How Amazon Alexa keeps learning about India

Amazon Alexa has been in India for more than four years. The voice assistant, which initially debuted on Amazon Echo speakers, is currently available in a range of third-party devices including smart TVs, wearable devices like smartphones and smartwatches, as well as truly wireless stereo (TWS) earbuds and headphones. Is. And of course, Amazon has its own Echo devices. Though Alexa started its journey in India only in English, it has slowly started to understand Hindi and Hinglish – which is a mix of Hindi and English – which is popular across the country.

In this week’s episode of the Gadgets 360 podcast of classhost Akhil Arora Talks with Dilip RS, Country Manager, Alexa Skills & Voice Services Amazon IndiaTo understand Alexa’s journey in the country. Gadgets 360 audio experts in conversation Ali Pardiwalawho have reviewed several Alexa-integrated devices.

heroine Formally introduced Alexa in India through the first family of echo Speaker back in October 2017. The Echo range was initially invite-only, and was made available to all customers in February 2018. However, shortly after the initial Echo series, the voice assistant expanded through third-party devices in the country, including speakers. LOGITECH And Herman Kardon And a moto mod for motorola phone,

before the formal start of Alexa Scores of early adopters in India, including our host – were testing the experience by getting Echo speakers from outside the country. But the official launch helped Amazon acquire a wider range of datasets to glean localization. Dileep tells us Alexa now understands both Hindi and English wordswell as asa multilingual mode In which you can interact with the voice assistant in both languages ​​simultaneously.

“People who talk to Alexa in Hindi actually have 50 percent more questions,” he notes.

In 2018, Amazon introduced a skill called Cleo Which helped Alexa to learn Hindi and other Indian languages ​​directly from the users. Amazon’s engineering team later built a bilingual automatic speech recognition (ASR) system that enabled Alexa to understand Hindi and English words at the same time. The system also includes slots for content from several Indian languages ​​in Telugu, Tamil and Marathi, Dileep tells us in conversation.

“Alexa has to really understand what language the customer wants and even respond back to that,” he says.

Dileep also revealed that in the last four years, Echo devices have expanded their reach to around 85 percent pin codes in the country. These are no longer limited to a few metros but are available in cities like Kanpur, Uttar Pradesh and Bundi, Rajasthan.

Apart from its regular consumers, Amazon is seeing government school teachers in India using Alexa-powered Echo or third-party devices in their classrooms so that their students can interact more freely and improve their speech . Dileep says: “Kids are asking questions that they are not comfortable asking their teachers. Their attendance rate in school went up.”

We also talk about the privacy side of things and how Alexa works even in areas where internet connectivity isn’t on par with metro cities. You can listen to all this and more by hitting the play button on the Spotify player embedded above.

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