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Thursday, April 30, 2020

New Smart Assistant: Josh.ai

A new offering in the space, has been a while since seeing that.     Is it a time when people will want to invest in bew infrastructure?

Smart Home Voice Assistant Startup Josh.AI Closes $11M Funding Round   By Eric Hal Schwartz

Smart home voice automation startup Josh.ai has raised $11 million in a Series A funding round. The startup bills its platform as a premium, privacy-centered alternative to what Amazon, Google, or Apple offer, with minimal data sent to the cloud.

Josh.ai runs its eponymous voice assistant through its Josh Micro smart speakers. The AI is connected to whatever devices are available, and the entire system can be run by voice or through an iOS app. When the company began operating in 2015, it focused solely on software, with its platform operated through a Mac Mini. After closing an $8 million funding round in 2017, the startup began to work on the hardware side of the equation.

“We set out to be purely in software development, but we realized we were getting stuck as a software company integrating with Echo and others,” Josh.ai CEO Alex Capecelatro told Voicebot in an interview. “Building hardware allowed us to go a lot deeper into privacy. Now, it lets us not go into the cloud for much of anything. Everything runs on the microprocessor.”

The platform can handle any number of smart lighting, environmental controls, security, and entertainment devices, thanks to partnerships with the manufacturers. Capecelatro described Sonos as Josh’s number one integration partner, but pretty much any Internet of Things device can be part of the network. The AI is designed to understand what people want based on context and can run multiple commands from a single request. That’s part of what sets Josh apart from its competitors.

“All of the commands are based on context,” Capecelatro said. “For instance, if you say ‘turn it up,’ it will look at what it might refer to and what you’ve said recently. If a lightbulb is at 50% it will likely make it brighter. We’ve also been stringing mobile commands together for years. Google is only just starting to catch up to that now.” ... " 

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