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Glossary

Everything there is to know about the Voice Assistants space.
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Alexa

Alexa is an intelligent voice assistant by Amazon, introduced in 2014 when Amazon launched Echo smart speakers. In simple terms, Echo is what you see in front of you while Alexa is the one which handles everything in the back.

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Alexa Skills

Alexa Skill is like an application but built on Alexa that can perform a set of functions based on the user utterances. Businesses can add skills to Alexa to allow their consumers to perform a set of tasks directly from Alexa.

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Amazon Echo

Amazon Echo are first-party smart speakers developed by Amazon which connect to Alexa to listen to Voice Commands by users. These smart speakers do more than just playing music and are being used extensively today to make homes smarter.

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Automatic Speech Recognition (ASR)

Automatic Speech Recognition (ASR) is a subfield of computational linguistics that enables machines to recognise speech and convert the speech data into textual form.

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Bixby

Bixby is a voice-powered virtual assistant developed by Samsung Electronics that runs on Samsung Smartphones and Samsung Devices like refrigerators and watches.

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Colloquial Terms

Colloquial terms are terms that are commonly spoken during casual communication. These terms are not bound by language usage rules and came into existence due to regular casual usage.

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Conversation Interface

The interface of the system where the user interacts with the voice assistant to perform functions. This interface is allows the users to visualise the working of the assistant and modify settings.

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Conversational User Interface

Conversational User Interface is a carefully designed user interface with an aim to create a conversational flow between the user and the voice assistant.

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Cortana

Cortana is a virtual assistant developed by Microsoft to perform tasks such as setting reminders and answering questions for the user. It started off as a B2C product but Microsoft has now pivoted it for B2B customers and their internal apps.

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Custom Voice Assistants

Custom Voice Assistants are customisable and can be optimised based on requirements. These voice assistants are built to perform specific tasks and empower their users.

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Domain Specific Voice Assistant

Domain-Specific Voice Assistants are voice assistants with a specific purpose and they are generally powerful enough to perform specific advanced and complex tasks. These voice assistants are designed keeping in mind their usage and user characteristics.

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Echo Devices

Echo devices are smart speakers developed by Amazon which connect to Alexa to listen to Voice Commands by users to perform functions. These smart speakers do more than just playing music and are being used extensively today to make homes smarter.

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General Purpose Voice Assistant

General Purpose Voice Assistants are voice assistants that don't have any specific usage or motive. They can perform generalised functions but might not perform complex and advanced tasks. These assistants are simple to use and can understand simple voice commands.

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Google Assistant

Google Assistant is a conversational, intelligent virtual assistant that interacts with users on the Android Phones and smart home devices. In the early days, it made the lives of people easier by doing simple tasks but with time, it has evolved to work efficiently with smart home appliances and perform semi-complex tasks.

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Hot Word

Voice command that acts as a trigger to activate the Voice Assistant to answer user's queries. It can be a word or set of words like "Alexa" or "Hey Google" and adds a human touch to the assistants.

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In-App Voice Assistant

Voice Assistants that are present inside applications with an aim to perform functions inside that particular application. These assistants are added to make the apps accessible and user-friendly.

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Intent

Intent is here defined as the motive of the user utterance.

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Linguistics

Linguistics is the study of languages and helps the developers in understanding the several aspects of languages ranging from syntax to semantics to pragmatics. Linguistics in Voice Technology world helps in defining the systems to understand the user utterances.

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Localisation

Localisation is the process of modifying and optimising the existing system to adjust to the local market and user expectations.

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Multilingual Support

Support for multiple languages by systems that can understand voice commands in more than one language. Today, the voice assistants are designed to understand multiple languages to accommodate users from diverse regions. This improves the acceptance rate of the voice assistants.

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Natural Language

Natural Language is any language that evolved due to regular day-to-day usage without any conscious planning. These languages are often not bound by language rules.

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Natural Language Processing (NLP)

Subfield of Computer Science that deals with AI to enable machines to comprehend human languages and perform actions.

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Natural Language Understanding (NLU)

A subfield of Computer Science that deals with AI to enable machines to understand human languages.

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Samsung Bixby

Bixby is a virtual assistant developed by Samsung Electronics that runs on Samsung Smartphones.

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Smart Devices

Smart devices are devices connected with other appliances and perform actions on them by listening to user utterances and other inputs.

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Smart Speakers

Smart speakers like Echo, Google Mini, etc are devices that can perform advanced functions often using voice commands. In addition to playing music, these speakers are often voice enables to accept voice commands from users to operate smart home appliances, read out news or do generic tasks.

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Speech Recognition

Speech Recognition is a functionality where the voice assistant identifies the user from their voice command. This is generally used with a security perspective in mind and to enable voice technology only for those who are recognised by the system.

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Speech To Text

Speech-To-Text functionality converts user utterances into textual format. This is used by voice assistants to convert the voice commands into machine understandable language.

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Text To Speech (TTS)

Text-To-Speech or TTS functionality converts textual content to machine-generated voice utterances. This is often used to read aloud and is an essential part of the conversation design.

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Text To Voice

Text-To-Voice functionality converts textual content to machine-generated voice utterances. This is often used to read aloud and is an essential part of the conversation design.

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Trigger Word

Voice command that acts as a trigger to activate the Voice Assistant to answer user's queries. It can be a word or set of words like "Alexa" or "Hey Google" and adds a human touch to the assistants.

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User Interface

User Interface (UI) is the space where the interaction between the user and the machine happens inside the system.

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User Journey

User Journey is a set of predefined processes that happen in order to improve the user experience. These journeys are often pre-defined and accept a set of voice commands to trigger them.

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User Utterance

User utterances are voice commands that are spoken with the aim to get voice assistants to perform specific functions. It can be one word, a set of words, or a sentence based on the intent of the user.

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Vernacular Language Support

Support for languages spoken commonly in a particular region for which the system is designed.

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Virtual Assistant

Virtual Assistants are often intelligent personal assistants that can perform personal tasks for the users. Generally, these assistants understand Voice Commands.

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Voice Action

Voice Action is a feature where users can perform functions using Voice Commands. Performing actions using voice is faster and accessible. Users who are not comfortable with the UI of the application can also perform actions using the voice action feature. For e.g "Cancel my last order".

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Voice Activated

Voice Activated is a state of the system where the voice technology is enabled in the system for it to understand voice commands.

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Voice Assistant

Voice Assistant is a virtual assistant that uses speech recognition, natural language processing and speech synthesis to take actions to help its users. These assistants have evolved quickly and can perform several complex tasks today. Read our comprehensive guide on Voice Assistants here.

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Voice Assisted Chatbot

Voice Assisted Chatbots are chatbots powered with voice technology that enables them to understand voice commands and perform functions accordingly. These chatbots generally accept inputs via both Voice and Touch. Voice inputs are enabled to make these chatbots accessible and better.

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Voice Augmented Experience (Vax)

VAX or Voice Augmented eXperience is the concept of augmenting or enhancing an existing experience (usually GUI and/or touch-based app) with voice.

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Voice Bots

Voicebots are virtual assistants that use speech recognition, natural language processing and speech synthesis to take actions to help its users.

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Voice Commands

Voice Commands are spoken utterances that a voice assistant can comprehend and perform actions based on that.

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Voice Control

Voice Control is an accessibility feature where the user can perform functions using Voice Commands. All smart home appliances are bundled with voice control features to allow easy access to them. Voice Control is an accessibility feature where the user can perform functions using Voice Commands.

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Voice Enabled

Voice Enabled is a state where a system (Website, Mobile, Speaker, etc) have added Voice Technology and support actions through voice commands.

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Voice Enabled Apps

Voice Enabled apps are Mobile applications that have added Voice Technology and support actions through voice commands. These apps have an in-app voice assistant or voice functionality that can perform a set of functions inside the application.

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Voice First

Voice First is an approach where a system's default approach for accepting commands is through voice input.

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Voice In Apps

Voice In Apps is a state where an application is powered with voice technology to comprehend user utterances and perform actions accordingly.

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Voice Input

Voice Input is a form of input that is made using utterances spoken by the users.

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Voice Integration

Voice Integration is the process where voice technology is integrated into existing systems like apps, websites, speakers, etc.

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Voice Interaction

Voice Interaction is the process of interacting with existing systems using voice commands. This includes any voice command given to the voice enabled devices.

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Voice Navigation

Voice Navigation is the movement of user inside an app or a website using voice commands. This is often enabled by In-App Voice Assistants to allow their users to move through complex app menus without putting in efforts.

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Voice Recognition

Voice Recognition is a functionality where the voice assistant identifies the user from their voice command. This is generally used with a security perspective in mind and to enable voice technology only for those who are recognised by the system.

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Voice Search

Voice Search is a functionality where users can search using voice commands. Voice search is on average 3 times faster than the traditional touch and type search.

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Voice To Text

Voice-To-Text functionality converts user utterances into textual format. This is used by voice assistants to convert the voice commands into machine understandable language.

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Voice User Experience

User experience of voice interfaces that includes the UI, Functionalities, Support Prompts, Activation/Deactivation sounds, etc. Read more about this here.

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Voice User Interface (VUI)

User interface that can be used through voice commands to perform actions. This interface is designed with keeping in mind the conversational nature of the assistants and the users. It includes any icon, help prompts, output and animations that are made available to improve the experience.

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Wake Word

Voice command that acts as a trigger to activate the Voice Assistant to answer user's queries. It can be a word or set of words like "Alexa" or "Hey Google" and adds a human touch to the assistants.

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