I have been waiting patiently for Samsung to launch their version of a Smart Speaker for some time now but so far, nothing has emerged.
Samsung Phone users will already be familiar with their personal voice assistant, ‘Bixby’ that comes “ready-to-help” with any newer smart-phone (S8 and beyond) at the touch of an (all to easily accidentally activated) button. Taking that technology to rival Amazon, Google and Apple in the home-assistant market is the new obvious move.
Although there is no new news on when (and if) that launch will happen, a newly uncovered patent does give some clues as to what Samsung may have in store, and its an exciting glimpse into the future of Voice-Activation.
Back in December, I wrote about the potential of Samsung in the Smart-Speaker market to combine voice technology with its “Smart Things” network and help make the creation of a “smart home” that little bit easier. You can read about that here.
Now, the filed patent (filed November 2017) takes the idea of a Smart Home even further with the apparent addition of facial and voice recognition. This would enable Bixby to identify who is talking to it at any given time. Voice recognition is nothing new, both Amazon and Google are promising their devices will be able to identify which user is trying to communicate with their Smart-Speaker devices in the near future, but the addition of Face-Recognition could lead to an even more frictionless user interface… the holy grail of Voice First!
According to the images, taken from the patent and posted on LetsGoDigital, the proposed Samsung device has a rotating “head” that allows it to move and tilt so it can not only detect sound more effectively but also use its facial recognition camera. The results are a little different from the usual look of such a device – leading to an almost humanoid look to the speaker… it’s quite cute!
There are many other proposed features on the patent (such as a touch-screen of some variety as well as Bluetooth, GPS and HDMI connectivity) but its the move to facial recognition that really interests me.
The idea of a personal voice-assistant that can instantly identify a user before receiving a command may seem like science-fiction but it will soon become science-fact.
This, for me, is the first step to creating a smart world. A completely connected environment which automatically recognises not only a user but also identifies their chosen Voice Assistant (making the choice of device obsolete but the choice of platform vital). Heating, lighting, audio could all be managed instantly and adjusted to a users preferences the moment they enter a room (or vehicle).
It’s an exciting glimpse into the future of Voice Activation and a sure sign that this technology will play a key role in the way we control our homes an access information in the future.