While voice recognition may feel like a 1950's notion of how we'd interact with our kitchens in the year 2000, it is quickly emerging as a realistic vision of the future — a future that will be worth at least $3.6 billion dollars by 2020, according to Allied Market Research.
That's why everywhere you turned at the Consumer Electronics Show (CES) this year, your voice was being recognized — usually by Alexa. Amazon's Alexa Voice Service, which allows third parties to integrate Alexa into their own products, has given Amazon a quick lead in the voice recognition space. Lots of companies are now taking advantage of Amazon's technology. Ford integrated Alexa into its Sync entertainment system. Samsung put Alexa in their fanciest fridge. If this trend continues, it won't be long before your toaster and oven will be getting into arguments with each other.
In a space that's soon to be worth billions of dollars, it's unlikely that the first company past the post will dominate the market completely. Corporations should keep an eye on the exploding voice recognition ecosystem and the startups looking to make waves. Here are three startups that are positioned to take the market by storm.
Woobo, based in Cambridge, MA, is taking aim at a market segment not yet totally captured by Alexa: children.
Described by founder Fen Tang as a mixture of “Alexa and a traditional Teddy Bear," Woobo's potential is incredible. Woobo claims to provide interactions that "evolve and grow through shared experiences."
Many of the company's employees have an advanced degree from Harvard, MIT, or Carnegie Mellon. That's a lot of brainpower working on voice recognition and interaction for a children's toy. But advances made by their small team may have a huge impact outside of the teddy bear market.
Woobo's launch is planned for October of this year.
San Francisco-based WooHoo is a direct competitor to Amazon's Alexa devices, with extra features like facial recognition thrown in. Its interface works not only on the WooHoo device but also on phones and computers.
WooHoo recently ran a successful KickStarter campaign, which followed up on the $30,000 they received in a seed round last June. That may not seem like much considering that they're going up against a company that's already taking over the market. On the other hand, WooHoo was impressive enough to win a 2017 CES Innovation Award, suggesting that they'll ultimately be worth far more than their initial fundraising might suggest.
WooHoo ships in May.
A talking egg that lives in your kitchen, Hello Egg uses its "Eggspert" software (that's actually what it's called) to create custom menus based on dietary needs and restrictions, order food for delivery and discuss recipes while walking you through everything step-by-step.
Hello Egg was created by R&D64, an Internet of Things company that primarily assists other companies in bringing their own IoT and voice recognition products to market. So far, they've brought 40 such products to market.
Hello Egg ships in Q1 of this year.
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