Displaying items by tag: AI assistant

SK Telecom launches in-car AI virtual assistant

Written on Tuesday, 19 September 2017 05:35

SK Telecom announced that its mobile navigation app ‘T Map’ is now powered by its artificial intelligence (AI) platform NUGU, named ‘T Map X NUGU’. The AI-based navigation service allows drivers to use their voice to enjoy the existing navigation features as well as other useful features offered by NUGU.

T Map was launched by SK Telecom in 2002, and is the leading mobile navigation service in South Korea. In July 2016, the company opened T Map to subscribers of all mobile carriers free of charge. As of August 2017, T Map has around 10.14 million monthly active users, taking up about 68 percent of the South Korean mobile navigation market.

T Map X NUGU significantly enhances the safety for drivers, according to SK Telecom, by allowing them to easily set and change destinations without ever having to take their eyes off the road or hands off the wheel. Moreover, users can ask the voice assistant to find the closest or cheapest gas station and begin providing route guidance to the selected destination. It will also show and guide the driver to the nearest parking lot.

While driving, users can request real-time traffic information, including accidents on roads, and adjust the voice guidance volume through voice commands. Upon arriving at their destination, users can also tell it to end the service/close the app. Users can choose one of two wake words: Aria or Tinker Bell.

T Map integrated with NUGU enhances drivers’ in-car experience by offering useful infotainment services such as news briefing, weather report, sports scores and daily horoscope, SK Telecom claims. Users can also listen to music (Melon) and manage their personal schedules (Google Calendar) by installing the NUGU app.

SK Telecom plans to add more features to T Map X NUGU by November 2017. For instance, when there is an incoming call, drivers will be able to use voice commands to either receive the phone call, or send a text message that states the estimated time of arrival or simply says “I am driving now.”

T Map X NUGU has achieved a 96 percent success rate in voice recognition despite diverse sources of noise, including car engine sounds, wind and people’s conversations. Moreover, with the integration of NUGU into T Map, SK Telecom expects to dramatically improve the performance of the voice-based AI engine via machine learning, which will lead to the creation of new and innovative services.

“Integrated with NUGU, T Map now holds the power to significantly improve driving safety by minimizing driver distractions, while also enhancing customers’ driving pleasure and in-car experience,” said Lee Sang-ho, Executive Vice President and Head of AI Business Division. “With the aim to provide a differentiated level of experience to users, we will continue to expand the use of our AI platform NUGU to more areas of our customers’ lives.”

Published in Telecom Operators

Amazon and Microsoft announced that Alexa, Amazon’s AI personal assistant, will soon be able to communicate with Cortana, the personal assistant for Windows 10, and vice versa. Users of Amazon’s Alexa-controlled Echo speaker will be able to turn on their device and say, “Alexa, open Cortana,” or turn to their Windows 10 device and say, “Cortana, open Alexa.”

The two US technology giants said Alexa and Cortana will begin talking to each other later this year. Under the agreement, Microsoft customers first will be able to access Alexa via Cortana on Windows PCs, and later on Android and iOS devices, said Andrew Shuman, corporate vice president, Cortana Engineering.

Alexa customers will be able to access Cortana's unique features like booking a meeting or accessing work calendars, reminding you to pick up flowers on your way home, or reading your work email – all using just your voice. Similarly, Cortana customers can ask Alexa to control their smart home devices, shop on Amazon.com, interact with many of the more than 20,000 skills built by third-party developers, and much more.

"Ensuring Cortana is available for our customers everywhere and across any device is a key priority for us," said Satya Nadella, CEO of Microsoft. "Bringing Cortana's knowledge, Office 365 integration, commitments, and reminders to Alexa is a great step toward that goal."

Jeff Bezos, founder and CEO of Amazon, said, "The world is big and so multifaceted. There are going to be multiple successful intelligent agents, each with access to different sets of data and with different specialized skill areas. Together, their strengths will complement each other and provide customers with a richer and even more helpful experience.”

Tractica analyst Mark Beccue speculates that Amazon and Microsoft have mutual interest in developing the ability for their AI assistants to communicate, because neither company has enough presence in the mobile space to stand alone.

He told TechNewsWorld: “Neither Microsoft nor Amazon have the market penetration that Apple and Google do. Their virtual assistants are not very multimodal yet. Maybe they feel stronger together.”

Both Amazon and Microsoft have their own strengths that they can bring to the table; for example, Microsoft is stronger in productivity and search, whereas Amazon is known for e-commerce and has a vast ecosystem of skill applications, including many related to smart home technologies.