We’ve been talking about the Internet of Things in recent posts and the confluence of technologies that is giving rise to a network of connected smart devices. In that same vein, Ivee used CES 2014 to introduce its new WiFi voice-activated in-home intelligent assistant. Ivee Sleek, as the home assistant is called, seems to be an evolution of the Ivee Digit and Flex products, both of which are voice-activated alarm clocks. While Digit and Flex understand 30 simple voice commands, according to the Ivee website and the Sleek Kickstarter campaign from last summer, Sleek seems to have a broader vocabulary that allows it to act like a true intelligent assistant. Despite its greater capabilities, Sleek looks a lot like its less capable siblings, appearing in the form of a slim clock radio.
Since it’s an internet-connected device, Ivee Sleek can answer questions in the same way that GoogleNow or Siri can. You can ask Sleek about the weather forecast, for example, or for the latest price of a specific stock. Sleek is more or less stationary, though, so you have to be within close proximity to talk to it. The Kickstarter video says it can understand you from within 10 feet.
The key benefit of Ivee Sleek seems to be its ability to integrate with other smart devices in your home. It becomes a smart hub for your connected appliances. Based on the articles I’ve read, the Sleek is pre-configured to work with several major brands of connected home devices, including those from Nest, Staples Connect, Belkin We Mo devices, and more. Other devices will continue to be added to Ivee’s repertoire. With Ivee Sleek, there’s no need to hassle with setting the thermostat by hand or turning on and off your lights (assuming that these devices are the smart versions). You can just ask your home assistant to do it for you.
According to PRWeb, Ivee Sleek uses the AT&T Speech API that is powered by the AT&T Watson speech recognition engine. I assume this is the same technology used in the earlier Digit and Flex products. Based on customer reviews posted on Amazon, the voice activation software has some glitches. Some customers complain that, beyond having challenges understanding them, the Digit and Flex alarm clocks sometimes exhibit annoying behaviors. One complaint is that the alarm clock will hear snoring, misinterpret the noise as a command or question, and wake the snorer out of a deep sleep by repeating the question “How may I help you?” over and over. Hopefully the engineers have addressed some of these issues in the new product. Having a capable personal assistant that we can talk to will be a great convenience. As long as it only wakes us up when we want it to!