The Biggest Voice Assistant and AI Company from China You’ve Never Heard Of
One of the first companies to hold a press conference at this year’s CES was iFLYTEK. Although you may have never heard of it, iFLYTEK was named the sixth smartest company in the world by the MIT Technology Review last year just behind Google’s Alphabet. One reason could be that the 20-year-old Chinese company’s AI technology is more of a white label assistant, powering devices behind the scenes. The company’s real-time translation open platform has been used by more than 800,000 developers worldwide supporting more than 1.7 individual devices with an average of 4.5 billion interactions daily. One of the most prominent users of iFLYTEK’s technology is China’s largest online retailer, JD.com, which used the company’s speech interaction technologies to develop JD Connect, a voice assistant which controls a range of smart home products including the LingLong DingDong smart speaker.
Quietly Smart Products that Rival the Tech Giants’
In addition to having a white label voice assistant and AI technologies, iFLYTEK also has a few products of their own of which they had a few on display at CES Unveiled. The most impressive was a tiny translator simply called the iFLYTEK Translator 2.0. The Translator 2.0 is simple in design and has five buttons and a screen, which is a new feature of the 2.0. I simply pushed a button and spoke a sentence in English and within a second, the Translator 2.0 had transcribed my sentence into Chinese on the screen as well as audibly. iFLYTEK claims the translations are completely accurate 98% of the time and it can translate more than 30 languages.
Another product available for demo at CES was a social robot for children called the AlphaEgg. In addition to having the same capabilities as a smart display speaker, the robot is also able to distinguish children’s voices, turn to address whoever is speaking to it and convey emotions with eye movements.
Despite its low profile, iFLYTEK’s AI, voice and visual recognition technologies are recognized as some of the best in the world and the company’s own flagship products are on par with that of its flashier, more well-known competitors. A company spokesperson stated that in 2019, iFLYTEK hopes to work with more companies to provide third-party support with its technology and software innovations and to increase its scope of work with JD.com.