Our Notes

Posts about research, open source and technologies.

Voice Assistants 101: A Look at How Conversational AI Works

The prevalence of conversational AI in daily life is growing rapidly. Smart speakers and smartphone voice assistants have become normal parts of how many people look up information, perform tasks, and organize their schedules. But how exactly does this technology work? In this post, we'll walk through the typical steps a voice assistant takes to fulfill a spoken command and some of the software components that make it possible. We'll also take a look at some of the ways in which a voice assistant can provide real value for users.

Step 1: Hearing the Wake Word

A voice assistant needs to know when to start listening for a command. A wake word like "Alexa" or "OK Google" activates the assistant and serves as a cue that a command will follow. But how does a voice assistant know that the wake word has been said?

Voice assistants "hear" the wake word through a device's microphone. A smart speaker like Amazon Alexa is in effect always listening: it records audio in three-second segments and immediately deletes the recording if it has not detected the wake word. Other kinds of voice assistants may listen for a wake word only when the app is open or if the user presses a button.

  • How Spending a Day in the Life of a User Helped Us Build a Product that Users Love

    Last March, Product Manager Sebasti√°n Sassi tagged along with one of our client's sales representatives to see what their typical work day is like. What he observed has allowed us to build an app that caters to users' specific needs, anticipating their daily challenges and offering streamlined solutions.

  • An AI and Machine Learning Glossary

    Artificial intelligence presents fantastic opportunities for many industries, and sophilabs is excited to be a part of this growing field in technology. For the average lay person, though, it can sometimes be a little tricky to keep up with the terminology. We've put together this short glossary to define some of the most commonly used terms in the field.

  • Git Fundamentals

    Git is a Distributed Version Control System (DVCS), a tool used to develop and maintain software. It allows you to develop software in incremental steps and gives you a view of the project's history. As a developer, this is useful as once you learn the fundamentals, you will have an easier time keeping track of your work. Learn the basic commands set to start using Git today.

  • An Agile Development Glossary

    If you're new to Agile development, all the jargon we use at sophilabs can make us sound like we're speaking an entirely different language! We've put together a glossary of Agile terms to help keep everyone on the same page.

Sign up to receive a monthly summary.