Written by IEEE | January 11, 2019
Last year, virtual assistants were all the rage at CES®. This year’s show has been no different. Assistants from industry titans like Google, Amazon and Samsung flexed their virtual muscles this week, demonstrating how far they’ve come in a relatively short time.
Google Assistant – “Hey, Google” – impressed with its new ability to translate speech in up to 27 languages in real time. This has tremendous potential to make international and regional travel easier for the average consumer, especially since it’s running on almost a billion devices already.
On the home front, Google announced Assistant Connect, a platform that will enable its integration into third-party devices, creating a seamless network with expanded automation capabilities.
Amazon’s Alexa was a hit once again, and had a broad presence at CES. Alexa-related announcements included Key by Amazon, a growing set of services that empower users to live a keyless life, allowing remote door, car and garage access (even over voice command), enabling friends, dog walkers, cleaners or Airbnb guests to have monitored access when needed.
Samsung’s Bixby provided Amazon and Google with some much-needed competition, as the company discussed at CES how their digital assistant, through various partnerships, is moving into a variety of areas, such as robotics. Bixby will enable users to check how full their car’s gas tank is, connect to apps like Google Maps and work in tandem with other Samsung products, like the company’s smart refrigerators.
If CES 2018 and 2019 are any indication, the trajectory for virtual assistants is only headed upward. Consumers’ lives stand to get smarter, more integrated and, hopefully, easier.