Bespoken Debuts Test Robot for Voice AI Hardware and Software
Bespoken has developed a Test Robot that performs analog tests on voice-based hardware and software, mimicking human testing. The new robot extends Bespoken’s voice testing beyond voice apps in a way that’s necessary as voice technology companies and their ideas proliferate.
Bespoken is best known for its virtual diagnostic tool, which is used by thousands of developers on most voice platforms to test, troubleshoot, and monitor voice apps for problems. The Test Robot goes beyond that function and into the realm of hardware by essentially recreating the way humans talk to voice apps, as can be seen in the test video at the top. The device can handle voice apps built on custom voice platforms as well as existing ones like those created by Amazon, Google, Apple, and Samsung.
“We were getting a lot of requests from clients to do this kind of testing, so we decided to build a [robot] that could recreate human tests,” Bespoken chief evangelist Emerson Sklar told Voicebot in an interview. “It really works as an extension of what we already do, but in cases where the virtual device would not be an option.”
Sklar said he sees the Test Robot as ideal for purpose-specific devices with voice AIs. That list includes smart home robots, vehicular AIs, and industry-specific devices for healthcare and other verticals. The second potential audience for the Test Robot is voice-powered hardware and apps that reside on the major voice platforms but lack access to all of their testing abilities because they are third-party creations.
“Core platforms can do tests that third-party developers don’t have access to,” Sklar said. “Tests for apps built by Siri and Alexa are not always available to [third-party] developers. We can test the software the way it will perform in the real world on those platforms. They don’t need to be built by [the platform developers] to test them out.”
The demo video shows how the robot is enclosed to recreate the environment that the designers want to test. For when there are many use cases, the robot is wrapped in a soundproof enclosure so that multiple tests can be performed without interference. Automated and continuous testing and monitoring are crucial to Bespoken’s product, and the end-to-end model they’ve built with both the robot and the virtual testing is unique in its breadth. Even with just the virtual testing, Bespoken has saved its clients thousands of hours in manual effort, Sklar said. The Test Robot, affectionately known as the Robollama in honor of Bespoken’s logo and Peruvian roots, could bring that benefit to a whole new world of Voice AI.