November 07, 2010
Amulet Remote to Record/Watch TV, Listen to Music & More Using Voice
I took a shining to Dublin-based Amulet Devices after a chat and a demo in Dublin last week. Many will remember my days with Dragon Systems/L&H and thereafter a handful of other speech-related companies, so it's no surprise when presented with a slick voice remote that controls your Windows Media Center, my ears might just perk up.
Dublin-based, five people are based on home turf and one person is based in of all places, Boise, Idaho. The company has been showing prototypes at the last two CES's although they just started shipping this past September.
They are currently being funded by Enterprise Ireland and some angel investors. Co-founder Eddy Carroll tells me more in an interview I did with him in a Dublin conference room, which unlike an American west coast one, had tons of mahogany, Victorian-colored carpets, drapes and leather couches.
Today, they're both a hardware and software company, although for anyone who has been in the hardware business, they know its much harder and more expensive than a software download or a SaaS solution.
They’ve been working on building a reseller network in the states and it looks like from their State Dealer Index, that they're well on their way to some serious distribution.
Interestingly enough, they're not using Nuance, the dominating speech recognition leader who has been gobbling up voice companies for years.
The engine behind the voice commands is from Microsoft, which frankly, given its limited vocabulary and the fact that it only needs to tap into a database of 200-300 base control commands, it doesn't have to be the most robust solution on the market. The main questions for consumers will be: is it accurate, respond to me quickly and easy-to-use?
While the full vocabulary may include anywhere from 5,000-10,000 individual matches, most people will end up using the same commands to control their entertainment center again and again.
Furthermore, the system learns from your voice over time, improving the accuracy and tweaking the acoustic model every time you use it.
You can record and watch TV, listen to your favorite music, and view DVDs, videos and photos, all using simple voice commands. For example, you could simply say "Watch Channel NBC" to change the TV channel to NBC. To view an episode of Mad Men recorded last night, say "Watch Program Mad Men". If you want to listen to music, could simply say "Play Artist U2".
They're exploring the set-top market and cloud computing space to see what kind of opportunities lie there in the future. For now, it's about distribution and getting new customers. Below, Eddy talks about some of the features and shows us how easy it is to get set up and use. Initial price point is $259.
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