Speech Technology Magazine

New System Brings the Speech-Enabled Home Within Reach

Partnership yields voice and vision controls for some home systems.
By Michele Masterson - Posted Jun 26, 2013
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GEO Semiconductor, SpeechFX, and VoiceVault have teamed up to launch Granta, smart home automation technology that brings voice control capabilities to many systems around the house.

Granta uses chip technology from GEO Semiconductor, speech recognition technology from SpeechFX, and voice biometrics from VoiceVault. With the solution, users can personalize how they interact with and control devices and systems in the home. The technology enables them to use hand gestures or voice to disarm an alarm, turn on the lights, adjust the thermostat, or unlock the front door.

"We're able to get the application embedded on a chip set that is small enough to run that type of application without requiring the power you would find in a [bigger] computer," says Steve Jones, chief operating officer at SpeechFX. "We've really reduced the footprint by combining GEO Semiconductor's advanced chip with SpeechFX's ability to do voice recognition."

 Added to those capabilities is voice biometrics from VoiceVault, which provides a security layer with speech authentication, and allows users to control home electronics that recognize only the voices that are programmed into the system.

"One important part of using voice biometrics in any of these smart devices is that you won't have false triggers if there's not a known individual," explains Julia Webb, executive vice president of sales and marketing at VoiceVault. "Using voice biometrics allows you to avoid false triggers, and it also allows you to personalize whatever the content is and the security. In the case of a home alarm system with VoiceVault technology for example, it could know five known users and you don’t have to say anything more than, 'alarm off,' and it [would recognize you]."

With more and more smart devices and appliances flooding the market thanks to improved and smaller chips there needs to be a way to control actions in a secure and authenticated way, Jones says.

"We're talking about advanced control in a secure way using natural language voice that we think will be the way that we communicate with your electronics in your home environment in the very short term," he states. "In the long term, this will be the natural evolution."

"There's been a lot of talk about natural interaction within the home and using voice, but one of the barriers to adoption has been the reliance on cloud-based solutions and the overall cost to deploy," Webb points out. "With this partnership we're able to provide an embedded solution that requires a very small amount of power, which is critical for these smart devices within the home, and to do so at a lower cost." 

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