Pioneer’s Zypr Lets Developers Find Their Voices

Japanese electronics firm Pioneer recently released Zypr, a new free, voice-powered unified Web application programming interface (API). The Web service platform provides voice-controlled access to online services, including mapping, navigation, social media, calendars, and the weather.

Zypr can be mashed up and applied using voice control for sites like Facebook, Twitter, Google, Yelp, AccuWeather, INRIX Slacker Radio, Tuner2 Radio, Wcities, xAd and VoiceBox. Pioneer expects to continue adding other services as well.

By creating a normalized, stable, and voice-enhanced method for accessing a wide array of constantly changing Internet services, Zypr reduces the impact of service-specific API changes, according to Pioneer. Zypr-powered applications also allow data to “follow” a user across multiple devices thanks to Zypr’s centralized, cloud-based architecture, the company said.

As a Web-based API, Zypr works on all platforms supporting HTTPS access, including HTML5, iOS, Android, and Java.

"Zypr is designed to be used across virtually any platform. We released the technical specifications for the API first to automotive companies in early 2011, as Zypr is an obvious fit there and their design cycles are exceptionally long," says Jonathan Hirshon, a Pioneer spokesperson. "The Zypr API was released to developers on Android, iOS, PCs, Macs, Linux, Java, and CE devices such as smart TVs at our official launch in November, and we have received incredible interest and desire to make Zypr-enabled apps on all these platforms since then.”

Zypr’s free, ad-supported service lets developers get earned revenue based on users accessing Zypr through their products.

To help developers create Zypr-enhanced applications, Pioneer is open-sourcing a reference Java application powered by its technology. The reference source code and the Zypr API itself are immediately available as a no-charge license for developers. Developer keys, reference codes, documentation, and all developer tools are available on the company’s Web site.

Once a client application is ready, it’s submitted to Pioneer for review, and when it’s approved, a key will be issued to enable the app to access Zypr services.

Depending on developers, Zypr could also see action outside the consumer market and into the enterprise space. "If a developer wanted to create a Zypr-enabled app specifically for the enterprise, we are all for it," Hirshon says. "Zypr is an enabling API and technology, and we will not dictate market strategies and specifics to developers seeking to integrate voice into their apps. We are here to help them, not hinder them."

Hirshon was also complimentary about that other voice-controlled technology—Apple’s Siri. "Siri is a great piece of technology, and we see Zypr joining Siri to expand the use case and opportunities for voice-controlled devices throughout 2012,” he says.

The company said it sees voice/human interaction technology as the wave of the future and is committed to expanding its offerings. "Pioneer is utterly convinced of the value and possibilities offered by a voice-based interface. The future of device control is definitely going in this direction," Hirshon says. "Based on the incredible response we have received from developers, we are very confident that the market for voice-powered interfaces will grow substantially across all platforms in 2012, ranging from mobile devices to consumer electronics, PCs, and cars."

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