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Harman Embraces IBM Watson for Voice-Controlled IoT-Equipped Cognitive Rooms

As News Editor of Silicon UK, Roland keeps a keen eye on the daily tech news coverage for the site, while also focusing on stories around cyber security, public sector IT, innovation, AI, and gadgets.

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The system allows for rooms with smart tech to be controlled through natural language recognition

IBM and Harman have joined forces to use Big Blue’s Watson Internet of Things (IoT) system to inject artificial intelligence into rooms equipped with connected technology. 

The two companies have developed the Voice-Enabled Cognitive Rooms system, which as the name suggests mixed IBM’s Watson with audio technology from Harman’s sub-brands such as JBL and AKG, to allow for smart home and office hardware systems to be controlled through voice commands using natural language cognition. 

Smart rooms 

Cognitive RoomsBy connecting smart hardware to the cloud-based Watson and Watson IoT services, the Cognitive Rooms system has been designed to allow people to control sub-systems in rooms without the need to rely on physical controls. For example, an office worker could enter a conference room and through a simple spoken commands, set up a video conference and launch a presentation.

As Watson learns from the interactions its users have with it, overtime it will figure out how to automatically execute tasks and activate sub-systems based on how a person has previously used it, essentially learning their preferences.

Currently the Cognitive Rooms technology is being put to use in the Thomas Jefferson University Hospital to enable patents to interact with their room to adjust things like window blinds and lights without the need for assistance from medical staff or knowledge of the connected technology’s controls. 

“We’re solving a very distinct problem in hotel, hospital and conference rooms, where people experience unfamiliar environments yet need to perform very simple tasks, such as changing room temperature, adjusting the lighting, opening the blinds, initiating conference calls or launching a presentation,” said Kevin Morrison, senior vice president at Harman Professional Solutions. “Voice-Enabled Cognitive Rooms by Harman make for a natural and intuitive experience, especially for weary travelers or patients with special needs.”

 IBM is continually pushing its Watson technology into all manner of systems and services, from providing tech support through an Intelligent Helpdesk, to assisting Arthritis patients and serving up highlights in the US Master golf tournament

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