QUOTE OF THE DAY
“Never Send a Human to Do a Machine’s Job” – Agent Smith (The Matrix)
MICROSOFT FINALLY JUMPS IN ON THE SMART SPEAKER BANDWAGON
Harman Kardon and Microsoft collaborate to create ‘Cortana-powered competitor’ for Amazon Echo!
WHAT MAKES IT DIFFERENT THAN ECHO?
Unlike Amazon, Microsoft have officially licensed the use of their AI Assistant to be featured on Harman Kardon ‘Invoke’ smart speaker, which also functions as a regular high-quality Bluetooth speaker. And thanks to Harman Kardon’s prowess in audio engineering it comes powered with three woofers alongside tweeters for a wholesome 360-degree sound. Microsoft official Marcus Ash expressed his joy on this in a Microsoft Blog, saying
“We’re excited to share that today, our partner Harman Kardon, released new details about the previously announced voice-activated speaker featuring Cortana”.
Therefore, ‘Invoke’ can be viewed as an extremely potential rival to Amazon Echo, especially with its superior audio quality thanks to the integrated Harman Kardon technology.
WHEN CAN WE EXPECT IT IN STORES?
Unfortunately, not a lot of details have yet been revealed by either Microsoft or Harman Kardon regarding the possible launch date or price. But since it’s being marketed as competition for Echo, we can expect a similar price range. Both have listed specs about Invoke and its superior voice and music control and compatibility with other smart devices.
HOW WILL IT BENEFIT MICROSOFT?
Invoke promises to be a turning point for Microsoft’s AI assistant Cortana, that hasn’t been used to its full potential. Since not a lot of people use voice commands while using a PC or laptop, Cortana’s integration with Invoke improves its chances of being more familiar among users. Also, as Cortana relies on Bing search, it shows far more comprehensibility than Amazon Alexa.
WHAT NEXT THEN?
Microsoft have been working hard to push AI based technologies in almost every sphere and it is clear through ‘Invoke’ that it will continue to do so in the future as well. Another Microsoft official Andrew Shuman quoted
“If I think about the kind of AI revolution that’s going on, it’s very much created by new increase in data being available and cloud service being able to run millions of computations”.
This suggests that AI and machine learning is certainly the new trend among technology companies and Microsoft clearly wants to spearhead the movement.
UBER FREIGHT READY TO LAUNCH THE COMPANY ON A BIGGER PLAYING FIELD
Uber ventures into bigger waters with Uber freight truck division.
WHAT IS IT NOW?
Ever since Uber started on the self-driving car venture, they have been busy acquiring a lot of businesses and technologies. Last year, Uber announced the acquisition of Otto, a startup involved with developing self-driving freight trucks. Hence, it shouldn’t come as a surprise that they have finally decided to launch their own long-haul freight division in hopes of someday incorporating autonomous technology. Although their self-driving car hasn’t seen a lot of positive developments this year, the newly launched service will certainly be a challenging endeavor.
WHAT’S THE WORST THAT COULD HAPPEN?
Uber’s self-driving project came to a bitter and unexpected halt after a lawsuit with Waymo, the self-driving division of Google. Therefore, it certainly looks like a desperate attempt to revive their losses through the technology from Otto. But since one of their self-driving trucks had previously delivered a shipment successfully to Budweiser, it doesn’t sound like a step-back in Uber’s driverless dreams.
Just like Uber’s other services, Uber Freight is also supposed to be accessible to customers via a smartphone booking app. Although the company’s initial plan was only to introduce the service through 3rd party trucks. However, it is much different now as they can certainly afford sending out their own fleet of trucks.