The IBM research laboratories in Haifa, Watson IoT and Harman International have recently developed a system of smart rooms, also called cognitive rooms, with verbal control.
One potential customer for the service is hotels. Instead of phoning the reception desk and asking how to turn off the air conditioner or lower the television volume, hotel guests can simply ask the question aloud. Loudspeakers installed in the room will receive the question, process it, and provide the answer. Harman, a manufacturer of entertainment and information systems, was sold to Samsung last year for $8 billion.
Harman is already active in Israel, having acquired local startups Redbend and TowerSec. The new systems, which will reach the market in the coming months, will also be able to help patients in hospitals. The patient can ask when breakfast is being served, which doctor is treating him, etc. The new product is part of the Internet of Things (IoT) trend, and can also be useful for cruise ships, board rooms, etc.
IBM Haifa IoT division senior scientist Segev Wasserkrug said today, "The room is operated by verbal orders, based on technology developed by researchers in IBM's Haifa laboratory. The research team, in cooperation with Watson IoT, is developing an integrated system based on Watson IoT's call services. The system understands the user's needs, attitudes, and wishes. The system has been planned so that it will be able to deliver significant insights resulting from its understanding of what the consumer says."
"These insights are produced through the use of new or old 'call agents' communicating with various websites and IoT and cognitive services. All of these jointly generate a 'cognitive space' that communicates with the user in a hospital or hotel, for example."
Harman senior VP Kevin Morrison said, "We are solving a problem characteristic of hotels, hospitals, and board rooms, in which people encounter an unfamiliar environment, but still have to carry out simple tasks, such as changing the temperature in a room, adjusting the lighting to personal preferences, opening curtains, operating conference calls, and making presentations. The voice-controlled cognitive rooms offered by Harman provide a natural and intuitive experience that is especially needed for patients with special needs and tired travelers arriving at a new hotel room."
Published by Globes [online], Israel Business News - www.globes-online.com - on April 26, 2017
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