Harman and IBM Watson IoT unveil voice-enabled cognitive rooms

Harman and IBM Watson Internet of Things (IoT) have unveiled voice-enabled cognitive rooms. Using IBM’s Watson artificial intelligence technology and Harman AKG microphones, JBL speakers and AMX AV control and switching systems, the companies bring connected experiences to medical facilities, corporate offices, hotels, cruise ships and other hospitality environments.

Harman is part of IBM’s cognitive collaboratories based in its $200 million Watson IoT global headquarters in Munich. In this facility today, Harman is demonstrating the capabilities of its in-room cognitive concierge in a conference room setting.

IBM’s cognitive technologies are embedded into Harman soundbars and alarm clocks with other form factors being developed, that users can interact with using natural language. Now consumers can simply ask questions or issue commands with their voice when in a room. These requests are then sent to the Watson cloud and Watson IoT services, which work with Harman's technology to allow people to control in-room subsystems without having to physically perform any manual tasks and trying to figure the new systems out. For example, now when an employee enters a conference room they can start a video conference, launch a presentation and more using their voice. In the future, these tasks will be executed automatically based on what the system has learned about the employee based on previous meetings. The system gets smarter about the person and their preferences over time.

Voice-Enabled Cognitive Rooms also feature enterprise-grade software tools that can help in-house technical and guest service staff members increase operational efficiency. For example, housekeeping staff can simply say, “Send up an engineer to fix the shower” in their native language. Watson’s multilingual capabilities enable organizations to accommodate a wide variety of users from different countries with an ever-growing list of supported languages.

The system is activated by a 'wake word', unlike other devices, the wake word for Voice-Enabled Cognitive Rooms by Harman is fully customisable. This allows businesses an additional opportunity to brand their experience. In addition to JBL speakers, the system includes AMX NX-1200 Integrated Controller, the AMX Massio MCP-106 6-Button ControlPad and the AMX Metreau-Button Ethernet Keypad.

Voice-Enabled Cognitive Rooms by Harman for enterprise applications will be available in mid-2017.

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