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Voice Control: The future is here and it's talking back!

Voice control technology has come a long way in recent years, allowing us to interact with our devices in a more natural and intuitive way. Picture yourself walking into a dark room, you don't have to fumble for the light switch, you simply say "Turn on the lights" and voila, the room is illuminated. Or let's say you are cooking dinner, you don't have to stop what you're doing to change the music, you just say "Play some jazz music" and your smart speaker will start playing your favourite tunes. With just a simple spoken command, we can control everything from our smartphones to our home automation systems. Voice control is like having a personal assistant that's always listening and ready to help. Imagine being able to control your entire home, just by speaking a few simple commands. With voice control, you can do just that!


But Have you ever stopped and wondered just how voice control works? In this blog post, we'll take a deep dive into the inner workings of voice control and explore the fascinating technology behind it.


  • SPEECH RECOGNITION

The first step in the process of voice control is speech recognition.This is where the device's microphone captures the user's spoken command and converts it into a digital format. You must send a few voice samples to your device (whether it's your phone or your smart speaker) in order to configure voice recognition technology. These samples will be turned into a customised digital waveform by the device. Consider your voice to be a unique sound fingerprint. There isn't another voice like it in the entire world. Once you’ve set up and activated your device (usually with a passphrase like “hey Siri” or “OK Google”), whatever you say becomes the input to your device. Once again, it will turn the analog sound waves of your voice into a digital waveform that’s basically a string of numbers. That, in turn, becomes a spectrogram which is broken up into frames processed to find the phonemes (i.e. the letters of the spoken language) that each frame contains.


  • NATURAL LANGUAGE PROCESSING

After speech has been converted into text, the device moves on to the next step in the process of voice control : natural language processing (NLP). NLP is the process of analyzing text to understand its meaning and intent. This is a complex task, as it requires the device to understand grammar, context, and even idiomatic expressions. To accomplish this, the device uses a combination of machine learning and natural language processing techniques.


One of the key techniques used in NLP is known as "Part of Speech" (POS) tagging. POS tagging is the process of identifying the grammatical role of each word in a sentence. For example, "The dog chased the cat" would be tagged as "The" (determiner), "dog" (noun), "chased" (verb), "the" (determiner), "cat" (noun). This information is used to understand the grammatical structure of the sentence and to determine the intent of the command.


Another important technique used in NLP is "Entity Extraction". Entity extraction is the process of identifying specific words or phrases in a sentence that have a specific meaning. For example, in the sentence "Turn off the lights in the living room," the entities would be "turn off", "lights", "living room". This information is used to understand the context of the command and to determine the appropriate action.


  • ACTION

Once the device has understood the command, it moves on to the next step: action. This is where the device performs the appropriate action based on the user's command. This could include turning on a light, adjusting the temperature, or playing music. The device will then send a command to the appropriate device, such as a smart bulb, thermostat, or speaker, to perform the action.


  • FEEDBACK

The final step is feedback. The device may provide feedback to the user to confirm that the command was received and executed. For example, if you ask a smart speaker to play music, it may respond with "Playing music now." This feedback is important, as it lets the user know that their command was understood and executed correctly.




ADVANTAGES OF VOICE CONTROL


Voice control technology can be integrated into a wide range of devices, including smartphones, smart speakers, and home automation systems. Many companies, such as Amazon, Google, and Apple, offer their own voice control platforms, such as Alexa, Google Assistant, and Siri. These platforms can be integrated into a variety of devices, including smart speakers, smart displays, and even cars.


One of the key advantages of voice control is its convenience. With just a simple spoken command, you can control your devices without having to physically interact with them. This can be especially useful for people with mobility impairments or for controlling devices in hard-to-reach places.


Additionally, voice control can also make it easier for people to multitask. For example, you can ask your smart speaker to play music while you're cooking or to set a timer while you're working on a project.


Another advantage of voice control is its ability to learn and adapt to your preferences. As you use your voice-controlled device more, it will learn your voice and your preferences, making it more accurate and responsive over time.



SPEECH RECOGNITION EXAMPLES


Voice Activated Digital Assistants


These include functions on smartphones and computers like Siri, Alexa, and Cortana. To respond to commands or provide answers, these voice-activated devices consult a large number of databases and other digital sources. The way users engage with their gadgets has transformed as a result of these digital assistants.


Speech recognition in Smart Homes

Voice control makes it possible to handle lights, thermostats, door locks, and more without using your hands. Voice control is undoubtedly a practical choice for home control and a terrific method to make things easier to use and more accessible. Your home security system's smart voice control gives you access to a number of useful speech commands. Some of these allow you to wirelessly operate the alarm, while others let you control any automation equipment you might have installed in the apartment.


Voice Recognition In Healthcare


Quick judgement and action are frequently needed in the healthcare industry. Healthcare providers can do their duties more quickly and more effectively if they can direct patient care with their voice instead of using their hands. Health records can be easily accessed. It can facilitate the management of hospital bedding. It can enhance the entry of patient data and alter how healthcare services are delivered.


BOTTOM LINE

Our domestic lives are already becoming increasingly dominated by voice and speech recognition. The lifestyle of the urban population has been significantly impacted by smart devices like Amazon's Alexa and Google's "Home" hub. Software solutions for speech recognition that are backed by AI's NLP and ML technologies offer countless advantages for handling straightforward jobs and questions. With the advancements in voice control technology, the future is looking bright and it's exciting to see how it will continue to revolutionise the way we interact with our devices.


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