants happened in a relatively short period of time and because of a big headstart, Alexa has been winning the race. However, moving forward into the new year there is a lot of competition to be on top of the “talking to inanimate objects” market.

What's New With Virtual Assistants at CES 2018

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So, what’s new with virtual assistants at CES 2018, an event previously known as the Consumer Electronics Show? This year it seems to be a battleground between Alexa and Google Assistant, as noted in this post:

Google has wrapped the Las Vegas Monorail with a prominent “Hey, Google” ad, and it’s putting up a big outdoor CES booth, complete with a twisting blue slide, setting the stage for Google Assistant to grab its own share of headlines and industry partnerships this week. In a post previewing its CES presence, Google promises new integrations, devices and other new developments for Google Assistant.

The search giant’s presence illustrates the emergence of the voice assistant and smart home market as a key battleground in the tech industry. Google traditionally hasn’t had a booth at CES, and the company hasn’t made this kind of mark on the annual event since its co-founder Larry Page delivered a closely watched keynote at CES more than a decade ago.

Amazon will have its own booth for Alexa at CES this year, and it’s promising “exciting new announcements from brands building magical voice experiences with Alexa technology.”

Read the full post here: Amazon Alexa vs. Google Assistant emerges as key battle of CES 2018

Cool Uses of AI and Smart Assistants

With the advancements in virtual assistants and artificial intelligence, it is no surprise that there are plenty of booths at CES 2018 highlighting those topics. Smart speakers were a huge retail item for Christmas 2017 and the trend is expected to grow by 60% in 2018 along with smart home capabilities being built into many everyday objects such as:

  • TVs
  • Bathroom Showers & Mirrors
  • Switches, Lighting, and Outlets
  • Door Locks
  • Cameras and Home Security
  • Thermostats for Heating and Cooling
  • Automotive Features such as Playing Audiobooks and Navigation
  • Wearables like Headphones, Smartwatches, and Fitness Trackers

This video provides a rundown of the virtual assistant fever at CES 2018:

Part of the intrigue is that the voice control won’t just be part of your home, but also part of your driving experience. In fact, tech company Nvidia is showcasing new technology that could assist auto manufacturers in developing AI virtual assistants that are more intelligent than Alexa, Cortana, and Siri.

Nvidia’s New Announcement

The software has a number of features that will raise the bar to a new level of safety for autonomous vehicles:

Nvidia announced two new software platforms for self-driving cars during a press conference on Sunday: Drive IX and Drive AR. The former allows carmakers to create artificially intelligent co-pilots that take advantage of sensors both inside and outside of the car to provide assistance. Volkswagen will be one of the first partners to begin experimenting with Drive IX in its I.D. Buzz prototype.

Nvidia and automotive virtual assistants

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Meanwhile, AI co-pilots built on Drive IX would be able to use facial recognition to identify the driver in order to accomplish tasks like starting the car or detecting whether or not the person behind the wheel is too drowsy to drive. The platform will also let automakers create gesture and voice-based controls for vehicles.

CES 2018: Nvidia Unveils New AI Tech For Cars

The Drive IX software uses internal and external sensors, which allow the virtual assistant to be able to tell whether the driver is paying attention in the case a pedestrian crosses the street or a car suddenly stops in their lane.

Nvidia’s second platform, Drive AR, permits automakers to integrate augmented reality interfaces that can display notifications and points of interest while driving.

It’s fascinating that only a few years ago the idea of a digital virtual assistant was something from a Sci-Fi movie. Today this technology has the potential to manage everyday tasks that make our lives safer and more convenient.