Baidu's Personal Assistant Will Power Harman's Speakers

Baidu A.I is basically the technology that will become Baidu's Amazon Alexa or Siri competitor, 0r at least what they hope will eventually help create a worthy competitor. Following the success of Amazon's Echo speaker which utilize Alexa, Baidu has decided to team up with speaker company Harman Kardon and, as part of the deal, the companies will jointly develop a personal assistant that will soon power Harman's speakers. Interestingly though, the announcement comes just a couple of days after Amazon announced its partnership with Sonos, which will see Alexa power future Sonos speakers.

The new partnership, which was announced at Baidu's annual World conference, will see voice-activated Harman speakers allow users to carry out a number of simple tasks by talking to the speaker, such as shopping, searching the internet or telling the speaker to play music. “Baidu A.I. technologies that will be incorporated into Harman Kardon include automatic speech recognition (ASR) in English and Mandarin, on-device wake word, natural language understanding (NLU) and processing (NLP), text-to-speech (TSS), voiceprint, a recommendation system, and a dialog system,” a Baidu spokesperson said.

As of now, neither company has provided a timeframe for when consumers may be able to get their hands on a voice activated Harman speaker to place inside their home, but work on the speakers and the virtual assistant will start immediately, so hopefully the wait won't be too long. Baidu already has some experience with assistants, though, as the company announced its virtual assistant Duer last year at Baidu World.

This isn't the first partnership between Baidu and Harman, whose brands include JBL and Mark Levinson, as they jointly announced Carlife in January 2015 and have been working on it ever since. With Carlife, drivers can make calls, get directions and also use third-party apps and, thanks to Harmans presence in the car industry, the companies could easily become leaders in the new market and, eventually, compete with the likes of Android Auto and Apple's CarPlay. It's clear that both Baidu and Harman are serious about the future of virtual assistants but its yet to be seen if both companies can create a worthy Alexa competitor. Do you think they will be successful? Let us know in the comments below.

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About the Author
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Joshua Swingle

Staff Writer
Born in London and raised in Spain. I Love traveling, taking pictures and, most of all, anything tech-related. Also a pretty big fan of binge-watching TV, especially Netflix shows.
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