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The development of good and up-to-date applications requires as many innovative ideas as possible. These days, the users have become more and more sophisticated, so it is not strange at all that people ask for more interesting and useful approaches that may attract their attentions much better than before. One of these revolutionary ideas was the creation of the smart voice innovations, which became extremely popular in the last several years.
Frankly speaking, the development of all these assistant apps like siri began with the birth of iOS and its steady evolvement. The main idea of all these voice helpers is not only the creation of a piece of software that can recognize and understand the voice of a user but also an interface that can analyze that voice, respond to a user and make various calculations according to the intents of the user or the commands he or she sends to the smartphone. Due to the emergence of smart devices, which we were only able to dream about several years ago, the popularity of an idea itself develops faster than even the technology .
So in this article, today, I would like to give a good exhaustive answer to a question about “How to include a voice assistant in an app?” and provide you with several of the most popular and widely used strategies that were adopted by developers all over the world. To be honest, for today, we have three of them. The first one is an approach, which may allow us to implement a voice assistant through the integration of already existing voice technologies to your app using special APIs based on Siri and Google. The second one is the creation of an intelligent assistant based on open-source software. For instance, good examples could be Melissa, Jasper or Api.ai. And the last but not least, and the most complicated approach, is the creation of your own voice interface in an app using such tools as STT, TTS, Intelligent Tagging and others. Thus, below, I will start with the description of the very first and the most simple tool.
On the creation of apps like Siri, it is impossible to forget the pioneers in this industry, Siri itself and Google or Google Now and how developers may call the special tools from Google, which are used for the maintenance of the voice linkage between the user and the device. When it comes to the first approach and the description of those technologies that could be used by developers in order to make his or her own voice software, the easiest manner in which it could be done may be through a more or less detailed description of each of these two technologies, allowing the reader to choose the most suitable techniques that should be implemented in these programs.
Siri is one of the most popular and widely used approaches for the implementation of voice commands from a user to a device. In the early years of its existence, Siri was not really a developed extension. For instance, it was able to recognize the voice of a random person and launch a simple search according to an invoice. However, after the emergence of more and more updates for iOS and the creation of iOS 10 in 2016, it became obvious that Siri has reached its highest point of development.
For instance, today, thanks to Siri, we have these functions such as:
Search in the Internet;
Online ordering of food and renting of vehicles;
Audio and video calls;
Photo Search and many other various functions and operations;
If you want to create your own voice app, the best idea would be to use a special software from Apple, called Siri SDK, which allows you to integrate the existing technologies from other pieces of software and extensions into the app you want to develop. The main strategy on which that tool is based is the idea of special classes. This means that these intents or voice messages sent by a person are understood by the software and classified according to the special properties linked to the classes. Because of this balanced chain and the fast operation of a device, it becomes possible to carry out any needed operations. However, there could be a problem. Apple and its products usually automatically have strict rules of usage of the software and the borders of the design that could be used by the developer, which could cut your desire of an unlimited fly of your mind and fantasy.
One of the most important changes that have happened to Siri might be the updates of iOS 11. These updates are pretty important to notice, thanks to the innovations of the Apple team. The whole structure of that virtual assistant was extended with several interesting extensions and additions. First and foremost, let's emphasize that Siri now has a new voice, which is much more natural and gentle and sound like a real voice. This means that the dialogue with your virtual assistant might be more comfortable and convenient. Secondly, there is also another change which has a nice influence on the linguistic part of the software. From now on, a user may be able to translate English phrases to other languages such as Chinese, French, German, Italian and Spanish.
Moreover, it might be suitable to enlighten an innovation within the system of suggestions, which are made by Siri. From now they are collected based on your activity in Google and Safari, Mail and Messengers, as well as the news resources. Then, thanks to the implementation of several other changes, the owners of iOS 11 can operate with their bank accounts through Siri, launch transactions and account transfers, while using their voices as the only tool. Furthermore, the creation of to-do lists and notes is possible through Siri as well. Finally, Siri now gives you an opportunity to use those applications that display QR codes with no problems and complications.
As for Google, the situation is almost the same, but a bit easier. As you may know, Google Now is a sort of a thinking machine, which is able to communicate with its user on a highly technological level. So, the whole concept of the product and all of the related additions and developmental software is more complicated. But unlike Apple, Google does not have any design and programming requirements for the users of the software. However, there is also another issue that Google Now works only with applications like eBay and others. But there is a pretty simple solution to this problem. All you have to do is to register your app with Google, which will make it possible to launch a strong and full cooperation of your app and voice helper.
Nowadays, one of the most widespread approaches to the creation of any technological idea, regardless of its aim and purpose, is to use open-source software and platforms. So here, I would like to give you the top three most popular and useful open source applications and extensions that may help you create your own voice machine.
Melissa is one of the most popular and widely used open-source software developers usually make use of. The main reason for the use of such approach is as a result of its high level of simplicity. One of the main outstanding features is its similarity with the usual Lego toy, which makes the whole programming process easier and faster.
That is another developmental tool that could be used by those that want to develop a voice application on their own. In that case, we also have to emphasize that the whole structure and the way Jasper works are a bit more complicated than those that exist within the Melissa system.
Jasper is also written in Python. Just like Melissa, it is able to fully recognize platforms like OS X, Windows, Linux, Android, IOS and even C#. Moreover, Jasper's entire system could be divided into two different parts - active one and passive one. This is done in order to create a balanced system of programming flows during the coding process.
The last but not the least of open-source frameworks, which occupies a position in the list of the most popular frameworks among users is, for sure, Api.ai. It is a sort of library of various APIs that could be used to create your own voice recognition application. For instance, it recognizes the APIs for platforms like:
Node.js and many others.
As usual, in such a situation, the whole open-source framework could be gotten for free or after paying a certain amount of money. However, the only serious difference between the paid and free versions is the opportunity for the user to use a private cloud if they are using a more complicated software. But for those who are focused on serious and highly professional app development, this feature may play a pretty important role.
It is pretty obvious that the strategy for an independent development is the most complicated and a long way to achieve your dream. So in this passage, it is appropriate to enlighten you about several elements that will play the most crucial role in the whole development process. Moreover, it is also important to notice that the best virtual assistants, which are extremely popular today, began their way to the top using this strategy.
That feature has a pretty complicate and not fully clear name. However, the main strategy used for the operation is pretty simple. To be honest, STT is the concentration of the speech signal of a user, directed to the device into and understandable for a computer digital data. However, all the flows that play the most important role in the formation process are really high-tech and even some developers do not fully understand how does it work. However, in order to achieve the main goal, it is vital to use a pretty popular software, which is called CMU Phoenix. It is not only pretty easy for newcomers but also fast and modern, which has up-to-date functions needed for a successful creation of the STT process.
To be honest, the only difference between STT and TTS is that the TTS process is absolutely opposite to STT. It means that the device reorganizes the digital data in such a way that it is possible for the user to understand the whole bunch of information. And as you may have guessed, it is done through the re-arrangement of the data into sound. Besides, for that process, the same tools have to be used by the developer to achieve the goal of data transformation and transition.
Without a doubt, this part of the whole building process is the most complicated and the most important. Here, you create all of those important elements that will allow the whole system to think and make decisions. For instance, depending on certain settings, the app will make a decision on what to respond to the user based on the data that was transferred to the device through the STT system. Moreover, thanks to these features, it is also possible for an app to make automatic Internet search, calls and ordering.
To achieve this goal, you have to use AlchemyAPI. Even though this is pretty complicated, the functionality of this particular additional software may play the most essential role in the process of creating your project.
These two point may seem minor for some developers. However, their importance is also pretty high. For instance, noise controlling systems may allow you to separate the voice of the user and other outdoor sounds like car noises, other people’s voices and even animal sounds. It is done, for sure, to make the whole process of analyzing the voice by the app easier and faster and to avoid the confusion of sounds.
Voice Biometrics is also pretty important. The main reason it is done is also pretty simple. The main thing here is that in the absence of such a functionality, your voice assistant will confuse other voices with yours and follow carry out operations, which may be heard, for instance, from a TV, movie or other people in the street.
The last but not the least point is, of course, the organization of the whole process of transition of the digital data to a server and the realization of it through different tools of the server itself. Despite the fact that the whole process may be pretty simple, its background system is much more complicated. In order to avoid different problems, it is best to operate with G.711 standard, which is one of the best approach for server organization.
In all, the whole process of creating a voice assistant is pretty long and complicated. As you can see, you are able to operate with three main approaches. However, my advise on this issue is different. I believe that in order to make your own Siri or Google assistant, the best approach to follow is the second one by implementing open-source resources as the foundation for your own application. However, this statement could be 100% valid only for beginners in the field of app development. However, if you are a pretty experienced and professional programmer, the best decision may be to develop an app on your own. This means you can implement all the needed settings and calibrate the app in the most sophisticated way. I really hope that this article has helped you find the majority of the answers to those questions that were bothering you.