How the voice interface will reinvent home entertainment

Voice recognition technology has become a key component of many established and emerging devices over the last few years and it continues to shape the connected living experience. Christophe Gomez, Director, Business Development Dragon TV EMEA from Nuance, discusses the latest developments with Dragon TV, the new partnerships announced at this year’s International Broadcast Conference, and how our developments can change the television experience.

The Dragon TV team is excited to be attending the IBC2014 event in Amsterdam, September 11-16. Schedule a meeting and stop by to say hi!

The way we interact with our devices, at work and at home, is constantly changing. Consumers have adapted to this fleeting innovation cycle by seeking out the most intuitive and unobtrusive engagement with their daily lives. This desire has led to significant growth technologies that enable a more human-like interaction – such as gesture control, voice recognition and natural language understanding. This is not the stuff of legends. This shift can be seen today in exactly how we interact with the technology which is most prevalent in our everyday lives such as smartphones, tablets, televisions and automobiles.

I’d like to explore, specifically, the realm of the picturesque world of the ‘living room’ which is similarly evolving to match the consumer expectation of seamless, natural engagement with content (Twitter, Facebook, TV programming, E-Commerce, etc.). Most households have considerably more channels than previous generations, with the ability to record, stop and start live television. Services such as BBC iPlayer and Sky Go enable us to take programs with us on our tablet or smartphone to watch on the commute to work or on holiday and offer a nearly unlimited choice of content to choose from at any time. We can also interact with TV programmes on multiple devices – commenting with friends about a programme over social media or requesting more information about an advert we see.

The challenge is that there is so much content and so finding what we want to watch and ensuring it is legally downloaded and available can be complex and frustrating. A human-like engagement method such as voice-based command and control provides a very natural, accessible way of finding content – cutting through the menus and manual input, making the pathway from the viewer to their content choice a direct one. Several key players support this idea at the International Broadcasting Conference in Amsterdam this week and show Dragon TV, our technology that allows you to control your television through voice interaction, on remote controls and set-top boxes.  Today Samsung, Panasonic, LG and Deutsche Telekom have already incorporated Dragon TV into their offerings.

Viewers can ask their TV, remote control or set-top box to search for programmes, movie titles, actors and actresses, favourite genres, particular sports and virtually any other category of preferred content. It offers an intuitive, quick way for viewers to find what they want to watch, rather than navigating manually through programme guides, menus or interactive content. The software supports both basic commands such as “TV on” through to more detailed requests, for example, “find me films with Ryan Reynolds.”

Voice biometrics also personalises services. Different members of a household can be identified by their voice and instantly have access to individual custom home screens, recently-viewed and commonly-searched-for content, and personal web applications like social media feeds.

These are exciting applications and create a more natural, intuitive experience for consumers but where could this go next for the broadcasting industry?

For service providers offering broadband, TV, phone and operating large customer service operations; imagine being able to identify and authenticate customers whenever they interact with a service and experience highly personalised content which  interests them. For content producers, voice interactions could open up new formats for programmes and a means of involving viewers immediately and easily simply by enabling them to talk to their TV. Engaging advertising which can enter into a two-way dialogue with a consumer or which can use voice biometrics to securely authorise a transaction or purchase.

At Nuance, we’ve been exploring how a combination of natural language understanding, semantics, the cloud and artificial intelligence can create new services across different devices a consumer uses.  For example, whilst driving home from work you could be listening to a sports game on the radio. When you arrive home you tell your TV to put on the match you were just listening to as soon as you walk in the door. You could comment on the match with your friends, dictate text messages or social media updates and then use voice biometrics to buy your team’s new kit online.

It is hard to predict how these services will evolve, but we believe voice could reinvent the way we consume, share and create new digital and broadcast content.

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Christophe Gomez

About Christophe Gomez

As Nuance's EMEA Director Sales and Business development, Christophe Gomez oversees Nuance's solutions for TV markets, with an emphasis on speaker identification and search/discovery of contents and services by voice. Prior to joining Nuance, Chris was the Vice President sales for Access Systems Europe, contributing to introduction of HTML4-5 and DLNA, where he was responsible for aggregating market requirements and translation into solutions now widely deployed on the field, helping key stakeholders to create value and improve overall subscribers engagement. Chris has over 15 years’ experience in the field of DTV market