The team at Interactive Voice has launched an Indiegogo campaign to raise funds for their ambitious new Ivee device. Last year I wrote about Interactive Voice’s Ivee Sleek. The Sleek was an improvement over Ivee’s earlier devices, the Digit and Flex products. Ivee Sleek was already a full-fledged digital assistant with voice-driven features and Internet connectivity. As I noted in the original blog post, the Sleek leveraged AT&T’s Watson speech recognition technology, which was recently acquired by Interactions.
What does Interactive Voice have planned for its latest evolution of the Ivee product? Based on the current Indiegogo campaign, the new device is a direct competitor to Amazon’s Echo. Though it’s thinner in appearance, the new Ivee device is a tall cylindrical structure somewhat reminiscent of the Echo. Many of the skills listed on Ivee’s crowdfunding page overlap with those offered by Amazon’s smart device, including:
- smart home
- streaming media
- alarms & reminders
- questions & answers
However, I noticed three functions that Ivee aspires to offer that I don’t think are currently on Echo’s skill’s list. These are:
- on demand services (Uber)
- emergency communications
- multi-room support
Ivee’s on demand service offers a quick and easy way to order an Uber ride with a voice command. The emergency communications feature enables you to call out to emergency services and could make Ivee appealing as an elder care device. The Ivee is supposed to be available at a low enough price point to allow a family to purchase multiple copies to place in different rooms around the house.
Last month I wrote about the successful Mycroft crowdfunding campaign. Mycroft is another voice-driven Internet-connected smart assistant device that aims to be in every room in your house. Mycroft offers an open source hardware platform built on Raspberry Pi and a software platform that uses Ubuntu.
Amazon Echo and Mycroft offer software development kits (SDKs) that encourage app owners and developers to build new skills for the devices. It’s not clear to me at this point whether Interactive Voice plans to offer an SDK for Ivee, but it seems that might be necessary in order to compete.
With about a month to go, the Ivee campaign is 90% funded, so it’s well on its way to successfully reaching the goal. There is an obvious interest and appetite for intelligent voice-driven devices, especially those that can connect to devices in the smart home via IoT protocols.