As most of the technologies of its kind, Amazon’s Echo range of devices can “wake up” based on a particular set of words. In Alexa’s case, it is simply that, “Alexa”.
However, its voice recognition system can sometimes mistake fake words with the actual command. So, just recently, Amazon announced a new technology which should help combat these unintentional waking ups.
Alexa Should Soon Stop Responding to Fake Wake Words
Amazon released a statement about this latest Alexa improvement on its Amazon developer blog. Posted by Ted Karczewski, the Alexa Voice Service Content Marketing Manager, on May 15, it introduced the Cloud-Based Wake Word Verification. This new feature should reportedly help improve Alexa’s wake word skills across all AVS products.
It will try to do so as the option will improve the assistant’s hearing accuracy. More exactly, it should be better equipped in identifying and classifying Alexa-like sounding words. This new identification process should then lead to a reduced number of unintentional waking ups. It will do so as it will rely on the device’s confirmation that the word is, in fact, Alexa.
Karczewski said “With this update, the wake word engine on the device handles the initial detection of ‘Alexa’ and then a secondary cloud-based check verifies the utterance.”
He then explained that, if fake wake words are detected, the verification process will once again kick in. It will redirect the device and make it close its audio stream instead of waking up. Also, it will make it turn off its LED indicator.
At the moment, third-party Alexa-enabled devices only have a single verification check process. Following this update, they will now be able to double-check by tapping into Amazon’s servers. As they send the respective audio, the main server will help establish if the device heard right.
Also, Amazon configured this new option so that Alexa’s response time will not drag out. The double check shouldn’t even be noticed in terms of response rates, according to the developer.
Presently, only the ecobee4 smart thermostat will come with the Cloud-Based Wake Word Verification. This double check against fake words will not be immediately available to all Alexa-based third-party devices. But once they do, it will come in the form of an update.
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