Ruwido adds voice control to TV control landscape

Ruwido has launched its r117 device for the TV control, input, and interaction landscape. The product combines voice control with functionality, intuitive navigation, and aesthetics. While the physical remote control will remain fundamental to the living room, the added functionality that voice control will provide brings an entirely new element to accessing content, further enhancing the consumer experience.

“Our mission has always been to deliver true user experience excellence. The r117 combines the latest technology and intuitive navigation, representing the natural evolution of input devices,” said Ferdinand Maier, CEO of ruwido. “Based on our own scientific research we realised that voice control was something that could really complement the existing functionality of our devices while being sensitive to the human behaviour of the user. r117 brings the consumer closer to their services and content, and is a device that is a joy to own and a joy to use.”

The body of r117 supports the integrated voice control at the head of the remote control and enables the intuitive search of large libraries, such as video on demand or music portals. The interaction mechanism technology reduces the required number of ‘traditional’ buttons to a minimum, providing a clearer appearance and better user experience. Speech is transmitted in HIVI quality, a high quality voice recognition standard, enabling voice identification for search to take place.

“Voice technology is an incredible way to search for known content such as, for example, films featuring a favourite actor, which can be accessed with only a few words. The user can say ‘George Clooney’, and this will be transferred to a cloud server, which will then present the different movie options that feature him as an actor. Speech must, however, be used in the right context,” said Ferdinand Maier. “For scrolling through 20,000 VOD titles, the physical element is essential, which is why the r117 is our most intuitive device yet. It provides a patented interaction mechanism technology to create navigation by emotion.”

Ruwido will also discuss the latest findings from its user experience labs to examine the impact of new interaction techniques and how it is meeting the challenges of a fast changing industry. Ruwido will show how voice can be integrated effectively into navigation techniques in order to further combine mind and senses to enhance user experience.

At the heart of all Ruwido’s developments is a rigorous user experience research programme, carried out at its labs in Austria and France. During the IBC conference programme, Thomas Mirlacher, User Experience Researcher at Ruwido, will speak at the session: ‘social media meets TV: second screen, gesture and voice interaction’. (Paper: ‘design rationales for the combination of speech, gesture and touch for mobile phone living room control applications’) September 6, 08:00-09:15, Emerald Room. He will also be delivering the paper: ‘continuous interaction for 3D ITV user interfaces’, at the session: ‘stereoscopic 3D content and display – development and diagnoses’ September 9, 14:00-15:30, Room E102.

“Our vision and predictions for the future are based upon over forty years of experience within the consumer electronics industry, and utterly central to all of our activities is a scientific and rigorous programme of research into future usage of increasingly sophisticated home entertainment technology,” said Regina Bernhaupt, director, User Experience Research at Ruwido France. “Our mission is to develop ever more intuitive technology that touches both the customer’s mind and senses, and this is only possible if we are continually at the very cutting edge.”

One of the key issues Ruwido will address during the IBC conference and at its exhibition booth is how different methods of navigation are adopted.

“Just because one way is possible it does not necessarily mean that it is accepted by the user as a convenient method of navigation,” continued Bernhaupt. “Take 3D navigation on the TV, for example. The question is how to support the user when interacting with 3D content and menus. There has been a lot of research for virtual reality interaction but not for navigation on TV.”

Ruwido offers a new solution using depth as a design component. The ‘aura’ interaction mechanism offers haptic feedback to enable user experience excellence. The user interface can be used on a 2D screen as well as, in the future, on a 3D screen in combination with glasses.

“Likewise, applications for mobile phones are a very hot topic at this moment; we wanted to explore the pivotal issues surrounding the different ways that smartphones can be integrated into the television ecosystem, be that through speech, gesture or touch,” said Bernhaupt.

Ruwido’s latest tests include the use of smartphone applications to enable the user to control a variety of devices and to perform additional tasks that enhance the overall entertainment experience, enabling them to use new interaction techniques like speech, gesture or touch to control their entertainment environment.

Ruwido has found that there is a lot of potential but also still a lot of room for improvement. Interacting with drag and drop, for example, turned out to be difficult for users. Gesture is a great for gaming but using it for navigation; users simply forgot that they might use that feature as well. Speech interaction showed to be only useful for known content.

“The key is to use the right technology within the right content, so we are evaluating options for bringing back the joy into navigation. Voice control is certain to be a topic of discussion at IBC, and we believe it has a role to play in the navigation experience,” said Ferdinand Maier, CEO of Ruwido.

The company will demonstrate its solution ‘r117’ for using speech for navigation at this year’s IBC, alongside the company’s portfolio of industry-leading input solutions. The ‘r117’ combines speech recognition with an organic interaction mechanism, allowing users to find known content with just a few words. The fundamental physical element is retained, and provides an organic interface to search efficiently through large VOD or music libraries.

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