Amazon Developing 'Voice ID' Technology for Alexa Assistant

Discussion in 'iOS Blog Discussion' started by MacRumors, Feb 28, 2017.

  1. MacRumors macrumors bot


    Apr 12, 2001

    Amazon is building upon the Alexa voice-recognition technology found in its Echo range of speakers so that the virtual assistant can distinguish between individual users based on the sound of their voices.

    According to anonymous sources who spoke to TIME, Amazon's feature would work by matching the person speaking to a pre-recorded voice sample, or "voice print", to verify the speaker's identity.


    Amazon has been developing the feature, internally called Voice ID, since at least the summer of 2015, according to people familiar with the company's Alexa strategy. The underlying technology is said to have been completed and just needs integrating into Echo speakers, however it's still unclear when that will happen.

    The Voice ID technology would be a first in the smart speaker space and make Echo units easier to share between multiple people under one roof. Currently, Echo users can set up multiple profiles and jump between them, but the user must say "switch accounts" or use the Alexa app to do so. And as for credit card purchases, a four-digit authentication code must be said out loud to confirm them.

    It's unknown at this point whether Voice ID will extend to the many Alexa-enabled third-party devices now available, or if it would be limited to Amazon's Echo speakers. An Amazon spokesperson declined to comment on the matter.

    Alexa recently became capable of responding to 10,000 skills, according to Amazon. Skills are essentially third-party apps that you can interact with via voice, once they've been enabled. The 10,000th skill was Beat the Intro, a music game that tests users' knowledge and love of music.

    AI assistants have become increasingly popular over the past few years, while Apple's Siri has remained largely unchanged over the past few iOS updates. Last May it was rumored that the company would launch an Echo-like speaker with Siri integration, enabling users to play music, get news headlines, and more, without needing to interact with their iPhone, but further details have been scant.

    Article Link: Amazon Developing 'Voice ID' Technology for Alexa Assistant
  2. sudo1996 Suspended


    Aug 21, 2015
    Berkeley, CA, USA
    "To confirm credit card purchases, a four-digit authentication code must also be said out loud."
    How again is this nicer than just going to a computer or pulling out my phone to buy stuff with stored credentials? I understand these devices as jukeboxes or intercoms (can it do that?), but I've always been puzzled that a main selling point shown in ads and such is that you can randomly buy stuff with your voice.
  3. Telos101 macrumors regular


    Apr 29, 2016
    I see your point. Presumably that's why they're developing this Voice ID thing?
  4. Speedy Dingo macrumors regular

    Speedy Dingo

    Jun 4, 2010
    "Siri, How are you today"

    "Looking... getting directions to Llanfairpwllgwyngyllgogerychwyrndrobwllllantysiliogogogoch, Wales."

    I'm hoping Apple will make Siri a bit smarter with iOS 11.
  5. and 1989 others macrumors regular

    Sep 21, 2016
    As technology companies go I quite admire Amazon, they seem to produce decent tech and at decent prices. They're apps just work, they're Kindle are good quality, and They're streaming service (MUSIC) apps you can actually navigate.

    And another Tech company, Google, I'm finding their Calendar app very intuitive and easy to use.
  6. 62tele macrumors 6502a

    Apr 11, 2010
    I have very few issues with Siri and use it frequently.
    --- Post Merged, Feb 28, 2017 ---
    What, no mention of Microsoft? You could have hit the trifecta of Apple competitors.
  7. Relentless Power macrumors Penryn

    Relentless Power

    Jul 12, 2016
    I would like to know which version of Siri you are using. Because I have issues with Siri with dictation/deciphering all the time. Even though, I do find it useful for certain tasks. Siri has really become cumbersome with the most basic words to decipher. It needs help and it's clearly a wide-open issue at this point. And I use Siri quite frequently.

    Also, apple hired a team of engineers to revamp Siri. Those changes can't come soon enough.
  8. MacBH928 macrumors 68030


    May 17, 2008
  9. T'hain Esh Kelch macrumors 601

    T'hain Esh Kelch

    Aug 5, 2001
    He sure would. It would make his book writing much easier.

    "Alexa, add to most recent note: 'And the hero stepped up onto the ladder... It was a beautiful day.'"
  10. Mactendo macrumors 68000

    Oct 3, 2012
    "Siri, How are you today"
    "Here are the search results for 'Siri, How are you today'"
    --- Post Merged, Feb 28, 2017 ---
    Microsoft makes great innovative hardware.
  11. Speedy Dingo macrumors regular

    Speedy Dingo

    Jun 4, 2010
    Don't get me wrong, I use Siri regularly too, but mainly to make calls, send messages and to find out quick answers to simple queries. I find that if I ask something considered too in-depth, all I get is "here's what I found on the web".
  12. BeefCake 15 macrumors 65816

    BeefCake 15

    May 15, 2015
    near Boston, MA
    Some people might think this is giberish meant as a joke but this is a real place. I remember when a weather man was prepping himself to say it on live TV and even sent a Tweet for people to tune in just to hear him attempt it lol

    Would love to hear Siri saying it :D
  13. thisisnotmyname macrumors 68000


    Oct 22, 2014
    known but velocity indeterminate
    This has to happen pretty soon. We've heard the stories about commercials setting off voice based assistants already, I'm just waiting for some radio DJ to prank people with OK Google or Hey Siri over the air. Just as people are able to differentiate between speakers AI needs to as well.
  14. npmacuser5 macrumors 65816


    Apr 10, 2015
    More for reorders in our house. You remember the dog is low on food, "Alexa reorder my dog food", without the need to go to computer, phone app, just say it when it comes to mind. Same for shopping list, head in refrigerator and you see milk almost gone, "Alexa add milk to shopping list". One more, hands stuck in mixing bowl, "Alexa how many teaspoons in a tablespoon". A very useful device, especially within hearing of the kitchen. Three of the many non-jukebox very useful things these devices accomplish.
  15. Madmic23 macrumors 6502a

    Apr 21, 2004
    I've asked Siri for the weather or movie times in my local Canadian town. She's come back with results for a town with the same name in Germany. :(

    I'm also hoping she gets a bit better.
  16. konqerror macrumors 6502

    Dec 31, 2013
    In my experience, Siri with an iPhone 7 sitting on a table across the room has better voice recognition than the full-sized Amazon Echo the same distance away. Siri's ASR works quite well, probably due to the microphone setup in the iPhones.

    The problem with Echo is they shoveled so many things in, you have to remember what app name you want it to start. There's no unified understanding. Using Amazon's example directly, you say "Alexa, ask Capital One what's my account summary?" not "Alexa, how much money do I have in my bank account?". You have to remember all these dumb names like "garageio" and "vivint" and "Meat Butler".
  17. Aston441, Feb 28, 2017
    Last edited: Feb 28, 2017

    Aston441 macrumors 65816

    Sep 16, 2014
  18. kdarling, Feb 28, 2017
    Last edited: Feb 28, 2017

    kdarling macrumors P6


    Jun 9, 2007
    First university coding class = 47 years ago
    Some of us actually don't walk around with a smartphone glued to our hands. And we're too lazy to pull out a tablet or laptop just to reorder something. And we don't have to, thanks to Alexa. Yep, true first world power! :D

    -- True story going on right now:

    My wife just came home from two months in the hospital. She cannot move very much and has to spend the next few weeks in bed. While she was gone, I bought and set up an Echo (plus some Dots), Samsung Smart Things, a Harmony hub, and a smart thermostat.

    Now, mind you, she's not into tech at all. In fact, she still uses a flip phone. But she's loving the Echo setup, because she gets to do stuff like this while stuck in her bed:
    • "Alexa, turn on/off the lamp" (this is on a dresser not near the bed)
    • "Alexa, turn on/off the TV" (she never understood two remotes. now she doesn't have to)
    • "Alexa, increase house temperature by two degrees" (or "set temperature to xx")
    • "Alexa, play some Joan Baez" (we have Prime unlimited music)
    • "Alexa, reorder Dr Teal's bath" (piece of cake to reorder from Amazon)
    This also saves me a lot of time, since she's not totally dependent on me any more. So it's a win-win for both of us.
  19. Speedy Dingo macrumors regular

    Speedy Dingo

    Jun 4, 2010
    If you highlight the phrase and choose "Speak", she'll speak it out loud. Siri seemed to have said it as a word instead of spelling it out letter by letter, which surprised me.

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