Speech recognition

How to control your connected home with Google Assistant

Whether you’re onboard or not, smart homes are the future. Of course, there are still a few quirks, and some devices are downright ridiculous. (Consider the Grillbot, an automatic grill cleaner, or the Davek Umbrella, with its “Loss Alert” sensor.)

But smart technology definitely has its benefits.

With a smart garage door opener, you can open and close your garage from your smartphone and monitor its status even when you’re away from home. With a smart lock, you can issue “keys” to guests, friends, or family, and even unlock the door from afar.

Internet-ready and cloud data systems allow data “packets” to be transferred over the internet from various platforms. These packets move from device to device and essentially drive the entire smart tech industry.

However, the real benefits of connected tech come into play when you can use voice commands with them. Alexa, from Amazon’s Echo, is a great example of this.

The real star of the show is Google Assistant, though. In the past, issuing voice commands to Google Assistant to interface with smart tech was a Google Home-only feature. With the latest version, everyone can take advantage of this — even iPhone users.

What makes it stand out from the competition? It’s the way in which you interact and talk with the assistant. It’s just more human and more natural: “OK, Google. Turn on my lights.”

Sadly, Google Assistant cannot control everything … yet. The list of brands with devices that can be controlled include Honeywell, Nest, Philips Hue, WeMo, SmartThings, and more. Rest assured: this list will be expanded in time.

You can read the full list of supported devices here.

First things first, though. You need to connect your smart home devices to the Google Assistant app on your phone. This is what tells the AI what you have and how it can be used.

To connect one of your supported gadgets to Assistant, use the following steps:

  1. Open Google Assistant.
  2. Tap the three dots in the upper right-hand corner to open the settings menu. Navigate to the “Home Control” option and choose it.
  3. Tap the “+” button to add devices. You’ll see a list of devices you can choose from — simply find yours. Once you choose a device, you’ll need to sign in to the related service.
  4. Once you’ve added all your devices, you must separate them by room. This allows Google Assistant to differentiate between control areas. For example: “living room” vs. “office.”
  5. Once it’s all set up, you can begin controlling your devices. Test it out with a simple command like “OK, Google, turn…

Google’s speech recognition technology now has a 4.9% word error rate

Google CEO Sundar Pichai today announced that the company’s speech recognition technology now has achieved a 4.9 percent word error rate. Put another way, Google transcribes every 20th word incorrectly. That’s a big improvement from the 23 percent the company saw in 2013 and the 8 percent it shared two years ago at I/O 2015.

The tidbit was revealed at Google’s I/O 2017 developer conference, where a big emphasis is artificial intelligence. Deep learning, a type of AI, is used to achieve accurate image recognition and speech recognition. The method involves ingesting lots of data to train systems called neural networks, and then feeding new data to those systems in an attempt to make predictions.

“We’ve been using voice as an input across many of our products,” Pichai said onstage. “That’s…

IBM Watson enables voice commands in Ubisoft’s Star Trek: Bridge Crew virtual reality game

IBM Watson‘s artificial intelligence platform will enable voice commands in Ubisoft‘s Star Trek: Bridge Crew virtual reality game.

IBM and French video game developer Ubisoft have partnered to include Watson’s interactive speech and cognitive capabilities in a VR game for the first time when Star Trek: Bridge Crew launches on May 30 on the Oculus Rift with Touch, HTC Vive, and PlayStation VR (PSVR).

It’s another one of those wonderful confluences of technology and games that we highlighted at our GamesBeat Summit event.

With IBM Watson, Star Trek: Bridge Crew will provide players the opportunity to use their voice and natural-language commands to interact with their virtual Starfleet crew members. This feature is part of a strategic partnership with Ubisoft. I recently tried out the game and found it to be a lot of fun to play with human strangers. I’m curious if Watson will answer in various actors’ voices, like Mr. Spock.

“We have been eager to find the right way to use interactive speech further the immersive and interactive experiences that virtual reality offers,” said David Votypka, senior creative director at Red Storm Entertainment, a Ubisoft Studio,…

How to Turn Multiple Smart Lights On or Off At Once With Stringify

Every night when I go to bed, I want to turn all of my lights off…except the bedroom light. I wan to turn that light on at bedtime. Using Stringify, I can finally create a single voice command that turns some lights off, and others on.

Philips Hue can turn multiple lights on or off with Alexa, but it can’t do both with one voice action. That’s where Stringify comes in. Stringify is an extra powerful automation tool that lets you tie all of your smart gadgets and online services together. If you’ve never used it before, check out our primer on it here, then come back here to build the Flow.

For this Stringify Flow, we’re going to change several lights at once to create a scene. Stringify can turn multiple lights on or off, change their brightness, or change a light’s color all with a single command. Depending on how many smart lights you have and what your daily routines are like, you could use this same principle to build a bunch of different types of commands. For example:

  • Turn off the house lights before bed. A bed time Flow could turn off all the lights in your living room and turn on the bedroom lights.
  • Activate theater-style lighting for movie time. You could use a Flow to turn off the overhead living room lights and turn on your TV’s bias lighting to get ready to watch a movie.
  • Dim the lights for cozy reading. With a single command, you could turn off your overhead living room lights, but set a single lamp next to the couch to a low light so you can read.

The process to create all of these types of scenes (and plenty more) is largely the same, but we’ll demonstrate with a simple bedtime routine. For this, you’ll need to add your smart lights and voice assistant to your Stringify Things (we’ll use Philips Hue and Alexa to demonstrate). To get started, open…