With their voice recognition kit, they are stronger than Iron Man

For example, it’s not necessarily a waste of time to be a student and watch a Marvel film instead of revising it. It could be the start of one great adventurevery real and what lasts years later at CES Las Vegas. 2015, Wilhelm Simonin and Vincent Leroy, both at an engineering school specializing in IT expertise but also pursuing a master’s degree in commerce in London, had something of a revelation. Tony Stark, movie hero iron man, uses an artificial intelligence called Jarvis. A technology that can control everything by voice: the lights, the shutters of his house… “We thought it was really cool and we looked for a similar solution on the internet,” says William Simonin. We realized that it doesn’t exist. Too bad because it could be really useful. So we said, “We’re going to do it.” »

The beginning of a new world for the two students who, seven years later and still in their thirties, develop and commercialize their innovation. Your artificial intelligence-based voice recognition technology is on familiar territory at CES Las Vegas. This is her fifth participation, this time with version 5 of her VDK Silbo.

The voice, interface of the future

This innovation is software, a kind of toolbox, that allows any company to easily integrate a voice interface. In a robot, a microwave, a coffee maker, a VR headset… “We have always believed that the human-voice-machine interface would be the most intuitive and logical for a human. But in 2015, we were at the very beginning of Siri. It was very early for this technology. »

Now, her company Vivoka, with its headquarters and research and development department in Metz, employs almost forty people worldwide. “When we founded the company, we had not yet finished our studies,” recalls William Simonin. We were a bit lucky because it was the right time. When we started talking about voice assistants to work on these issues, two years later, Google announced Google Home, telling everyone that the interface of the future would be voice. We were quite pioneers and we surfed this wave. It was the beginning of everything. Since there was nothing quite like Jarvis, we decided to develop our own smart home solution. She quickly got her avatar, a little raccoon named Zac.

A first success that “accelerated in times of Covid because we had many orders from different and different companies: robotics, logistics … But they were more interested in our technology than in the finished product. Above all, they needed to introduce speech recognition into their devices, systems and solutions. But it wasn’t that easy due to the almost unlimited amount of project specifics, different budgets, soundscapes, technical environments according to customers, explains William Simonin. Our strategy wasn’t scalable at all back then. Since there were too many requests and we couldn’t fulfill them, we said to ourselves: If we really want speech recognition to revolutionize human-machine interfaces, it has to be accessible to everyone. This is how the idea of ​​the VDK came about.

Operation without internet

According to Vivoka, this language technology is not only accessible and simple, but also has the advantage that it works in 42 languages. And it is “on board”, “off line”, emphasizes William Simonin. Obviously, the voice assistant doesn’t need internet to work. Your voice-controlled coffee maker even works in the middle of the desert. “This is a very big advantage for industrial plants, one of the sine qua non conditions, because we are hearing more and more about the topics of data protection and confidentiality,” emphasizes the young entrepreneur.

A notable plus in a market now worth $12 billion, according to Vivoka, while “three quarters of speech recognition players are positioned on cloud technologies.” Internet independence that can make the difference. “We are among the pioneers in this field,” says William Simonin. There are very few companies that come up with this offline technology with so many languages. And there are very few companies that have started this research. So we have a head start. » An advance that opened the doors to large industrial groups, mainly logistics companies, for Metz. And many other fields of activity are of interest. “We made a big announcement with the world leader in educational robotics called Miko. A little robot that will carry hundreds of educational games for kids. A product that will also be demonstrated at CES in Las Vegas.

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