Cerence has released a new Cognitive Arbiter that was built to improve the interoperability of virtual assistants and other voice-based services. In plain terms, that means that the Arbiter will eliminate confusion in an environment in which multiple virtual assistants are active at the same time, as is the case when people bring a smartphone (or another connected device) into a car that has a built-in virtual assistant of its own.
To that end, the Cognitive Arbiter essentially acts as a digital switchboard operator that directs any verbal requests to the service best equipped to handle them. For instance, a request to play music would be sent to Spotify, while an attempt to make a dinner reservation would be sent to OpenTable.
In all cases, the request will be delegated to the appropriate assistant even if the driver does not identify the platform by name. That means that Alexa will open the garage door at home, even if the word ‘Alexa’ is never spoken.
The Cognitive Arbiter is compatible with most major virtual assistants, including Alexa, Siri, Cortana, and Google Assistant, in addition to Tencent and Alibaba. It is designed for connected cars, and will give manufacturers more control over the flow of data in their vehicles.
“We are not going to have a single voice assistant for all things. As a result, voice assistant arbitration is a necessary development that can offer a better user experience,” said Voicebot.ai Founder and CEO Bret Kinsella. “This will be particularly helpful in the car where it can reduce the cognitive load on the driver while providing a more personalized experience.”
The Cognitive Arbiter will learn user preferences and become more responsive over time. It can also understand context-based requests like “Cancel my last order.”
The new platform is launching shortly after Cerence partnered with LG Electronics, and expressed its support for the company’s future AI development framework. Cerence recently introduced a genderless option for voice assistants, and has since released its first quarterly report as an independent company.