TiVo Partners With Pindrop to Add Voice Profiles and Personalized Suggestions
Voice biometrics and authentication developer Pindrop Solutions is partnering with TiVo to bring its vocal recognition technology to the entertainment service in over-the-top (OTT) devices arriving later this year. Pindrop’s tech can identify people by the sound of their voice, enabling TiVo to tailor its content search to the individual, a bit like Google Assistant’s Voice Match or Alexa Voice Profiles.
The partnership reflects both the advances in voice technology and the unending deluge of entertainment options available when turning on a television. TiVo wants to narrow that content firehose to a more manageable stream by focusing on what the viewer might actually want to watch. Recommendations by algorithms aren’t always helpful at the best of times, and multiple people’s viewing choices feeding into the system can lead to a greater proportion of irrelevant or downright bizarre suggestions. Plus, parents don’t want their adult dramas and their young child’s educational shows influencing TiVo simultaneously.
Integrating Pindrop’s Deep Voice technology into its voice assistant gives TiVo the foundation for avoiding those pitfalls by setting up profiles of individuals. The company’s tech breaks down voices into more than 250 characteristics, including intention, frequency, and pattern. Each voice is analyzed and tagged accordingly. Pindrop claims its AI is accurate to a level commensurate with the company’s name, even if the speaker is in a loud room, wearing a mask, or has a cold.
“We believe that with our state-of-the-art voice authentication technology combined with TiVo’s expertise in the OTT video space, we’ll be able to unlock new experiences for consumers across the globe… and we’re just getting started,” Pindrop CEO Vijay Balasubramaniyan said.
Once the speaker is identified, TiVo can make suggestions for new content after analyzing what that person has watched previously. TiVo’s knowledge graph engine continually adds new data from digital sources to improve its understanding of what people ask for and predict what people might want to watch. Pindrop’s tech will operate in the background of the TiVo voice assistant and making sure the data on what people watch or ask about is filed to the right voice profile. That includes when using the TiVo voice assistant’s quote-based search function, which pulls up content when the speaker quotes a movie or TV show.
Personalizing smart device experiences of all kinds is becoming the norm. Voice assistants linked to smart speakers and smart TVs, even cars like the new Mercedes-Benz line, are all increasingly able to determine who is operating them and configuring lights, car mirror placement, and other preferences accordingly. But, smart televisions are easily one of the most competitive areas of the smart home, and TiVo is going up against the biggest names in tech. Google and Amazon both released new set-top devices for Chromecast and Fire TV, respectively, not long ago. TiVo has been keen to expand its services as much as possible, including reaching a deal with Australia’s Foxtelto add TiVo’s voice search platform to its smart TV line.
“Contextual awareness is key when engaging users through a Natural User Interface,” TiVo senior director of product and conversation services Jon Heim said. “Beyond just understanding what was said, we want to understand the context of the situation to drive intelligent system behavior in the moment. The ability to distinguish between different members of a household based on their voice is an example of this contextual awareness, enabling us to provide an unprecedented level of personalization through an experience tailored to that specific person.”