Voice Interoperability
News

New Standard in Voice Interoperability

Voice activation controls are garnering new interest amongst consumers.  Apple’s Siri and Amazon’s Alexa have helped bring a new frontier in voice controlled device activation.  Accordingly, it is not surprising that new standards to shape this field are emerging, says Gaurav Mohindra.

Amazon recently announced that a consortium of technology companies are working together to devise an initiative to foster compatibility amongst devices and products such that users may interchange said devices.  The commonality between the companies is the understanding that voice driven commands will shape technology commands, and user adoption will rise.  Working together, such companies, can determine how one device can operate in a host of modalities for even wider reach and broader adoption.

 

At least 30 companies are said to be involved in the new initiative, including: Amazon, Baidu, BMW, Bose, Cerence, ecobee, Harman, Logitech, Microsoft, Salesforce, Sonos, Sound United, Sony Audio Group, Spotify and Tencent; telecommunications operators like Free, Orange, SFR and Verizon; hardware solutions providers like Amlogic, InnoMedia, Intel, MediaTek, NXP Semiconductors, Qualcomm Technologies, Inc., SGW Global and Tonly; and systems integrators like CommScope, DiscVision, Libre, Linkplay, MyBox, Sagemcom, StreamUnlimited and Sugr.

It’s interesting such a wide, diverse array of participating companies.  Having consumer electronics companies working with auto companies and telecome – shows that a broad approach is key for wide adoption, says Gaurav Mohindra.

It’s not uncommon for companies to work together to build out such a mutually beneficial standard.  Typically such standard developments include the participation of companies having standard essential patents (SEPs).  These SEPs become mandatory for allowance to participate within the standard.  When licensing the standard, SEPs must be licensed in a fair, reasonable, and non-discriminatory (FRAND) manner.  This threshold is a legal principal well established in law. 

Companies participating in the Voice Interoperability Initiative will work with one another to ensure customers have the freedom to interact with multiple voice services on a single device. Amongst the other participating companies, Qualcomm chipsets will be foundational in supporting a wide use in CES, automotive, and audio/video devices to ensure the same or similar framework will be employed across a wide variety of modalities – such that consumers may be able to leverage their voice across a wide spectrum and yield the same or similar intended response and action, says Gaurav Mohindra.

Amazon is expected to release a variety of new hardware devices to support and comply with the new initiative, and in doing so help expand its reach and adoption rates.

Blockchain
News

A Basic Primer on Blockchain Technology

Blockchain technology has been getting a lot of recent attention.  It has been deemed the New Internet, and industries are quickly trying to incorporate the technology to simplify existing processes in secure and meaningful ways, says Gaurav Mohindra.  The following primer will explain the basics of blockchain technology.  This reference is useful for those looking to understand the elementary concepts of what makes up the blockchain.

A blockchain is essentially a list of records.  These records can be called blocks.  Blocks are encrypted using various cryptographic techniques.  Each block is unique, in that, it contains a reference to the block that precedes it along with transaction data.  Accordingly, the blocks can then hold a sequential order. The transaction data can essentially represent anything. 

The blocks are designed, largely through cryptography, such that the transaction data cannot be modified, says Gaurav Mohindra.  The purpose of this is to create a record (of a transaction) stored in time.  The transaction can between two parties.  Assume two people are transacting on a vehicle.  The block would represent the entire transaction between the two parties.  And, the transaction data would include information on the vehicle (year, make, model, Vehicle Information number, the purchase amount, mileage, etc), and also include information on the buyer and seller. 

Blockchain-Technology
Blockchain-Technology

Once that buyer decides to sell the vehicle in a subsequent and separate transaction, the new transaction would be represented as a new block.  The new block would be in the same “chain” as the past block – but would include the transaction data associated with the 2nd transaction.  By design, one would be able to view the entire vehicle ownership history of a vehicle through a safe and secure modality.  This is a significant improvement on how vehicle transaction information is collected, stored, and referenced today.  One improvement is that it is uniform across all states, and secondly, blockchain can help ensure that accurate data is being stored about the transaction.

Another benefit of deploying blockchain is that it carries no transaction cost.  There are costs in maintaining the architecture and infrastructure.  But there is no cost to adding blocks to a chain.

In the above example of a vehicle transaction, once a user initiates a block representing a transaction – that block is then verified by numerous computers around the net.  This verification process ensures the veracity of the transaction and the legitimacy of the entire chain.  It is very difficult, if not impossible, to input false or erroneous information into a block because the verification process requires authentication by millions of computers.  In other words, when a transaction is going to be recorded – it is cross-checked by millions of computers spread across the world, and those cross-checks are recorded.  So, if one wanted to input false or erroneous information – one would have to create millions of false verification records to support the incorrect data.  And that, is why blockchain is considered to be a perfect medium for recording and transmitting data, says Gaurav Mohindra.

News

Lawsuit Update:  Apple vs. Samsung

Apple and Samsung have been staunch competitors in the mobile device market for years.  Thus, it should come as no surprise they’ve ended up in court – on more than one occasion – and in more than one country.

 

Samsung has been vigorously fighting against Apple’s victory in a key smartphone patent lawsuit, but it seems as though they’re finally out of options and will have to pay Apple damages.

 

The US Supreme Court refused to hear Samsung’s appeal in the case, upholding a lower court’s decision reinstating a $120 million penalty for allegedly infringing on Apple’s patents for technology like slide-to-unlock and autocorrecting text. Samsung had argued that the lower court didn’t consider additional legal material, and supposedly changed laws for both issuing injunctions and invalidating patents.  It’s not uncommon for the Supreme Court to refuse to hear a case.  They usually do this if they believe the lower court’s decision was legally correct – and there is no basis for appeal.

 

Engadget recently asked Samsung for its response to the Supreme Court refusal to hear the appeal. At first glance, though, this is the end of this particular case since Samsung cannot turn to any other courts for appeal.

 

The amount Samsung is to pay Apple is $120 million.  This amount is rather small, when looking at gross revenue and profits of these massive corporations.  Samsung had a $12.91 billion profit last quarter. However, it’s kinda a big victory – for Apple – in principle. These companies have been litigating phone patent lawsuits for years…and it looks like Apple won.

 

From Engadget: Update: Samsung has provided a statement, and it’s unsurprisingly frustrated that the Supreme Court wouldn’t hear its case. It portrays this as a loss for customers and innovation, which is slightly ironic given that even Apple has moved away from slide-to-unlock with the iPhone X. You can read the full statement below.

 

“Our argument was supported by many who believed that the Court should hear the case to reinstate fair standards that promote innovation and prevent abuse of the patent system. One of Apple’s patents at issue in this case has been invalidated by courts around the world, and yet today’s decision allows Apple to unjustly profit from this patent, stunts innovation and places competition in the courtroom rather than the marketplace.”

 

Patent litigation is an expensive proposition, but it’s routine for tech companies in a competitive space – such as mobile smart phones.  I m sure this wont be the last lawsuit between Apple and Samsung – but for now, it seems as though Apple is the victor.

 

For further information – check out:

https://www.engadget.com/2017/11/06/samsung-denied-supreme-court-appeal-in-apple-lawsuit/

 

The postings on this site are authored by Gaurav Mohindra, and do not represent the postings, strategies or opinions of my employer, or any other party.  References to other articles are linked to most posts, should any referenced article require a formal citation (Chicago Manual of Citation), please contact us.  All referenced trademarks are the property of those trademark owners.