Originally published at: https://mycroft.ai/blog/a-custom-voice-assistant-for-your-business-mycroft/
Businesses want to reach their customers with voice assistants. Despite the fact that the Mycroft stack is just now approaching a business-ready state, there are a lot of large corporations working with Mycroft in their R&D facilities. In most cases, they are working with Mycroft because existing solutions from other providers don’t meet their needs.
By the time we hear from most companies, they have already developed a skill on a proprietary voice platform. However, they’ve found that the proprietary platform doesn’t allow them the control and flexibility they need. They want a more custom voice assistant.
The Limited Options
Sometimes their needs are as simple as wakeword customization. Most businesses want customers to start interacting with their assistant using a name other than “Alexa” or “Google” or “Siri”. They want to build a branded agent that can interact with customers on their behalf. That means building a personality that has a name unique to their brand.
Other times businesses are looking to implement features that Big Tech doesn’t allow. One common feature businesses ask for is access to the raw audio on the device. This allows businesses to do things like biometric authentication, or evaluate the audio for signs of neurological disorders.
Businesses are also looking for predictability. Sure, the tech giants are being very friendly with their technology today. Everything is free, API keys are easy to come by, and they want everyone playing on their platform. Unfortunately, we’ve seen this story play out before. First, everything is free. Then the company begins to monetize, and pretty soon only exclusive partners have access to the platform. That means businesses that invest heavily in agents supplied by Big Tech run the risk of being fleeced down the road.
The Open Solution
Here at Mycroft, we’ve built a platform that puts these concerns to rest. The software that underpins our agent is both open and customizable. Businesses can create custom wake words which means they can name their assistant anything from “Robert” to “Natasha” to “Chen Lee”. They can also, for a very small investment, hire a voice actor and create a synthetic voice that fits their brand. Personally, I’m looking forward to the first voice assistant that uses Morgan Freeman, though I think James Earl Jones would also make a great voice.
One of the big issues Mycroft puts to rest is predictability around technological availability. The core software is open, and the back-end software can be run on-premises or in a private cloud. This means companies have complete control of the stack and know that they’ll continue to have access to the technology regardless of any changes to Mycroft’s business model.
All in all, companies who are looking to deploy voice technology in call centers, automobiles, consumer goods, and anywhere else would be well-served to look at the Mycroft stack as a possible solution. Open solutions have often been widely adopted by industry with great results and the Mycroft Community stands ready to provide one for this new and fast-growing market.