Edge voice assistants
Mar 01, 2022
7 MIN READ

Voice Assistants on the Edge Expand Possibilities for Device Manufacturers

Edge voice assistants deliver unexpected benefits to device manufacturers, including improved product functionality, accessibility, and security. When the cloud is not needed or required, many industries, such as manufacturing, healthcare, hospitality, and QSR, are implementing Edge voice assistants to improve user experiences with their devices and apps.

While cloud-only and Edge+Cloud connectivity create exceptional conversational interfaces for many devices, Edge voice assistants can provide voice interfaces in use cases where the cloud is either not available or connections are limited. Edge solutions are also more desirable when lower costs and greater privacy are key considerations.

Cloud connectivity may have launched the voice-first era through smart speakers, but Edge voice assistants are expanding functionality and allowing device manufacturers to voice-enable more devices at lower cost, without internet connection, and restricted processing power. 

SoundHound brings voice AI technology to Qualcomm’s Snapdragon Platforms

SoundHound and Snapdragon logo lockup

SoundHound entered a multi-year agreement with Qualcomm Technologies Inc. to enable SoundHound’s advanced voice AI technology, consisting of its automatic speech recognition, natural language understanding, and text-to-speech conversion software with select Qualcomm Technologies’ Snapdragon® platforms.

App developers and device manufacturers have the ability to integrate the advanced technologies provided by Qualcomm Technologies and SoundHound to quickly and easily implement enhanced conversational voice experiences and build voice interfaces that can detect voice queries in noisy environments and when a device is already transmitting other sounds.

“The combination of SoundHound’s conversational intelligence technology with our Snapdragon platforms paves the way for new use cases and innovative voice experiences.”

Ziad Asghar
Vice President, Product Management
Qualcomm Technologies, Inc.

The solution brings together SoundHound’s advanced voice AI platform, with its full stack of proprietary technology, including Speech-to-Meaning® and Deep Meaning Understanding®, and a library of hundreds of content domains and select Snapdragon platforms with echo cancellation, noise reduction (ECNR), and user verification technologies. Snapdragon’s low-power, always-on capability means the host device is always ready to respond to a wake word or voice command in a low-power state.

SoundHound’s collaboration with Qualcomm Technologies gives app developers and hardware manufacturers a faster, simpler way to add always-on, voice interfaces to their apps and devices. By combining Qualcomm Technologies’ voice solutions with SoundHound’s voice AI technology into a single solution, app developers and device manufacturers can expand product offerings with more options for enhanced voice services.

“The potential for voice assistants on the edge to meet growing customer demands and expand product functionality while lowering costs and easing installation requirements for manufacturers is truly endless.” 

Mike Zagorsek
COO
SoundHound

Android app developers can now build voice user interfaces to overcome the challenges associated with mobile app users not having a device in their immediate vicinity. Once available, end users can make a voice request to a voice-enabled app from across the room—even when the device is already playing music or streaming other content.

SoundHound’s natural language understanding (NLU) engine delivers fast and accurate responses due to its proprietary technologies that process speech in real-time and allow for double negations, complex, multiple queries, and follow-on requests. Its voice AI platform is flexible, scalable, and customizable, allowing developers to create unique voice experiences that include a combination of custom commands and custom content domains as well as an extensive library of public content domains, including weather, sports, news, entertainment, and more.

Edge voice assistants elevate devices

As voice assistants become increasingly popular, users aren’t satisfied with simple speed and accuracy but are expecting more from their voice-enabled devices. Edge voice assistants elevate devices by delivering a variety of benefits, including: 

  • Improved product functionality
  • Increased accessibility
  • Better privacy, security, and safety

“We’ve been able to do more processing on the device, which means you can separate more of the speech from the noise and that has really enabled more use cases. For instance, drivers can say ‘roll down the window’ or ‘roll up the window’, even with all that road noise and everything.” 

Ziad Asghar
VP Product Management
Qualcomm Technologies, Inc.

Edge voice assistants improve product functionality by providing exceptional speed and accuracy, lower manufacturing costs, personalization, and product independence and differentiation. It’s essential that when searching for a voice assistant, brands choose the type of connectivity that best meets their users’ needs, wants, and expectations. Edge voice assistants offer a diverse range of product functionalities to devices without having to access the internet or require high cloud-based subscription fees. 

Voice assistants also increase accessibility by eliminating having to look at a screen, type, swipe, scroll, or other barriers to entry. Industries, such as smart devices, home entertainment, hospitality, and retail, are realizing how edge voice assistants reduce the cost, development time, and memory footprint, so they can focus more on making their devices voice-enabled and more accessible.

“We expect that if a voice-enabled device claims to the users that their voice never leaves the device or their home that messaging can be very well received and edge technology can make this a reality.” 

Keyvan Mohajer
Co-Founder and CEO
SoundHound 

Edge voice assistants offer greater privacy, security, and safety without sacrificing convenience and functionality. Since Edge voice assistants don’t have to access the cloud, all information can be stored securely on the device. Users can still experience personalization without worrying if their information could get leaked. Edge voice assistants also offer advanced safety features for the home and car, including voice-enabled security systems and safety features that can still be activated even when users are far away from the device, are unable to use their hands, or don’t have access to their mobile phone.   

Industries poised to use edge voice assistants

Many industries have begun to rethink how they approach challenges, such as safety, hygiene, multi-tasking, employee and customer experiences, with voice AI. 4 industries that are revolutionizing product solutions with voice assistants on the edge include

  • Manufacturing
  • Healthcare
  • Hospitality
  • QSRs

“A combination of all these technologies and the ability to do more processing every year for a given amount of power is what is completely changing the experience on the edge, and that’s why I continue to be super excited about this.” 

Ziad Asghar
VP Product Management
Qualcomm Technologies, Inc.

Edge voice assistants offer many new possibilities for manufacturing and healthcare, where workers’ hands are otherwise occupied, and their attention is split between multiple tasks. Voice-enabled devices for recording inventory and notes or for operating machinery allow for increased efficiency, productivity, and safety. 

The QSR and hospitality industries have faced new challenges over the past few years with greater demand for hygiene and safety precautions. Voice-enabled devices, such as TVs, self-service kiosks, and drive-thrus, provide fast, efficient, and accurate services while consumers also experience the best in convenience, luxury, and personalization. 

Want to know more about voice assistants on the edge? SoundHound recently published a guide, Discovering Possibilities of Voice Assistants on the Edge, that discusses edge voice assistants as a product solution across industries and a way to increase functionality, accessibility, and privacy.

At SoundHound Inc., we have all the tools and expertise needed to create custom voice assistants and a consistent brand voice. Explore SoundHound’s independent voice AI platform at SoundHound.com and register for a free account here. Want to learn more? Talk to us about how we can help bring your voice strategy to life.

Interested in Learning More?

Subscribe today to stay informed and get regular updates from SoundHound Inc.