i3 - March/April 2018 - 40

Policy

By Sara Garvin

FAC E S O F I N N OVAT I O N

Niraj Bhargava,
CEO, Fluent.ai Inc.

Q How are you different from other

connected voice assistants?
From the conversations we had at
CES, it's clear that consumer technology
brands and consumers alike recognize
the limitations of conventional voice
assist to support additional languages,
deal with accents, operate offline and
perform well under noisy conditions. We address these issues
Voice is the ideal
with cutting-edge deep-learning
user interface and techniques that enable acousticshould not be limonly speech recognition technolited to people who
ogy capable of running offline,
speak English as
on-device. Unlike conventional
a first language.
voice-assist technologies, our
artificial intelligence, Fluent.ai
doesn't have to convert speech to text to
interpret and execute a spoken command.
By associating speech to intent without
requiring a speech-to-text translation, we
offer a highly accurate and robust speech
recognition system that can learn or be
customized by the end user.

A

Q What is the future for voice assistants

 D 

igital assistants and voice-controlled smart products
were everywhere at CES 2018. As digital assistants
become integrated into more products, the way consumers interact with their technology is changing. Consumers are
now talking to their devices to schedule appointments, turn the
lights off and order pizza. One company, Fluent.ai Inc., is changing the way digital assistants understand voice commands to
ensure that people speaking every language in varying dialects
can be understood.

Q How did Fluent.ai get started?
A Fluent.ai was incorporated in October

2016 but got started six years ago on the
strength of deep research leading to four
patents within the Montreal incubator
TandemLaunch in 2015. Fluent originally
intended to assist people with speech
impediments by using voice as an interface. Vikrant Tomar, our CTO, was the
entrepreneur in residence who led
the project in the incubation phase. Apart
from Vikrant, our team consists of four
other machine learning experts, who saw
an opportunity to build something new
that could overcome the shortcomings
of conventional voice-recognition platforms for a broad variety of consumer
and Internet of Things (IoT) applications.
40

MARCH/APRIL 2018

Q Fluent.ai is fluent in 38 languages.

What are the challenges expanding
internationally?
A That's the beauty of what our technology is all about - it is designed to
overcome the barriers of language that
plague conventional voice-recognition
platforms. The accuracy and reliability
of other platforms depends on the user
speaking in clear, clean American English
with no accent and as little background
noise as possible. They are, in essence,
discriminatory - that's the challenge they
face to expand culturally or internationally. It takes tens of thousands of hours of
speech and thousands of speakers to train
the AI of these systems - per language or
even accent. We don't face that challenge.

and connected devices in five years?
Voice is the most natural user interface,
but the way conventional voice-recognition systems work is far from natural
and ill-suited for most IoT scenarios.
For these applications, we usually don't
need a voice-assist technology intended
to understand arbitrary requests and
search the entire internet. We just need
a platform that can be quickly taught to
understand a finite set of commands for
a specific context. And most importantly,
do so with at least 95 percent accuracy
every single time and regardless of
language, accent, speech impairment or
background noise. This year's CES reaffirmed the fact that we are migrating to
a world where voice is king.

A

Q What's next for Fluent.ai?
A We continue to focus on reaching

strategic milestones that will attract
additional growth capital. At CES, we
unveiled Fluency-as-a-Service (FaaS)
and received lots of positive response
from the marketplace. FaaS is a self-serve
software platform that allows development teams of any size to implement
a voice interface capability specific to
their needs, quickly, with AI modules that
update in real time through the cloud.
I T I S I N N O VAT I O N


http://www.Fluent.ai http://www.Fluent.ai http://www.Fluent.ai http://www.Fluent.ai http://www.Fluent.ai http://www.Fluent.ai http://www.Fluent.ai

Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of i3 - March/April 2018

Contents
i3 - March/April 2018 - Cover1
i3 - March/April 2018 - Cover2
i3 - March/April 2018 - Contents
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i3 - March/April 2018 - Cover3
i3 - March/April 2018 - Cover4
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